Welcome exterior designer Daniel Keeley of DK Design! He shares detailed tips on transforming this simple screened-in porch into a comfortable, inviting and stylish outdoor room that’s perfectly suited for gathering with your loved ones during the warmer months. It was featured in our Outdoor issue, now online, but continue reading here for extra details not included in print. You’ll be ready to get to work on your own outdoor room in no time!
To update this space, I envisioned a contemporary yet classically inspired outdoor room with a generally monochromatic color palette of slates and grays, and a few accents of white and chrome as well. The feeling I was going for is sleek, sophisticated and masculine, yet still warm, comfortable and inviting. To achieve this I used a variety of materials, exterior drapery, rugs, great lighting, several seating options including large, upholstered pieces and, of course, plant material!
First, if possible I would install natural gray slate or slate-look tile flooring. Otherwise, I would refinish the existing wood floor in dark charcoal or black satin porch paint.
Next, I would paint the walls, ceiling and trim with a neutral gray paint. I chose Ralph Laurenâs Thoroughbred Parched Teak (TH08). The existing white trim could work also, but painting everything one color would create a cleaner background that would recede, giving center attention to the furnishings and garden views beyond.
Then, I would hang outdoor drapery panels of Perennialsâ Hopsack Taupe (965-222) fabric on either side of the window to soften the walls and to add the illusion of height. This concept could also be expanded to include fully functional drapes on the screened walls of the porch for increased control over light, privacy and wind.
As for furnishings, I would begin by placing at the window a hip and comfortable Axis II love seat from Chicago Textiles, covered in their edgy Pewter vinyl.
Opposite the love seat, I would place an upholstered patio bench (also from CTC) with a custom cover in Perennialsâ Grass Cloth Flannel (945-216). The bench would offer additional and versatile seating, since one could sit facing either direction, but would not obstruct garden views.
Next, I would add two RobinWood chairs from Sutherland, upholstered in Perennialsâ Playful Plaid Seagull (940-219) and placed at right angles to the love seat. The combination of French Louis XVI-style and modern chrome accents fit in perfectly with the classically inspired contemporary look I wanted.
For surfaces, I would add a coffee table with natural wood, like Sutherland’s Peninsula version, as an organic touch to the room. I would also place a white faux bois side table with marble top from Global Views near the upholstered bench. This table could easily be moved around the room as needed and could double as a casual dining surface for one or two people.
On the floor in the center of the seating area, I would place a âSilver/Blackâ Plynyl Shag rug from Chilewich. It features stripes of silver, black and titanium vinyl loops which will help unify the various shades around the room, and the durable material will hold up just fine in this covered outdoor space.
For plant material (after all, this is an outdoor room!) I would place in the corner a white glazed terra cotta Ripple Jar planter (item 9053) from Jackson Pottery containing a Blue Atlas Cedar as a living, sculptural element that would add more verticality to the space. I would also place various smaller containers around the room to house plants with silver or glaucous architectural foliage, such as Artemisia, Agave and Sedum.
As an accent, I would hang an oxidized aluminum portal mirror from Aidan Gray over the love seat. Attached directly to the window trim, the mirror would be unexpected and edgy despite its classic, elegant shape. It would not only serve as an art piece, its rounded shape echoing the backs of the Robin chairs from Sutherland, but would also reflect the garden views outside.
For lighting, I would flank the love seat with a pair of floor lamps from Oly. I would also place a small up-light to accent the cedar tree in the corner. Overhead I would install a simple, low-profile track system. Systems like this are great, since fixtures can be placed anywhere to highlight art, plants and furniture pieces. Plus, in this room the ceilings are low, and a hanging fixture would likely interfere with traffic flow. If the ceilings were taller, I might incorporate a hanging fixture, such as Hinkleyâs Saturn outdoor hanging light, or a contemporary chandelier.
Finally, for additional style and comfort, I would add a few accent pillows from Elaine Smith to the love seat.