Have you heard about outdoor kitchens, the latest home improvement trend? Well, just like gossip around the watercooler, by the time you hear about something, the conversation has already shifted to three other newsworthy items. Now that home appliance manufacturer and kitchen designers have proven that homeowners will accept—and even love—outdoor kitchen spaces, the rest of the home addition and remodeling industry is racing to show their products and designs are suitable for the outdoors as well. Got a backyard space you’re looking to develop for your home? Check out these possibilities and don’t be afraid to dream big: Big box stores, manufacturers, and home improvement contractors are all peddling new innovations to make sure your outside-the-box ideas are no longer off-the-home-improvement-reservation.
Outdoor Bathroom Design
Because tile floors and porcelain toilets are already water-resistant, and bathroom fans help eliminate moisture before your paint and drywall begin to peel, few modifications are needed to build an outdoor bathroom. Forget about wood, as rain and moisture will cause warping even with the best sealant. You’ll probably need extra cabinet storage: Towel racks don’t do so well outdoors. Even your wall decoration should be dominated by water-resistant materials. Plants, for example, are tailor-made for outdoor bathrooms.
Benefits for Outdoor Bathrooms
Outdoor bathrooms may seem like they’re exclusively for posh vacation resorts, but they can also offer very practical benefits for residential homeowners:
• Whether it’s a pool or a hot tub, you don’t want to walk, dripping-wet, through your house. You could wait till your towel-dry, but with an outdoor bathroom, you can freshen up immediately.
• Like to host outdoor parties at your place? You shouldn’t have to lock up every last valuable in your home just so you can invite friends of friends. An outdoor bathroom allows guests every convenience without letting them loose throughout the house.
• You can save money on a bathroom addition by choosing an outdoor bathroom. Freestanding bathrooms won’t require the same level of climate control, architectural design, or inconvenience as an attached bathroom addition. Even plumbing and sewage lines may be easier to hook-up for a backyard bathroom.
Outdoor Bedroom Design
Just because you’re sleeping outside doesn’t mean your outdoor bedroom has to look like a tent. Basic bed canopies and weatherproof beds can deliver a stunning bedroom without any of camping’s campiness. For a more inclusive bedroom design, a retractable roof will allow you to literally recreate an indoor bedroom with an open view of the sky during pleasant weather.
After more than two years on the market, the price of readily available weatherproof, outdoor beds has begun to come down. This outdoor daybed from Del Mar used to run almost $4,000 by the time you bought the overhead canopy. Now, you can purchase this bed for just over two grand and the bed-canopy set for under three grand.
Benefits for Outdoor Bedrooms
• Pick the cliché that best fits the lifestyle of your dreams: Sleep under the stars, camp out in style, make the neighbors jealous, enhance the passion and romance of your love life.
• Perfect for people who love to nap, read a book, or take some other afternoon siesta.
• Again, save money. Even a luxurious, elegant outdoor bedroom isn’t going to have the same hefty costs as a conventional, four-wall bedroom addition. Plus, outdoor bedrooms won’t necessarily raise your monthly heating and cooling costs.
Outdoor Living and Dining Rooms
While outdoor kitchens and bathrooms have exploded onto the scene mostly from the innovations and marketing of home addition and remodeling companies, outdoor living and dining rooms are more about better weatherproofing for appliances and furnishings. Decks and patios have been functioning in the same capacity as living and dining rooms for decades, but weatherproof TVs, outdoor furniture, and beautiful, water-resistant flooring options (decorative concrete, composite decking, bamboo, etc.) have raised the bar for outdoor amenities.
Tip: Interestingly, while outdoor bedrooms and bathrooms tend to be built with four walls for privacy and an open ceiling for breathtaking views, outdoor living and dining rooms tend to be built with a roof and open sides. This creates a buffer zone from inclement weather while maintaining the outdoor vibe.
Benefits of Outdoor Living and Dining Rooms
• Fast, efficient way to increase your home’s living space.
• Patio heaters and outdoor misting systems create a form of outdoor heating and air conditioning.
• Great places to entertain friends, family, and neighbors.