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Comfy, cozy outdoor spaces beckon

By Lisa Thornton
Correspondent
  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2014/05/15/15/06/1jqTdf.Em.138.jpeg|316
    Stephen Mason - SUNBRELLA
    Choosing fabrics with a high UV rating will keep you from having to buy new furniture a few years down the road.
  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2014/05/15/15/06/MjP6P.Em.138.jpeg|316
    Steve Exum - STEVE EXUM
    Using Sunbrella fabrics for outdoor drapery – many have a 50+ ultraviolet protection factor – helps protect you and your guests against sun damage.
  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2014/05/15/15/06/11e2GI.Em.138.jpeg|253
    - NIGHTORBS
    NightOrbs Handblown Glass Globes add ambient light and a decorative touch for the garden.
  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2014/05/15/15/06/gKZHR.Em.138.jpeg|330
    - SIGNATURE HARDWARE
    Shower off outdoors in the Palermo Freestanding Lauan Privacy Shower Panel, shown here with a round tray.
  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2014/05/15/15/06/bhwra.Em.138.jpeg|335
    - SOUNDCAST
    The OutCast Speaker is a portable, splashproof and humidity-resistant. It can be paired with indoor devices up to 300 feet away.

More Information

  • Design for outdoor rooms

    • When choosing a color theme for an outdoor living area, go with hues that bring you serenity and peacefulness, said Julian Mozeley of J. Mozeley Interiors in Charlotte. “They’re not always the same for everyone,” said Mozeley.

    • Warm colors such as reds, yellows and oranges may evoke calm in one person but hostility in another. Blues may bring relaxation to some, but a feeling of sadness to others.

    • If you’re unsure whether two colors work well together, use a color wheel as a reference. Colors opposite each other on the wheel offer a complementary contrast.

    • Still unsure? Look to nature, which provides some of the most inspiring color pairings.



If you’re ready to get outdoors and savor the fresh air and the lush green landscape in your backyard, you’re going to need somewhere to sit.

That’s why outdoor living experts are seeing homeowners go outside with comforts usually reserved for the indoors – cozy sofas, elegant dining sets, and dramatic lighting – and creating spectacular “rooms” on patios, terraces, decks and lawns.

“They want their outside to be just as elaborate, but just as private and cozy and plush,” said Julian Mozeley of J. Mozeley Interior Decorating and Redesign in Charlotte. “They want the elegance, but they need the durability.”

Durability is important because the climate outside can take a toll on your decor. Fabrics need to be able to withstand the sun and rain. Look for materials that are mildew-resistant and that have a high UV rating. Sunbrella fabrics have a 50+ ultraviolet protection factor (UPF), the highest rating allowed for fabrics. One of the biggest trends this year is using UV-protection draperies to create a feeling of privacy while keeping harmful rays off our skin, Mozeley said. The fabric is recommended by The Skin Foundation to shield against sun damage. In Charlotte, the Hearth & Patio has a Sunbrella kiosk at 4332 Monroe Road or 7325 Smith Corners Blvd. More than 400 styles can be purchased by the yard and shipped to your home or to a furniture manufacturer for custom orders. Prices vary. www.thehearthandpatio.com

It’s not only the cushions that need protection from the elements. If you want your furniture to last, paying attention to construction is also important. Furniture manufacturers have come up with new materials that are designed to keep their good look for years. The Royan Outdoor Wicker Furniture Collection by Summer Classics has arms and legs made with Resysta, an eco-friendly, weather-resistant resin made from rice husks, salt and mineral oil. Resysta is designed to hold up against heat and humidity, saltwater and rain, and it can be kept outdoors. $580-$3,620 at summerclassics.com.

Lighting ranked as the most popular feature for outdoor living in a recent Residential Landscape Architecture Trends survey by the American Society of Landscape Architects. Instead of glaring traditional lights, NightOrbs Handblown Glass Globes offer ambient light that is designed to be comparable to what you would get from an indoor lamp. Use the obs to line walkways, accent landscaping or dress up a table. The orbs come in sizes from 4 inches Comfto 18 inches and are indoor and outdoor safe. $150-647 at nightorbs.com.

Enjoy your music outdoors without worrying about damage to your electronics caused by the weather. The OutCast Speaker is splashproof and humidity-resistant. Its speakers deliver tunes within a 360-degree radius on a 20-hour charge. Pair it with most devices from a distance of up to 300 feet, and you can keep your smartphone and computer safely tucked inside the house. $900 at gosoundcast.com.

Enjoy your time in the water, and then rinse off before tracking even one grass-covered footstep into the house. The Palermo Freestanding Lauan Privacy Shower has a curved panel made from the wood of lauan trees. Head and foot shower fixtures are made of solid brass. $677 at signaturehardware.com.

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The Charlotte Observer welcomes your comments on news of the day. The more voices engaged in conversation, the better for us all, but do keep it civil. Please refrain from profanity, obscenity, spam, name-calling or attacking others for their views.

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