Designer Q & A with Claudia Leah
Living the Outdoor Life
I have a new lanai space. What are some tips for furnishing my outdoor living area?
Approach your outdoor area just like your indoor rooms using every inch wisely. Choose pieces with complementary textures and colors but don’t feel pressured to purchase all of the items in a set. Take time to layer and build your outdoor retreat!
Incorporate sofas, side tables, chairs, ottomans and coffee tables—play with color because this is a space that gives you freedom to be bolder than you typically would be indoors.
One way to achieve this well-planned look is through accents like outdoor rugs, pillows, and throws with luxurious trims or mixing patterns to create a curated appeal. I also suggest you use mature plants to make the space feel more established. Don’t just rely on the vegetation outside, bring in color and texture through unique planters filled with a variety of flowers, shrubs and even herbs for the accomplished home chef.
Lighting can add function and also create a magical mood. There are so many wonderful options, from string lights to lanterns to battery operated lamps with shades made from outdoor fabrics, there’s no reason to have harsh floodlights illuminating your space, blinding you and your guests!
I have multiple seating areas around my lanai and I’m not sure how to create a cohesive flow between them. What should I do?
Of course, a professional can guide you through the process of setting up your outdoor space if you feel a little lost, but if you want to tackle this area on your own, apply the principles of design (scale/proportion, balance, contrast, pattern, emphasis, harmony, and movement) to your lanai. Always measure the space as your eye is easily fooled and without planning, you could get the scale and proportion of your seating areas all wrong. A costly mistake!
Envision daily life on your lanai. Will you be entertaining often, or will it be a laid back family hangout? Do you like to dine al fresco or would more lounging options be a better fit? The way you will use the space dictates the layout and what areas you should emphasize. Pay attention to flow—how will you naturally move through the space? You don’t want to carry platters from the grill or outdoor kitchen through a maze of couches and chairs, so set up the space in an intuitive way.
I love the look of outdoor drapes I see at some local restaurants and hotels. How can I replicate that look in my own home?
There have been so many advances in outdoor fabrics and hardware—these mainly stationary panels stand up to the sun’s UV rays and are easy to clean so don’t hesitate to add them to your space. Plus, they make your lanai feel like a resort! Typically, I suggest a solid color for these draperies to keep things simple and elegant, especially if you have furniture with a patterned fabric. A word of caution: lanais in Naples tend to be tall spaces so the outdoor panels available at retail chains will probably be too short and unsubstantial. Working with a designer will allow you to create custom draperies that will last for years and are well worth the small increase in your initial investment.
Claudia Leah, one of Naples foremost interior designers, is known for her extensive design expertise, international background and extraordinary customer service. Claudia provides complete design services to prominent clients in and around Naples, Florida.
239.431.5936 | www.claudia.decoratingden.com