Outdoor entertaining has come a long way from just setting up a barbeque grill on the back deck or a picnic table on the patio. Now the most exciting new room in the house isn’t even in the house: it’s the new “outdoor room”. Creative homeowners are adding gas patio heaters (the kind you see in sidewalk cafes) and even building fireplaces so their outdoor rooms can be used in the winter. They’re arranging special seating areas to entertain guests. Decorating with different flowers, plants, and outdoor art. And, using large planters as well as arbors, trellises, or other simple structures to help define the space.
Where to start with your outdoor room
So how do you transition from a few pieces of lawn furniture to a true outdoor room? We believe the best way is to start with a central focal point and move out from there. Try centering your outdoor room around the one thing that you’ll be doing in it the most – gathering for a meal. Think about it like an indoor room. What’s the most important gathering place in the house? Where do people come together for conversation, drinks, and meals? It’s the dining table. That’s why we believe the best place to start is to put an attractive dining table in the middle of your outdoor room and work around it from there.
Borrowing from a beautiful Mediterranean tradition
You can’t drag your fine mahogany dining table outdoors, but you certainly don’t want a white plastic patio table to be the focal point for your outdoor room. What are the alternatives? You could go with a teak or wrought iron table. But, if really you want to do something special, then borrow from a timeless Mediterranean tradition and gather your guests around an exquisite handcrafted mosaic table. With its colorful, meticulously arranged hand-cut tiles, the table itself is not only a centerpiece for parties, but a delightful focal point for your outdoor room and a unique talking point for you and your guests.
Choosing the right look for your outdoor room
Before you select your mosaic table, ask yourself which colors you want to pick up in the tiles. Do you want to reflect the sunny yellows and blues of the French Riviera? Or the warm ochre reds found in the zillij (tile work) of Southern Spain and Morocco? Then think about reflecting those colors in the table decorations on top of your mosaic table. Accenting them in accessories like pots and planters. And complimenting them with colorful cushions on wrought iron chairs around your mosaic table. It’s not just the table that’s mosaic. You’re really creating your own mosaic out of the flowers, pots, and other accents that go on, above, and around your mosaic table.
Don’t forget that your outdoor room is outdoors
Of course, you want to make sure that everything that goes in your outdoor room can stand the outdoors. So look for furnishings and accent pieces that work well both indoors and out – like your mosaic table. In harsher northern climates, some homeowners will cover their tables when not in use or even bring them indoors to add color as kitchen tables, accent tables, or even dining tables.
Light for the night. Shade for the day.
Once you’ve established your central visual theme, think about radiating outwards with some unique lighting fixtures. Light the night with exotic Moroccan lanterns or hand-cut metal sconces. Also, consider adding some shade to make your outdoor room more inviting during hot summer days. But, don’t just think about umbrellas. Consider using arbors, awnings, or canopies where you can grow flowers and vines to create natural shade. Then, you can use these same structures to hang your lanterns and lights by night.
An outdoor room can fit any budget
There are many ways to create an outdoor room. You can do it surprisingly affordably with just a few simple pieces like your mosaic table, wrought iron chairs, and a few basic flowerpots. Over time, you can add fireplaces, stainless steel barbecue grills, and water features such as a fountain or waterfall. Again, the main idea is to start with a central focal point – like your mosaic table – and add other elements that complement it.
Make your move to the great outdoors
To get started, try looking online at some Moroccan handcrafted mosaic tables. Look at the patterns in the zillij, the colors, and the different shapes. Define the focal point of your outdoor room. Then, start to explore other accent pieces to compliment your mosaic table. Before you know it, you’ll have added a whole new room to your home – a beautiful place to entertain guests, gather the family for a meal, or escape with a quiet cup of tea and a book.
Copyright © 2007 J. Reed and B. Reed
Outdoor Entertaining: How to Turn your Patio Into a Year-round Outdoor Room
By: J. Reed
About the Author
J. Reed is an advertising creative director who discovered the beauty of mosaic tables after traveling extensively in the Mediterranean and has launched an online boutique called My Mosaic Table featuring imported home accents.
(ArticlesBase SC #249594)