An outdoor living space could become the most used part of your home.

Many designers and builders are blurring the lines between indoor and outdoor in new homes, but almost any homeowner can create their own outdoor living space.

Whether it’s for casual get-togethers, parties, family dinners or just relaxing with a book, an outdoor “room” will extend your living space and add value to your home.

These spaces can range from a deck or paved patio to a major outdoor extension under the roof of the house. If you have an existing pergola, you could enclose it to create a new sheltered space.

To create your own dream space, decide on your budget, then look at the area available and how you want to use it. Do you want to host large parties, or are you after a smaller retreat? Do you want an outdoor kitchen or just an under-cover eating space? This living space can, of course, be multi-purpose to meet all your needs.

New pavers will bring new life to an area and, if you choose the right colour, can make a small space appear larger. Timber decking is another popular choice.

A larger entertaining area could include a kitchen, television, sound system, dance floor and dining area.

A smaller-scale area might house a barbecue, some seating and perhaps a daybed for lounging. In either case, go for outdoor furniture to ensure it can withstand the UV rays and heavy use.

In summer you can use overhead fans to help keep you cool, while you can extend the use of your new space by adding an outdoor fireplace, fire pit or wood oven for cooler days and nights. You can add rustic elegance with a chandelier, outdoor rugs and wall art.

Lighting is an important element, but if you don’t want to do any electrical work you can always go for candles or solar lights.

Blinds will provide privacy as well as shade and protection from the weather. Stan Bond’s Zipscreen blinds can be used against windows or to enclose patios and balconies, while straight drop awnings come in a range of fabrics and can be clear or shaded.

If you prefer an awning there are many choices, including folding arm awnings, which fully extend from overhead without posts or brackets to get in your way, then tuck away neatly when not in use.

Whatever your style and budget, you can create your dream space and then change the way you use your home.

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