How to Create Indoor-Outdoor Living Spaces

Reader Contribution by Allison Martin
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Photo by Raya Carlisle

Building a healthy home means living well indoors and out—and designing our spaces to support the lives we want. For example, many of us love spending time in nature, yet we haven’t invested the energy to maximize our outdoor spaces. This season, identify a couple of lifestyle changes you desire—whether it’s spending more time outdoors, banning plastics from your kitchen, making your own art projects or making your backyard more productive—and invest some time and energy into the fun or revamping your living spaces.

Photo courtesy Nora Griffin

The Great Outdoors

Creating enticing outdoor spaces will make your family much more likely to drift outside on balmy evenings, and alluring outdoor rooms don’t have to cost a fortune. On her blog Just Make Stuff, Nora Griffin details how she transformed her backyard into a casual oasis by spreading 2 tons of gravel and building this bright, multicolored DIY brick fire pit. Now, she says, “I can’t help but be out there every day puttering around, trimming plants and sprinkling some water on something. We just go sit outside for no reason at all…which really is the perfect reason.” Find the project on Nora’s blog.

Photo courtesy Nora Griffin

Living Al Fresco

Eating outdoors is an easy way to help our homes flow effortlessly into outdoor space. But a lovely idea can turn into a headache when you are stuck running between the kitchen and the table for every little thing. Streamline eating outdoors on a whim by stocking a tray with everything you need to dine. When the mood strikes, simply add a pitcher of water and the plates of food, and carry your dining caddy out to eat in the wild.

• Flatware
• Cloth napkins
• Salt and pepper
• Kitchen towel
• Citronella candle and matches
• Sturdy glasses

Indoor-Outdoor Living Projects

You can boost your daily time spent in nature by enhancing your outdoor spaces through changes big and small. Take inspiration from this list of potential projects.

• Make your own insect repellent (see below)
• Add an outdoor rug
• Hang a solar lantern
• Rig up wind chimes

DIY Bug spray:
Mix 2 tablespoons each vodka and neem oil with 50 drops each lavender, tea tree and rosemary essential oils. Store in a spray bottle and spritz regularly, avoiding eyes.

• Add pavers, gravel or large stone steps
• Hang a hammock or comfortable swing
• Install outdoor lighting (torches or LEDs)
• Build a fire pit

• Install walk-out doors
• Build a small deck or patio
• Screen in your porch
• Add a large grill or masonry oven