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Ways to Create Indoor-Outdoor Connections

by | Jan 05, 2017

Expand nature's soothing embrace with sliding doors, covered porches, generous windows and more. Check out this article, originally run on Houzz, for all the tips and tricks.

by Laura Gaskill, Houzz Contributor

Forging a strong connection between indoors and outdoors can make your home feel more expansive and light filled, and can encourage flow between indoor and outdoor rooms. You would be hard pressed to find another design change that has a greater impact on the way you experience everyday life at home. Whether you are currently planning a remodeling project or simply want to get inspired, these 11 ideas for bridging indoors and out are a good place to start.

Modern Entry, San Francisco
Photo by Charlie Barnett Associates

Create seamless flow. An ample-size pivoting glass door makes an impressive entry on its own — but pair it with a back wall of glass doors, and the light really flows. The same flooring material indoors and out creates an uninterrupted flow from the front to the back of this home.


Modern Entry
Photo by Sutton Suzuki Architects

Add an around-the-corner window. Break away from the traditional four-walls-and-windows pattern by incorporating a corner window. Getting rid of the corner makes you feel as if you are part of the view, and this spot is likely to become the highlight of your home. If you have a spectacular view from anywhere in your home, that's where to put your corner window.

Rustic Bedroom, Sacramento
Photo by Ryan Group Architects

Corner windows are not just for grand vistas — they also do an amazing job of bringing the outdoors in even if the view is just to your own backyard.

More ideas for corner windows

Contemporary Patio, San Francisco
Photo by Rossington Architecture 

Give a garden a private entrance. A small garden off the master bedroom can be a lovely place to relax in. Sliding glass doors allow you to enjoy the view while inside and let in extra light. Consider sectioning off a small part of your yard with shrubs, trees or a fence for privacy. A water feature is a serene touch and also helps mask noises from neighbors.

Contemporary Bathroom, Sacramento
Photo by Butler-Johnson Corporation

Grow a garden off the bath. You don't need to have a huge yard to create a unique garden feature. A narrow stretch of yard on the side of a house could be planted with bamboo for privacy, and opened up to the bath with a wall of glass. For more flexible privacy, consider adding sliding shoji screens.

Contemporary Exterior, Sydney

Shelter an outdoor space. Outdoor rooms in the backyard are wonderful ... when the weather cooperates. But having a covered space next to the house is also welcome. Add comfy seating and perhaps even a fireplace, and you can watch the rain from the comfort of your cozy perch.
 
Modern Home Office, Seattle
Photo by FINNE Architects

Give a desk a view. If you like to daydream at your desk, open it to a fabulous view. Positioning your desk in an upstairs room will offer the best views, no matter where you live — bring the windows from the desk level right up to the ceiling for maximum views and light.
Midcentury Family Room, San Francisco
Photo by Klopf Architecture

Design a family room with doors. A walk-out basement or ground-floor family room can be enhanced with accordion or pocket doors, or even a garage door, that can be completely pulled away to blend indoors and out. The immediate connection with the outdoors could help lure kids away from electronic screens and into an impromptu game of hoops or hopscotch.

Modern Kitchen, Los Angeles
Lose the wall. Opening up an entire side of your home with floor-to-ceiling glass doors is a high-impact change that could revolutionize your daily life. This feature is especially suited to modern homes and midcentury ranches in not-too-cold climates, but it could work well for other home styles — consult a pro to find a style that works with your home.
Photo by JLF & Associates

Reimagine the breezeway. Treat your breezeway more like a greenhouse for a dose of sun and light, even in midwinter. Lightening up a connecting space like this will flood the adjoining spaces with natural light, too.
 
Contemporary, Baltimore
Photo by Ziger/Snead Architects

Echo your home's shape in outdoor areas. A wraparound patio that mirrors the shape of the home, especially when paired with sliding glass doors and plentiful windows, makes the indoor and outdoor spaces feel more interconnected.