Colorful Connection: Infusing your Lanai with Color

by Claudia Leah

Playing it safe with your outdoor space is so last season. Now is the time to add a little bit of the unexpected to your lanai and pool area. For many, neutral tones are appealing, but for people looking for a little pop, color is back—especially outside. This area should feel like a relaxing resort in your own backyard and some of the most iconic and historic hotels can be found in West Palm Beach and Miami. Why not bring a little bit of that iconic Florida aesthetic to your home? Here are a few tips to help you incorporate fun colors and great outdoor items into your current lanai space. 

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Treat your outside spaces like you would your inside rooms. Rugs, lighting, furniture, accessories, and art can all be used to create a comfortable outdoor experience. Remember that quality is important here in Southwest Florida, so as you are purchasing your outdoor items pay attention to what you’re actually getting. You don’t want your colors to fade quickly or fight mildew by the end of the summer; quality items will also make clean up and maintenance easier. Choose pieces with some character whether you are going with wicker, metal, or rattan. Chairs with interesting shapes, table legs with some flair, or chaise lounges with carved or molded details make your lanai feel more intentional and polished. 
When adding color, blue isn’t the only option! While it’s a wonderful color that dominates the outdoor design world here, if you like orange or red or green or any of the other fantastic color choices, use those that excite you the most. If selecting coordinating colors is a little daunting, a professional can help. You deserve an outdoor space based on your personality and tastes, not just current design trends. When I chose to redo my own family’s lanai, I decided to use blue as the base tone and then accented with a good amount of flamingo pink and white. The blue I used has a brighter quality to it which, when paired with pink, gives the lanai a retro vibe that reminds me of the glamorous days when West Palm Beach was filled with the socialites who shaped the design we’ve come to associate with Florida. Pro tip—simple things, like fun pool toys with big personalities or decorative umbrellas, are a great way to spice up your lanai and reinforce your color palette. 
Storage outside is sometimes overlooked during the design process. From pool toys to potting tools, there are certain items you need to have handy. Look for dual purpose items like benches or ottomans with concealed storage space. There are also small, decorative sheds that are the size of a closet which are easy to assemble, and great for larger items like pool noodles and floats. Your storage options should also make entertaining on your lanai more convenient. I chose to use accent tables with hidden ice buckets. They have plenty of room for wine and champagne bottles, which means I don’t have to leave my chair or the party to pour another glass. 

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You wouldn’t stop at colors and furniture inside your home, so make sure you finish your lanai with accessories, plants, and lighting. One great way to create a cohesive lanai is through accessories and drapes. They can hide less than desirable architectural details and offer privacy. I also think lighting is particularly important—who wants to sit on a dark lanai? When building a home, make sure you pay attention to where the lighting is placed in the floorplan. Seating areas and your outdoor kitchen/grill should be illuminated for use throughout the night. You don’t want to burn the steaks because you can’t see them! If unsatisfied with your home’s lighting situation, there are clever alternatives. Decorative bistro lights can be hung over a dining or seating area and LED lanterns or pendant lights (plug-in options are now available) can be used as well. There are also ultra modern lighting spheres which can be placed around your lanai and even in the pool for a subtle glow. If you want a more permanent option, you can always hire an electrician to create junction boxes in your ceilings or reposition wall plugs. If you need suggestions, just ask, I’d love to help you decide where to place your new lights and recommend someone I trust to help you do the work. Also, make sure you have a fan or two for good air circulation. Remember to hang them at an appropriate height, especially if you have a tall lanai. Sometimes fans are hung too high—you want the air to circulate around you and not just in the ceiling. These are just a few ways you can spruce up and enliven your outdoor space! 

Claudia Leah, one of Naples foremost interior decorators, 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. 

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