Decorating for Indoor-Outdoor Flow



Just in time for Summer, Houzz Magazine's, Georgia Madden, caught up with Coco Republic senior interior designer, Rohan Smith, to get the hot tips on how maximise the indoor-outdoor flow of your home. 

We love our indoor-outdoor lifestyle here in Australia – little surprise considering our glorious climate. As such, many of us look to blur the lines between the interior and exterior parts of our homes. This isn’t just an appealing decorative choice, but a practical one too, effectively creating a whole extra living space to enjoy.

While the natural first step to boosting your indoor-outdoor connection is to open up the whole area with bi-fold, sliding or stacking doors, your decorative choices can help further enhance the sense of flow. Here’s how.

Choose different styles with a similar colour palette

While you might be tempted to choose the same furniture for inside and out (if your alfresco area is protected), I’d suggest selecting different styes – this way you’ll give each space its own personality and sense of purpose. You can create a feeling of flow between the two areas in other ways, such as choosing the same, or a similar, colour palette.


Use the same materials 

Carrying through similar materials from your indoor living space to your outdoor area will give the sense of flow a serious boost. If you have a timber coffee table in your living room, for example, then add outdoor furniture with timber detailing. 

Take the connection up a notch by adding outdoor scatter cushions to your alfresco sofa or dining chairs in the same colours as your indoor upholstery. Add in touches of metallics in planters and tableware for a sophisticated touch.

Look beyond your living areas

If your alfresco area is situated near the kitchen, which is often the case in homes with open-plan kitchen-living room-diners, you may wish to take your decorative cues from your interior. A beautiful, stone-topped outdoor dining table, for example, will marry beautifully with a stone kitchen benchtop.

Look to the latest trends

Charcoals and greys, which create a sophisticated look, are perennial favourites for inside and out. Add some timber and a hard surface such as concrete or stone for an up-to-the-minute look.

Keep it uncluttered

Arrange furniture so there’s no obstruction between your indoor and outdoor areas. This way, when you open your exterior doors, the two areas will feel like one large, open space.

Don’t forget the little details

Soften your alfresco area (and give it a similar feel to your indoor living spaces) with outdoor rugs, cushions and plants. Boost this with an atmospheric, layered outdoor lighting scheme that might include uplighters in your deck steps, wall sconces that create a gentle wash of light across your vertical surfaces, and flickering candles on the table.


Go multi-functional

Choose flexible pieces that can be used both indoors and out (and, occasionally, for different purposes). These might include timber stools that double as seating and side tables, upholstered dining chairs that work equally well around an indoor dining table or an outdoor one, and indoor-outdoor furniture with on-trend finishes such as a concrete-topped coffee table.

This article originally appeared on Houzz Magazine. Throw them a follow over on Facebook and Instagram.

Georgia Madden is a senior writer at Houzz, specialising in home reno, design and decor trends.