It's a cool spring or summer evening and your family and friends are curled up by a warm fire in your backyard with a sizzling dinner sending up enticing aromas from the grill.
More than just a growing trend in home design, outdoor rooms such as these are fast becoming a cost-effective and stylish way to expand a home's living space while creating a warm environment for socializing and family fun.
"By definition, an outdoor room is simply an outdoor area that homeowners can use for relaxing, cooking and entertaining," said Katherine Whiteside, a garden and cookbook author. "By adding some furniture and propane appliances to an existing patio, garden or deck, you have the beginnings of a great outdoor room."
A basic outdoor room can cost less than $1,000, with more luxurious options and designs costing more. Of course, one beauty of creating an outdoor living space is that you can always start with a simple design with basic amenities and add to it over time as your budget allows.
According to a survey conducted by the Propane Education and Research Council, 35 percent of homeowners surveyed said they had a finished outdoor room, and one in three homeowners who did not have one had plans to design a room this spring.
Taken together, more than half of U.S. homes could have an outdoor entertaining area this year - that's a lot of opportunities for family get-togethers and parties.
Adding an outdoor room can be more than just a way to bring your living room outside - it can also increase the value of your home. Industry professionals say that the design and features of a home's outdoor space can add as much as 30 percent to the total value of the property.
Here are some helpful tips for creating your outdoor room:
- Ambiance is your top priority. Quickly gaining popularity are outdoor hearths, such as fire pits, outdoor fireplaces and chimineas. Additionally, arrange your furniture to create a cozy atmosphere and consider ways to abate noise, with wind chimes or trickling fountains.
- Privacy is a big issue and easy to attain. In a suburban yard, build a simple privacy fence and grow sunflowers next to it. If you're in an urban area, think about people who might be looking in on your space from above. A big market umbrella could solve that dilemma.
- Now think about protection from the elements - sun, rain and cold. You have sun and rain partially covered with your market umbrella, so be sure you're set for chillier evenings.
- Once you have these basics down, concentrate on dining and what to cook. Propane grills come with all sorts of accessories that make creating appetizers and a main course a snap. You can get a rotisserie, a grill with a burner next to it, or even woks.
- Pulling together an outdoor living space also is an opportunity to express your creativity with landscaping and lighting - all with an eye on improving the enjoyment of your home while increasing its value.
For more information about creating your outdoor room, visit www.usepropane.com.
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