Three Trends in Indoor/Outdoor SpacesEmma Becker
The concept of a space connecting the indoors and outdoors is not new to commercial interiors. Indoor/outdoor spaces take many forms, including restaurant patios, open-air hotel lobbies, corporate workspaces, and recreation areas in healthcare settings. These types of spaces are incredibly flexible and vary depending on each designer’s vision. However, the desire for spaces to bring the outdoors and indoors together has only grown in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. For many, spaces that brought the outdoors in made us feel safe by allowing for safer gatherings during the height of the pandemic. Plus, as many individuals began to work from home, there was a rise in the desire to incorporate the outdoors and nature into work environments. These and many other daily changes have made indoor/outdoor spaces a priority for many companies. So, how are interior designers responding to this need?
3 Trends in Indoor/Outdoor Spaces
Biophilic design, in short, incorporates elements of nature into human-made environments through various design aspects. It taps into the biological human need to connect with nature. This connection has many health benefits, such as lowering stress levels, increasing productivity, and regulating our circadian rhythm. Biophilic design goes hand in hand with designing indoor/outdoor spaces. Designers incorporate greenery and water features as well as capitalize on the ability to bring natural light and fresh air into these transitional spaces.
In indoor/outdoor spaces, transitions can take many forms. Now more than ever, designers are being asked to consider spaces as flexible, multi-use areas. Connecting back to the biophilic design trend, many companies are looking for spaces where their employees can be outside to work or enjoy recreation time. Similarly, hotels want spaces to serve both the vacationer and the business traveler. These needs might be met by placing tables on outdoor patios and balconies for workstations and incorporating areas to gather and connect.
Additionally, designers may want an indoor/outdoor space available for a work area or a place for exercise. For example, transforming an office environment into an area for group exercise classes. The key to multi-use spaces like these is to keep things flexible.
Cohesive and Seamless Transition Design
Perhaps one of the most crucial trends when designing indoor/outdoor spaces is incorporating a cohesive and seamless transition design between the indoors and outdoors. Since biophilic design focuses on seamlessly infusing nature into our daily environments, it’s essential to consider the design of these transitional spaces both for aesthetics and functionality. When selecting furniture, find pieces that can sustain indoor and outdoor conditions and look cohesive in both areas. Consider the ways that sound can be used to aid in the transition between these spaces. Being intentional and consistent with color choices is important too! Consider the importance of shade and the ways weather can impact a space. Canopies, awnings, and other coverings help blend indoor and outdoor spaces together seamlessly while ensuring the outdoor space can function in various weather conditions.
However you end up combining indoor and outdoor living, the results will make a positive impact on everyone using the space.