Indoor/Outdoor Living Ideas – how to do it right

A perfect example of indoor/outdoor living done right.
(Pictured: Jacaranda House by SP Studio Architecture. Photographer: CFC).

We go through our top four indoor/outdoor living ideas to help you make a smooth move to your alfresco living area all year round, day and night. And don’t limit yourself to living/dining, other areas of the house can be opened up to the outside, too.

Seamless indoor/outdoor connection is on the wish list of just about everyone renovating or building a house, and why wouldn’t it be? Australians and outdoor entertaining go hand in hand. Follow these tips to blur the lines between inside and out at your house.

1. Create one flowing space

On balmy summer nights when you’re in the mood to gather with friends and family, the potential to open up the doors to the deck can create one big entertaining area. Concertina, sliding or stacker, the glass doors you choose should make it easy to come and go, and ensure uninterrupted sightlines directly outdoors. Using the same or complementary materials and colours inside and out will further connect the two spaces.

In this Fremantle house by architect Philip Stejskal, Austral Bricks’ Indulgence in Moscato have been used inside and out to create an easy flow.

2. Plan for all seasons

Summer isn’t the only time for indoor/outdoor living. Cosy up your living areas no matter what the weather’s doing and you’ll be celebrating the great outdoors all year round. Outdoor overhead heating can make it far more appealing to entertain outside on cool winter nights, or why not keep it simple and build a fire pit? Chilly days can be enjoyed in comfort without having to disconnect from the greenery in your backyard – consider double glazing to keep your home as warm as toast.

The living area of this home in Clayfield, Queensland, can be opened up to the breeze in summer, but light the fire and it becomes a snug winter retreat. The restful tones of Austral Masonry’s GB Honed in Porcelain paint a neutral backdrop for pops of warm colour.

3. Take a whole-home approach

Although it makes sense to link to the outdoors the spaces we use most – the kitchen, living and dining areas – don’t overlook opportunities elsewhere in the house. A wide picture-window ledge in a bedroom can become a reading nook with a view; a home office can open up to a private deck; a bathroom can extend into an enclosed courtyard for open-air bathing – all it takes is a little imagination!

This Melbourne home, designed by MRTN Architects, makes use of a side passageway for an outward-facing desk and sun-drenched window seat. Austral’s Nubrik Traditional bricks in Chapel Red extend from indoors to out, linking the two zones.

4. Design for both day and night

An extension presents a prime opportunity to open a home to the outdoors, so be sure to choose complementary materials and colours for a seamless connection. Timber flooring or pavers that continue from inside to out, feature walls echoed in both spaces and kitchen tones that reappear in landscaping elements – all can help to create indoor/outdoor harmony. When the sun goes down, lighting can make for a magical atmosphere and enhance both texture and colour outdoors. A swimming pool can come to life at night, a garden path can light up and a courtyard wall can become a charming focal point all thanks to strategic lighting. The options are endless.

By day, this Architects EAT-designed house in Hawthorne, Melbourne, opens up to the outdoors on both sides. By night, clever lighting and the thoughtful laying of bricks (Austral Symmetry in Red) make parts of the house and outdoor area appear to glow.

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