Category Archives: Indoor Living Spaces

All Weather Indoor / Outdoor Rugs

Indoor / Outdoor Rugs

Durable Beauty For Every Room Inside and Out

Remember When . . .

In the not too distant past, the word outdoor rugs referred to something like a small patch of Astroturf that one placed in the backyard. Those old outdoor rugs were basically utilitarian, and sure didn’t add any ambiance to the landscape. But then again, few people cared much about what patios looked like at the time.

Outdoor Rooms Come into Their Own

All that is changing. Now, it is not uncommon to hear decorators, architects, and outdoor enthusiasts talk about “outdoor rooms,” explaining how outdoor living areas are more than just a place to put your backyard furniture. They have become integral parts of the home, and as such are treated like any other room in the house. Of course, along with this alluring new take on outdoor rooms came the desire for higher quality and more stylish outdoor products. Enter braided outdoor rugs. An improvement over the older models, braided rugs were more pleasing to the eye, and, being made of polypropylene, they were also water, UV, mold, and rot resistant.

Indoor/Outdoor Rugs

Recently, though, there has been a large increase in outdoor rug manufacturing. Now, polypropylene threads are actually woven, as would be done to make a normal indoor rug. The result is rugs that are durable enough to withstand outdoor use, but comfortable and beautiful enough for indoor use, especially in high traffic areas. And because they are available in a huge selection of styles and patterns, they can easily be matched to any home decor.

One advantage of these indoor/outdoor rugs is how easy they are to clean. Usually, they can simply be hosed off, and even if they get especially dirty, all that is needed is some mild soap. In addition to patios and decks, woven all weather rugs are also ideal for kitchens and mudrooms where the biggest messes often happen.

Indoor/outdoor rugs offer one more way to blur the traditional distinctions between the inside and outside of homes. These elegant and durable rugs can take comfort and elegance outside, as well as bring tough durability indoors.

Solar Shades – What are the Benefits?

Solar Shades

Coolaroo Roll Up Shade

Reduce Home Energy Costs with Solar Shades

Saving money on home energy bills can be a challenge when hot, sunny days increase our dependence on air conditioning. According to Consumer Reports, “Americans spend more than $22 billion a year…to cool their homes with air conditioning” (July 2008). Reducing our need to turn on the home cooling system is possible with the simple and inexpensive addition of solar window shades, also known as sun shades, to our windows and doors.

Solar shades are quite different from standard window shades and offer a number of benefits that go beyond lowering home cooling costs. Sun shades are constructed using a specially designed, breathable fabric that allows light and air to filter through. Sun shades are not black-out shades, but they do reduce the amount of direct sunlight that streams in through a home’s windows and sliding doors or French doors. Unlike interior window shades, solar shades are installed on the outside of a home’s windows or doors. This prevents up to 75% of sunlight from penetrating the window and significantly lessens the heat transfer. Solar shades can reduce a room’s temperature by up to 25%, making the indoor environment inviting and pleasant, even on the hottest summer days.

Sun shades not only make our homes cooler, thereby saving us money on air conditioning costs, they protect our indoor furnishings from the destructive effects of the sun’s ultra-violet (UV) rays. Over time, UV rays will discolor, fade, and crack the various materials we keep in our homes. Fabrics, furniture, upholstery, carpets, paintings, and more are negatively affected by exposure to sunlight. Damage increases over time, too, so the more sun exposure our home interiors experience, the more our belongings will suffer the consequences. The specialized fabric in solar shades can block up to 90% of the sun’s UV rays and protect our interior spaces.

In addition to being breathable and able to block significant amounts of UV rays, sun shades are easy to maintain; they are weather resistant, mildew resistant, and can be quickly cleaned with warm water and a mild detergent. Sun shades offer the benefit of privacy, as well. The breathable fabric allows us to see out of the windows and doors, but neighbors and passers-by are unable to see into the home.

Saving money on air conditioning costs would be reason enough to install solar window shades on our homes, but the additional benefits described here — protection of interior furnishings from UV rays, easy maintenance, and privacy — make sun shades an even more attractive home improvement option.

Outdoor Curtains – Tab Top, Rod Pocket or Grommets

Tab Top Curtains

The Inexpensive Choice For Backyard Privacy and Comfort

The desire for a private, comfortable, and beautiful backyard living space often leads home owners to make expensive decisions. Adding on a sun room or even a screened-in porch requires contractors, building permits, large and noisy machinery, and a lengthy wait for the finished product. Luckily, a simple and inexpensive solution exists, especially if your home already has the advantage of a covered patio or deck, or if a pergola or gazebo already serve as a focal point in your backyard. The simple solution is to install outdoor curtains or drapes.

Curtains and drapes are an unexpected and often overlooked option that can quickly and easily provide privacy for very little money. Enjoying the pleasant weather and a good book or entertaining a group of friends can be a challenge if you feel that your backyard activities are constantly on display. Homes that sit close to each other, and homes whose backyards overlook roads or commercial areas, can benefit from the privacy that exterior curtains and drapes provide.

In addition to creating privacy, curtains add a soft touch to the hard surfaces of a wooden deck, pergola, or stone patio. The gentle drape of fabric brings a comfortable indoor feel to the outside space and makes the backyard living area so much more inviting. Curtains offer flexibility, too, in their appearance. Whether you prefer fabric that hangs fully or that is tied back with a decorative tassel, you have the freedom to change the look of your backyard room simply by changing the look of the curtains.

