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Bring your interior design outdoors

Outdoor spaces, such as decks, patios and porches, can add value to a home. But they take some planning, too. To create a space that is right for you, consider these tips and trends.
BY LORI JOHNSTON Published: September 3, 2012
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— Several years ago, Michael and Lillie Axelrod decided they wanted to redo the outdoor space of their Sandy Springs, Ga., home. They had the deck removed and added a screened-in porch. The next step was to call their go-to interior designer for help.

Susan E. Miles of Allegro Interiors came up with a plan to create a functional yet contemporary-styled outdoor space where the Axelrods could gather with family and friends.

“We had a vague idea of what we wanted to do,” said Michael Axelrod, a business consultant and retired attorney. “But we needed help executing that vision.”

Using a variety of materials to create a stylish, livable space, Miles selected porcelain tile for the floor, a stained concrete top for the dining table and dining chairs made of brushed lacquered aluminum. She also coordinated the Sunbrella fabrics for the sofas and chairs with the other accessories, including wall sconces and ceiling fans.

The Axelrods were pleased with their new room. But they aren't alone in wanting to extend the comfort and luxury of their homes to the great outdoors.

The growing “leisure lifestyle” industry is now a $6.2 billion industry in the United States, up 5.4 percent from 10 years ago, according to the Hearth, Patio and Barbecue Association, a trade group in Virginia.

Outdoor spaces, such as decks, patios and porches, can add value to a home. But they take some planning, too. To create a space that is right for you, consider these tips and trends from various sources, including the HPBA, plus Atlanta-area Allegro Interiors, Kolo Collection and AuthenTeak.

Tips

Determine the size and how you will use the outdoor space (cooking, relaxing, entertaining) before you shop for furniture and accessories.

Allow the outdoor space to be a natural extension of your home's interior design.

Research products online and check products at discount and home stores, plus specialty outdoor retailers. Sit on couches and chairs to determine comfort.