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Exploring Womanhood > Heart of the Home > Gardening > Outdoor Decorating

My Little Room - Decorating a Small Outdoor Space
By Debbie Rodgers, owner Paradise Porch

"Small is beautiful," said E.F. Schumacher, and although he was speaking of theories of economics, the same might be said of our outdoor living spaces. The large wrap-around porches that we may remember from our childhood are seldom found in today's modern homes. Instead, we're often faced with making an inviting living area in a 4'x6' balcony, a small vestibule, or a 10'x10' deck.

What can you do make a "little room" appear more spacious?

  • First, use the space for only one purpose. A small living area, inside or outside, cannot be used for as many activities as a larger one. Choose your priority and plan for that alone. Bear in mind traffic flow.

  • Keep it simple. Reduce the number of elements (furniture, lighting, accessories) in the space. Furniture should be space efficient and low, but does not have to be small. One large accessory has more impact that several small ones, which can look cluttered. Don't be afraid of blank space.

  • Have a strong, uncomplicated focal point. Maybe it's a magnificent view, a stunning wooden bench, or a bamboo water feature.

  • Unify the space with a theme. For example, use material (all wicker), shapes (many circles) or color (shades of white).

  • Since floor space is limited, remember to use vertical surfaces. Train a vine over a trellis, install a small waterspout on a wall, or twist a cloud of tiny paper lanterns up a vintage pole lamp.

Here are a couple of quick ideas for small areas:
  • Hang a mosquito net with a built-in circular frame from the ceiling of a balcony or porch. Drape the sides of the net over the railings. Inside, place a wicker chaise lounge, a small wicker side table and one large, lush tropical plant. A great place to sip a piña colada!

  • Insert two large coat hooks in an outside brick wall. Buy two inexpensive folding wooden chairs and a small wooden side table. Arrange 3 tall potted plants against one wall of the space. Hang the chairs on the hooks when not in use.

Plan well and use your imagination and you'll enjoy your little room in a big way!

Debbie Rodgers owns and operates Paradise Porch, and is dedicated to helping people create outdoor living spaces that nurture and enrich them. Visit her on the web at www.paradiseporch.com and get a free report on "Eight easy ways to create privacy in your outdoor space". Mail to debbie@paradiseporch.com.

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