When selecting curtains or drapes for a backyard living area, fabric quality is the most important feature to consider. Indoor fabric would not be suitable in an exterior space because indoor fabrics tend to fade and certainly would not stand up to harsh weather conditions. Outdoor fabrics, on the other hand, are made especially to be fade resistant and water resistant. High quality fabrics, such as those made by Sunbrella, block up to 98% of the sun’s harmful UV rays, are breathable, and resist mildew and stains. Like indoor drapes, though, those made for exterior spaces come in a variety of colors and hanging styles, including tab top, grommet, and rod pocket.

For a fraction of what it would cost to construct a new exterior living area, you can hang beautiful, durable outdoor curtains or drapes around your existing covered patio or deck, pergola or gazebo to instantly create a private and comfortable backyard room. Many home owners will find that outdoor curtains are the ideal solution for their backyard living space.

Finding Patio Furniture Inspirations in Your Indoor Spaces

Lexington Set from Tortuga

When choosing patio furniture to fill your outdoor spaces, it’s important to select a style and material that best suit your personality and preferences. Living with your choice is easier when you love what you have. Choose furniture that you will want to spend time using, not just when guests come over, but every day and for no special reason at all.

When faced with the wide variety of furniture options available for patios and decks, choosing the right style can be as easy as looking to your indoor spaces for inspiration. Do you love your indoor furniture? Does it capture your sense of style? Do you enjoy coming home to relax on your sofa or lounge chair? You can easily duplicate that indoor success in your outdoor living spaces by choosing patio furniture with similar qualities as the indoor furniture you love. Ask yourself what you enjoy most about your indoor furnishings. Is it the comfort, the elegant design, the natural materials? When you determine what features you love most about your indoor furnishings, you can begin to narrow the field of outdoor furniture possibilities and zero in on the most suitable choices for your home.

For example, if you love the elegant and romantic feel of your indoor furnishings, you should consider metal furniture for your patio or deck. Wrought iron and aluminum furnishings are available with intricate designs and curvaceously flowing lines that bring a touch of elegance. If, on the other hand, you love that your indoor furnishings are deliciously comfortable, then resin wicker patio furniture may be the best choice. Resin wicker furniture not only comes with sumptuous cushions, it is incredibly easy furniture to care for, and it is beautiful enough to use inside. Other outdoor furniture choices are available, too, including traditional wood and environmentally friendly recycled plastic furniture. Each has its own set of unique qualities that can help you determine whether it is the right choice for you.

Too often, homeowners choose a style of furniture for their patios and decks that is in direct contrast to what they might choose for their indoor spaces because they feel that outdoor spaces should look like outdoor spaces, quite different from what they’ve accomplished inside. Unfortunately, outdoor furniture that doesn’t coordinate with your personality and sense of style quickly loses its appeal. Homeowners who have this experience usually find themselves searching for new furniture before long.

Whatever your personal style, you can create an outdoor living area that is just as inviting and satisfying as your indoor spaces. Paying attention to what works for you indoors will allow you to choose the right patio furniture and bring the same qualities outside to your patio or deck.

Small Decorating Ideas That Make a Big Impact

Outdoor Rug

Decorating Ideas on a Budget Using Paint, Plants, and Outdoor Rugs

Small decorating ideas can make redecorating a room very inexpensive. Before you dip into your savings, though, consider making a few smaller and less expensive changes first. You may find that a couple of small, but meaningful, changes to a room can give you the update you’ve been seeking.


There’s a reason why decorators and designers often suggest paint as a first step in redecorating. A fresh coat of paint, especially when it is a different color, can make a dramatic statement in a room. Changing the wall color of a room changes the mood and the way light is diffused throughout the room. Taking a dark room, for example, and making it lighter through the application of paint can make that room feel larger, fresher, and more serene. On the other hand, applying a darker hue to light-colored walls can add drama and a sense of romance to a room. To keep costs down, choose a color that is already present in the room and that will coordinate with your existing decor. Use fabrics or accent pieces in the room as inspiration for color choices.


Another easy and inexpensive change that can be made to any room is to add plants. Whether living or artificial, plants bring warmth and natural beauty to indoor spaces. They make a lush and visually appealing addition to areas that can be challenging to decorate, such as ledges, shelves, and empty corners. For best effect, choose pots or baskets for your plants that coordinate with the style of the room.

Area Rugs

The floor may be one of the most neglected areas when it comes to decorating. Adding an area rug to the floor has just as much impact on a room, though, as adding a fresh coat of paint to the walls. Area rugs define a space more effectively than furniture alone, and they help tie together the various elements in a room to make it feel like a unified whole.

Consider using an outdoor rug for your indoor redecorating. Outdoor rugs are an ideal choice to use as indoor area rugs, especially in high traffic areas of the home. Outdoor rugs are made with durable materials that can stand up to all kinds of abuse, but they are just as beautiful and soft to the touch as traditional indoor rugs. They are much easier to clean than indoor rugs, which gives them yet another advantage over standard indoor area rugs.

Updating your home doesn’t always require spending loads of money. A decorating ideas and small changes, like paint, plants, and outdoor rugs, may be all that is necessary to freshen a room and give it new life.