Decorative Ways to Enjoy Your Outdoor Space in Colder Months

Just because the temperature has dropped doesn’t mean you can’t still enjoy the outdoors. There are a number of decorative ways to keep your outdoor spaces livable during the winter months that add both ambiance and warmth.

Fire Features

Fire pitarbel_stone_urbana_stone_aqua_rock_horz_1_rt-newedits are currently one of the top must-haves in outdoor living, and with good reason. They easily fit into any outdoor living design and provide a spot for groups of any age to gather and enjoy the outdoors. Whether roasting hot dogs or s’mores, sharing a bottle of wine, or just having a cup of hot cocoa, everyone loves sitting around the fire pit. For design tips and trends, check out our fire pit design blog.

Outdoor fireplaces make a dramatic statement and become the focal point of your outdoor living design. Not only will it add physical warmth to your outdoor living space, it will become the favorite spot for enjoying a glass of wine or an intimate conversation. When designing your outdoor living space, remember that gas fireplaces can be placed just about anywhere, but a wood-burning version will likely need to be 10 or more feet from any structure.

Gas fire tables also make an excellent gathering spot and typically either emulate the look of a coffee table or a high-top bar. There are endless varieties available for purchase from retail outlets. However, a built-in fire table constructed with Belgard wall products will be much more durable and will actually add to the value of your home.

Decorative Heaters

tabletop1Tabletop propane heaters come in a number of sizes and decorative styles and are available from various hardware stores and online retail outlets. They typically heat a 5-foot radius and operate off of 1-pound propane cylinders that can be found at just about any hardware, sporting goods, or camping supply store. Although it will vary by heater, each cylinder only lasts a few hours, so it might be a good idea to buy cylinders in bulk to get you through the season.

Full-size propane heaters also come in a number of decorative styles. With higher heat output than the tabletop versions, they heat a wider radius (6-7 feet) and operate off of a standard refillable propane tank. Be wary of operating taller units under a porch, which could potentially cause heat damage to the porch ceiling. One way to help alleviate this possibility is to run nearby ceiling fans in “reverse” mode while heaters are in operation, which will disperse the rising heat without blowing cold air onto guests.

lamp3Endless Summer offers a line of electric patio lamp-style heaters that come in both tabletop and floor models and are available from a variety of retailers, including Home Depot, Lowe’s and Amazon. Each heater looks like a standard lamp, but actually functions as both a lamp and a heater, offering a soft glow and heating up to 144 square feet, depending upon the model. The only drawback is that an outlet needs to be nearby.

hanging3Decorative hanging heaters are a more permanent option and are available in natural gas and infrared (electric) models. Both can be designed to operate from a wall switch and will heat a large area, approximately 10 feet in diameter, depending upon the model.

Homey Accessories

Adding retractable solar shades to a porch will not only provide protection from the glaring sun in summer months, they can also help keep you warm in the winter by blocking the wind and helping to hold in any ambient warmth created by area heaters.

Comfy throws not only add a cozy look to your outdoor space, they provide that extra layer that some folks need to keep warm. Decorative outdoor bins can be a good place to store throws; however, you may want to choose an easy-to-carry basket that can be stored indoors when not in use, which will keep your throws free of unwanted critters.

Festive Backyard Lighting Ideas

For the next few weeks, it may seem like you’re holding a constant “open house” between planned events, holiday gatherings, family members visiting from out of town, or college kids home for winter break (not to mention their friends who might drop by). Keep your outdoor living spaces company-ready with these festive lighting ideas.

Decorative String Lights

string-lights2

Today’s string light options are literally endless. Instead of choosing holiday-specific string lighting, you may want to consider choosing decorative string lights that can stay up all year long. Decorative string lights not only add a festive atmosphere, the chosen style can help define the design scheme of your outdoor living space. World Market offers an eclectic mix of string lighting options that vary from whimsical holiday themes to designs inspired by various cultures around the globe.

Classic String Lights

BEL14-136_Christmas CardYou can’t go wrong with classic string lights. They’re available everywhere and are great for wrapping around posts, lining porch ceilings, framing doors, or decorating walls to create an instant party atmosphere. Because of the simplicity of their design, they can be used alone or in combination with other lighting options without conflicting with an existing design scheme.

Hanging Lanterns

Whether you choose store-bought lanterns or decide to take on a DIY crafting project, hanging lanterns around your outdoor living space is a shabby-chic way to add festive outdoor lighting. Lanterns can use either real or battery-operated candles. Just be sure to keep safety in mind with real candles and remember to extinguish them at the end of the night. For DIY ideas, a quick search on Pinterest will get your creative juices flowing.

Colored Bulbs

Colored bulbs are a fun way to turn any outdoor light fixture into a holiday-themed decoration — including sconces, post lights, tabletop lamps, and flood lights. Home Depot offers a variety of colored bulbs for both interior and exterior lighting. Mix and match colors for a vibrant look, or choose all one color to create a stylized monochromatic lighting design.