Savvy Ideas to Freshen Up Your Outdoor Living Spaces This Winter
The colder months can leave your outdoor spaces feeling a bit bare. Here are a few ways to give your patios, decks and porches a lift, and make them more cozy.
1. Incorporate Winter Greenery
Add winter greenery to your porch, front door and outside containers. Wreaths, lengths of festive garland, evergreen trees and potted plants all make great choices. You can decorate them for the holidays and simply remove the bows and ornaments afterwards to keep the look fresh until warm weather arrives. When choosing outdoor containers, be sure to pick ones that will hold up well in cold weather. For example, porcelain and terra-cotta are susceptible to cracking in freezing temperatures. Better choices for winter conditions are concrete, wood, metal, fiberglass and resin.
2. Make Things Comfy
With temps plunging, you’re going to need a cozy and welcoming outdoor space if you expect to lure guests outside. Blankets and pillows are important, as long as the fabrics are able to withstand what Mother Nature dishes out — bright sunlight, heavy rain and snow — or they are stored when not being used. Layers are also important for comfort, such as laying faux fur on benches for added warmth. Rugs cozy up bare decks, patios and porches, whether small ones placed in front of a chair or bench, or a large one that covers most of the area and prevents moisture and dirt from being dragged into the house. Try to find a rug that is easy to clean and purposely made to handle outdoor conditions.
Installing heavy curtains around a deck, patio or porch is a great way to create a warm, intimate atmosphere. Even if the space isn’t completely enclosed, the drapes bring a protective feel. For outdoor spaces that are open overhead, try to find ways to attach the curtain panels to strong, solid supports like your home’s eaves, a fence or freestanding poles. For covered spaces, simply affix the curtains to the existing structure.
3. Brighten It Up
Outdoor lighting during the winter months should counteract the season’s inherent dark days and extended nighttime hours. Basic battery-powered, plug-in or solar lights work hard to combat dark spaces and transform them into warm, welcoming retreats. While string lights are a solid place to begin, be sure to look at other lighting ideas as well. If your outdoor living space is covered, then adding a chandelier to illuminate the area is a great idea. Simply find a fixture that matches your style, whether rustic, traditional or contemporary.
For an added sense of cheer and a bright spot in your winter landscape, consider wrapping string lights around posts or weaving them through plants. Layering lanterns and hurricane lights throughout your outdoor space is another effective way to brighten the area. Once again, find fixtures that go with your own style, and make sure they are able to withstand harsh winter weather conditions (or bring them inside when they aren’t being used). Candle lanterns or battery-operated versions work well, but if you choose candles, make certain they are in a safe spot and aren’t left unattended. For a whimsical touch, lanterns can be filled with battery-operated twinkle lights or string lights.
4. Give Guests a Warm Welcome
Portable patio heaters are a great way to lengthen your time on a deck or patio, and will help your guests forget they are outside in the elements— particularly if your outdoor space is open overhead. A wide variety of designs can be found, from big to small and contemporary to traditional.
Is your outdoor space enclosed? Mounting a heater along a wall or overhead structure is a good way to up the comfort level. You can either find plug-in models to DIY or hire a professional to hardwire them into the space.
5. Get Fired Up
Snuggle up in front of a roaring fire. It’s a classic winter activity that actually gets more interesting when the fireplace is moved outdoors. All you need are loads of blankets and hot beverages, then sit back and let your guests get cozy and take in the flames. A fire pit, whether portable or permanent, will have the same effect — especially if the view is scenic.
6. Get Festive
Incorporate seasonal decor that will help your outdoor space feel like home during the colder months. For instance, a mix of evergreen plants and rich reds can take you all the way through to March. The colors warm up the space visually, which helps tremendously during the stark winter months. Looking to add a wreath? Forgo the more traditional holiday variety for one that highlights the beauty of winter foliage.
Another option is to showcase a favorite outdoor winter activity in a display by the front entrance. Some ice skates, a wooden sled or cross country skis all look great displayed, even if the snow isn’t anywhere near you. A stack of birch logs is the cherry on top.