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Designing Your Dream Outdoor Living Area

Mid-late summer is the perfect time for clients enjoying the outdoors to start planning ideas for designing an outdoor living area in their seasonal vacation home.

While enjoying summer, you embrace the relaxation of the air, and soaking up the sun. Now, you appreciate what features you’d like to incorporate outside when you travel to your getaway home during the winter.

When designing an outdoor living room, you need to choose furnishings appropriate for the tropics. Your set-up needs to be able to withstand hot temperatures, salt water, and heavy rainfalls. 

“When we begin a design plan for outdoor space for a client, we first start with a discussion about how they feel they want to live in the space and how we can help them use it to their best advantage.”

Tiffany, Lagnappe Custom Interiors.

Top five elements to consider when designing your perfect outdoor living area:

1. Lounge Seating

Vacation home owners love to bring the whole living room outside. Outdoor ling area sofa sets are made from PVC wicker, powder-coated aluminum, and of course, the classic teak. These materials withstand the weather conditions in the tropics, while providing a modern look.

“Outdoor fabric technology has come a long way in the past five years. We have many beautiful and comfortable fabrics to choose from that are outdoor rated,” says Tiffany.

Like an indoor living area, outdoor living area lounge sets include love seats, sectionals, and arm-chairs. Glass and wicker coffee tables are popular choices to match, along with decorative outdoor cushions.

“I love to use modular sectional seating in outdoor spaces. It creates the flexibility our clients need to host a small, cozy gathering, or a large wedding reception,” explains Tiffany.

2. Day Beds

A fashionable trend at beaches, day beds provide a form of escapism when we are on vacation. They add that ‘resort feeling’ to your home. Traditional sun loungers are furniture of the past in modern backyards. Many accommodate two or more people, allowing you space to share, stretch out, lounge, and sun tan.

Hanging swings are a popular choice to add to your wrap-around porch, or in a shaded outdoor living area. The gentle, swaying motion of a swing is peaceful, perfect to doze for a daytime nap. These swings are also available as shell-shaped chairs, for relaxing with a drink or reading a book.

Outdoor chaise lounges are far more comfortable for tanning than a plastic or metal lounger. Available in a variety of materials, you can chose a style which compliments the architecture of the home.

“We have comfortable styles without cushions for areas near the pool and exposed to the weather. You can add cushions for ultimate, all day lounging comfort,” says Tiffany.

Canopy daybeds are usually circular, offering enough space for a few people. The shell can be down, or used as a cover for shade or protection from a gentle, tropical sun shower.

Much like those you see at beach resorts, cabanas with curtains are perfect for privacy. They are spacious enough to rest a platter of snacks, or a bucket with champagne on ice. 

A perfect outdoor spot

3. Outdoor Bars and Kitchenettes

Whether on vacation, or enjoying the weekend, you want to maximize your time outdoors, including time preparing meals. Designing an outdoor kitchen is the perfect way to cook and serve food entirely ‘al fresco’.

Your design team can source simple kitchenettes and outdoor appliances, or create a custom kitchen from scratch. These spaces can include features such as grills, stone pizza ovens, refrigerators, cabinets and lots of counter space.

“Whenever possible, I like to include an ice maker in outdoor kitchens.  In the Caribbean you can never have too much ice for your drinks,” says Tiffany.

Outdoor Kitchen Example

A poolside luxury, outdoor bars are trendy, as hosting and entertaining is made simple when the beverages are served outside. Your bar can be a simple all-in-one piece, or custom-built to make your cocktail creations. Full-service bars can include sinks, running water, and special weather-resistant shelves designed to keep your bottles safe.

4. Choosing a Design Direction for your outdoor living area

It’s easy to end up with an eclectic mix of patio furniture.There are so many options, styles and colors too choose from. Clients often like to mix and match pieces from a variety of sources, to add to the Caribbean character. Alternatively, your design team can plan the décor around a specific theme.

Costal themes are popular in Caribbean vacation homes, to embrace the sand and sea. Driftwood and coral prints compliment the tropical lifestyle. If your family likes to sail, consider adorning the space with an anchor, ropes, and other knick knacks for a nautical lifestyle. 

“We look to the style of the home’s architecture and the natural surroundings to inspire our choices for outdoor décor. These spaces are very much focused on the view so we always want to maximize that asset,” says Tiffany.

Enjoy the view with my six must haves for your beach house.

5. Situation and Location

An outdoor living area can be tucked away in a private spot, or overlooking the sea with the best view. Discuss the intention of the area with your design team, so they can select the best spot on your property. 

Entertaining areas may be situated near the indoor kitchen for convenience. Sun bathing areas are best around the pool with the best vistas of the sea. Hanging swings or day beds could be in a peaceful spot, under a tree or in a far corner of the yard. 

“Don’t forget the need for shade to make the space more user-friendly. Large umbrellas or shade structures keep us cool and comfortable,” saysTiffany.

It’s always nice to have a shady spot to kick back.

By working with teams with experience specific to design Caribbean homes, you are guaranteed superior final results. Lagnappe Custom Interiors works with clients remotely, to provide efficient and easy planning when designing a tropical home. With access to the best selection of products, and a database of experts to work with, Lagnappe works to make your vacation dream come true.

About Lagnappe Custom Interiors

Lagnappe Custom Interiors is a full-service interior design firm specializing in bringing the small niceties to a home or commercial space that make it memorable, functional and yours. Based out of St. Thomas, Lagnappe [LAN-YAP] is led by Tiffany Cassidy who enjoys working with clients to create a home that reflects their style and needs. Tiffany marries her artistic and scientific sides together to bring the residents of the Virgin Islands and continental U.S. an interior decorating service that manages the complex and turns it into beauty. Her goal is to not only make a home prettier, but in doing so, make your life better. Visit for more information.

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