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Designing Decks from the Inside Out

It’s not breaking news to say that Americans have been spending more time at home for the last couple of years. It’s also true that what homeowners expect from their homes has changed significantly during this time.

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It’s not breaking news to say that Americans have been spending more time at home for the last couple of years. It’s also true that what homeowners expect from their homes has changed significantly during this time. Because of this shift, home renovation projects are more popular than ever before. Outdoor decks and living areas, in particular, have become increasingly important. Just as homeowners report wanting more from the interiors of their homes, they expect more from their exteriors too.

Your pro customers are also responding to this growing interest in outdoor living spaces. According to a recent survey by the New Home Trends Institute, 58% of residential building professionals stated that creating a connection to the outdoors will be a major theme of their designs in the next three years.

Drawing parallels between indoor and outdoor spaces makes sense. Homeowners are beginning to pay more attention to the appeal of a seamless aesthetic, while professionals are embracing the challenge of showing what is possible in today’s deck and outdoor living space construction.
Showing homeowners and contractors how to tie together a home’s interior and exterior can pay off in a significant way. Thoughtful finish selections and design details make clients happy, which can lead to more referrals, improve the bottom line, and increase margins.

Tying It All Together

Assessing a home’s interior design elements prior to planning an outdoor space can be a great source of ideas for connecting the inside with the outside. Whether building a brand-new deck or remodeling an existing one, here are five elements worth considering to achieve a cohesive look that will elevate both the interior and exterior of a home.

Decking. Connect interior and exterior spaces by choosing a deck material similar to the flooring in a home. Many homes have a living space that opens directly onto a patio or deck. Installing decking in the same or similar shade as interior flooring can help the two spaces flow together and feel like a single, unified living area. Think beyond wood, too. Available alternatives include concrete, fiberglass, plastic, PVC, aluminum, rubber and composite decking materials in a range of shades that will complement any color palette.

Deck Railings. Consider choosing a deck railing that complements hardware or accessories found in the home. For example, a railing in oil-rubbed bronze could be selected to harmonize with kitchen fixtures, or door and cabinetry hardware. Or, mirror interior wood elements by installing a natural wood cap rail or powder-coated aluminum railing system with a woodgrain finish top rail, which provides the organic look of wood without the maintenance requirements.
Powder-coated deck railing comes in a variety of colors, making it easy to coordinate railings with exterior elements such as siding and trim, along with interior finishes for a more coordinated appearance that makes spaces feel more intentional.
While both traditional picket infill and cable infill remain popular, newer railing infills continue to expand the design possibilities for outdoor spaces. For example, stainless steel wire mesh infill and laser-cut aluminum panels in geometric and nature-inspired patterns, along with custom designs, provide an unexpected way to tie together interior and exterior spaces while making a statement.

Lighting. Select outdoor lighting fixtures that coordinate with fixtures inside the home to create a smoother transition from inside to outside. Use the same bulb types and light temperatures in both areas for a seamless feel. Installing dimmers and setting a similar brightness level also contributes to the illusion of a continuous space. Light should come from more than one source for even lighting, so explore using downlights and under-rail or post accent lighting, which not only helps to ensure safety, but brings an additional design element to deck areas. Look for wet-rated lighting for additional protection from moisture.

Awnings. Another way to create a harmonious look is to install exterior awnings that complement elements such as siding and trim, or that carry a color scheme through from a visible interior space. These outdoor architectural accent pieces can be installed over doors and windows, providing protection from the weather, along with an easy way to coordinate finishes between the exterior and interior of the home.
Stationary-type awnings, such as powder-coated aluminum awnings with polycarbonate panels, offer durability and impact resistance along with the ability to choose an array of color options that coordinate harmoniously with railings and other exterior elements.

Trellises. Adding a trellis, or series of trellises, to a deck area can mirror botanical design elements used inside the home while creating a connection to the outdoors. Echo the theme of a prominent piece of art or an upholstery pattern by placing live plants on strategically-placed trellises. A number of trellis options are available, including marine-grade stainless steel versions, which resist the weather while providing a sleek, understated backdrop for plants and vines.
Especially when it comes to decks, railings, and awnings, look for product lines that provide visual aids, such as color swatches, chip sets, and online visualizers which make it easier for homeowners to envision how products will look in their home once installed.

Bringing It Home

Today’s homeowners desire outdoor living spaces that are not only beautiful and low-maintenance, but function as an extension of their homes. Fortunately, options continue to grow as manufacturers introduce innovative outdoor products focused on creating indoor and outdoor environments that look as if they were designed as a single space.
By presenting a broad range of trend-forward design options, you can set yourselves apart and be seen as partners who can help transform indoor-outdoor living spaces from ordinary to spectacular.

– Kym Nosbisch is the director of retail & product marketing for Feeney Inc. (