Five Outdoor Living Trends for 2018

With just a few weeks left of 2017, we’re already looking ahead to outdoor living trends for 2018. “Outdoor living now means a lot more than a few lounge chairs scattered on a brick patio or some rocking chairs lined up across your front porch,” says Zoe Gowen, Senior Home Editor for Southern Living. “People are embracing the idea of outdoor ‘rooms.’ They want the same amount of comfort and convenience from their porches and decks as they do their living rooms. Smart homeowners realize that a porch addition is a lower cost way to extend the square footage of your home. And, it’s also a lot more fun to be outside.” Here are 5 design ideas that are great outdoor living trends for 2018.

Living Room-Worthy Outdoor Furniture

The first step to creating a comfortable outdoor living space is furnishing it with comfortable and attractive furniture. “It’s really hard to enjoy yourself when you’re afraid that the weather-beaten wicker chair beneath you may crumble at any minute,” says Gowen. Luckily, there are tons of options out there. Because of advances in furniture and fabric technology, it’s possible to have fully upholstered furniture outside like the Helena collection. It’s also nice to combine different kinds of furniture to get a collected look just like you would in your living room. “The clean lines of the teak Avondale lounge chair would mix with several different styles. It’s refreshing to see teak done in a more modern, less traditional style,” says Gowen.

 

Colorful Fabrics

The renewed focus on high quality outdoor furniture has also boosted the selections and combinations of outdoor fabrics that homeowners and designers are using. “Personally, I prefer strong colors outside. For me, it’s anything goes as long as it matches green! There are magenta cushions piped with deep teal on my own porch that were inspired by a Tom Scheerer outdoor space that I loved.” If purple is too bold, consider navies, browns, or charcoals as neutrals, but lighten the palette with contrasting, patterned pillows. Just like an indoor sofa, you’ll want to layer on two pairs of matching patterned pillows in complementary prints. “Stripes and geometrics are almost foolproof to blend,” says Gowen.

 

Smooth and Fashionable Flooring

“Outdoor spaces are shoe-free zones,” says Gowen. “A splinter can really ruin your night.” After you’ve assessed the shape of your floors, treat them as another design feature. Since the walls and railings will need to match your exterior, paint the floor to give your porch the polish of a room (and extend the life of your decking). White is a no-brainer that makes rooms look bigger. Stripes or a classic checkerboard pattern are timeless options too. “When painted floors get dirty, just paint them again,” Gowen recommends. “There’s also a great company, Mirth Studio, in Charleston that makes patterned floor tiles.” Outdoor floor rugs also bring a space together.

Photo and design courtesy of Lauren Nicole Designs

Fire Features

Whether located on a porch or outside on a patio, there are few features as dreamy as an outdoor fireplace. “They are natural gathering spots that pull in people and they extend the amount of time that you can be outside,” says Gowen. “Hang art or a TV above them just like you would inside.” While a fireplace may be too permanent for many, there are also handsome fire pits that serve the same purpose.

Modern Ceiling Fans

“The classic look of a Hunter ceiling fan never gets old, but powerful Haiku Fans have made sitting outside in July and August an enjoyable reality,” says Gowen. The new fan company has also introduced a surge of untraditional ceiling fan shapes to the market. “I spotted this all-wood fan at a restaurant. It has a sleek and organic quality to it,” says Gowen.

Look for these outdoor living trends to appear a good bit in 2018.