Posted on Mar 24, 2020

Recently, we worked closely with the National Kitchen & Bath Association (NKBA) to present a webinar on ways to refresh your outdoor living designs. Here are the statistics showing what homebuyers are investing in and the ideas that create an outdoor sanctuary. All photos are courtesy of the NKBA and Interior Design Magazine.

As research shows, we spend 90%+ of our time indoors. With new product innovation that supports the design and building industry, why not get this space just right for our clients? Regardless of the weather, the following design concepts can create overall home value via expanded square footage and overall wellness for a home’s occupants.

TAKE IT OUTSIDE

With new developments related to materials and fabrics, an overall palette can easily be selected for the visual flow of a home. Today, you can consider the same design elements you would use on the interior of your home for the exterior—that means rugs, accessories, art and loungey furniture, too.

CONSIDER THE CLIENT

Who will be enjoying this outdoor space? Be sure to have something for everyone–the kids, the pets, the chef, the host and the guests. Landscape may need to be low maintenance, pathways may require hardscape materials for accessibility and layered lighting may need to be considered.

LAY THE FOUNDATION

Regardless of how big or small your space is, use every inch of it. Start with a large area rug to anchor your space. There are many affordable options that serve as a stylish base for your furniture plan

HELPING HANDS

64% of homeowners used a designer, 41% used a landscape or garden architect specialist, 10% used an architect when planning their outdoor spaces. Employing these experts early on can get your outdoor space right the first time.

HEY, LOOK UP

Get the most out of your space by installing a pergola or awning to allow versatility throughout the year. Screen off harsh rays during the summer or retract an awning back to stargaze. The structure will create a zone for dining or lounging and add a little architecture too.

UP AND OVER

About half of homeowners install some fixed overhead structure, 52% to be exact. 30% installed a pergola, and 13% have an adjustable or retractable structure; 12% have no overhead structure at all. This is an opportunity when designing outdoor spaces and expands a home’s usable square footage.

CREATE SOME PRIVACY

Floating wood panels, draperies, decorative fencing or even pots of tall foliage such as bamboo or Cypress can create a privacy effect that screens neighbors and creates coziness outdoors.

PRIVACY IS KEY

Privacy is high on the list for many homebuyers in today’s market—especially those with a dog. A study by SunTrust Bank found that the desire to have a yard and space for their dog influenced 33% of Millenials’ decision to buy their first home.

THINK LIKE YOU’RE INSIDE

Approach the furniture layout as you would for your living room or family room. Incorporate sofas, side tables, chairs and ottomans. Coordinate the palette with your interior one to create a sense of spaciousness.

CREATE A FOCAL POINT

A focal point adds interest and can guide guests and visitors to a specific area. Outdoor artwork, a found object or painted scene can add just the right amount of personality and interest to your outdoor space. Water features, pizza ovens and fire pits are also inviting focal points for guests to gather around.

CREATURE COMFORTS

62% of outdoor kitchens have a television; 62% have built-in storage or cabinets; 58% boast a fire pit; 26% feature a wine refrigerator; 25% install an ice maker. These additions add a sense of comfort and luxury to outdoor areas.

YOU’LL GET HUNGRY

The last thing you’ll want to do is retreat indoors when the party is outside. Stock an outdoor entertainment center and refrigerator with your favorite beverages and set up an outdoor kitchen, too. A grill and Asado smoker will allow for casual cooking with big rewards.

SIZE MATTERS

Most outdoor kitchens, about 66%, are between 100 and 400 square feet including a sitting area in the meal preparation space. 22% are more than 400 square feet, and just 12% are under 100 square feet.

ACCESSORIZE

Add decorative items such as plants, mirrors, and artwork to personalize the space.  All the pieces you use don’t need to be part of the same set.  Let the space announce your personal style.

FINISHING TOUCHES

Stainless steel is the grill hood of choice for 77% of homeowners. 75% have additional burners, 57% have warming racks, and 50% have a rotisserie.

LIGHT THE NIGHT

A great lighting scheme is key to enjoying your space after dark. I love lanterns and a stone-like fire pit for ambiance, and chic outdoor lamps—weighted bases, shades made from Sunbrella fabrics – are unexpected and beautiful.

FUEL THE FIRE

31% of homeowners have two grills in their outdoor kitchen. 44% use propane, 45% connect to natural, 22% are charcoal. A variety of products continue to be designed, making this area a new hub of the home.

SET THE MOOD

Audio visual elements and technology shouldn’t be forgotten outdoors. Speakers, televisions and music systems create ambiance for an alfresco dinner and team pride on game day. So set your playlist depending on your event type.

“I WISH I’D SPENT MORE TIME OR MONEY ON…”

People wish they spent more on the following: shelter/shade enclosure, 12%; a bigger space, 10%; counter, 9%; atmosphere/temperature/lighting control, 7%: cabinets/storage, 5%.

BETWEEN A ROCK AND A HARD PLACE

Natural stone is the choice of 57% of homeowners for outdoor countertops, followed by quartz at 23%.

DESIGN FOR LOW MAINTENANCE

Materials such as teak, all-weather wicker, and aluminum are great options for low maintenance outdoor furniture. Designed for busy lifestyles, they can stay outside all year long and usually require a simple hose off to get clean. Also consider powder coated finish and rust proof hardware to prevent oxidization.

KEEP IT EASY

Landscaping with materials such as concrete, gravel and even artificial turf not only give you a low maintenance space but they keep costs down and require very little to no water as opposed to a fully vegetated yard.

BUT WHO CLEANS UP?

The male head-of-household takes the lead in outdoor cooking 75% of the time. This is evolving as outdoor kitchens become more like our indoor versions.

BOTTOM LINE

The typical spend on an outdoor kitchen is about $13,000, but about 22% of homeowners are building very high-end kitchens ($30,000+) and 14% spend between $20,000 and $30,000.

Now that you have the stats and are armed with the details to create the ideal outdoor space, what elements will you incorporate into your or your clients’ outdoor living areas? Share with us in the comments below!