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10 ways to improve the flow of your indoor-outdoor area

by Laura Gaskill

Bridge the indoors and out with sliding doors, covered patios, generous windows and more.

Forging a strong connection between indoors and outdoors can make your home feel more expansive and light filled, and can encourage flow between the spaces. 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 renovation project or simply want to get inspired, these 10 ideas for bridging indoors and out are a good place to start.

1. 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 laid indoors and out creates an uninterrupted flow from the front to the back of this home.

View our photo gallery of beautiful patio designs

2. Add an around-the-corner window

Break away from the traditional four-walls-and-windows design 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.

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.

3. 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 to mask noises from neighbours.

Discover more landscaping ideas

4. Grow a garden by the bathroom 

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 bathroom with a wall of glass. For more flexible privacy, consider adding sliding shoji screens.

5. Shelter an outdoor space

Separate outdoor rooms are wonderful when the weather cooperates, but having a covered space next to the house is a welcome convenience. Add comfy seating, and perhaps even a fireplace, and you can watch the rain from the comfort of your cosy perch.

6. Give a desk a view

If you like to daydream at your desk, choose a fabulous view for it. 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 visibility and light.

Find your perfect desk on Houzz

7. Design a family room with doors

A 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 hopscotch.

8. Lose the wall

Opening up an entire side of your home with floor-to-ceiling glass doors is a high-impact change that could revolutionise your daily life. This feature is especially suited to modern homes in not-too-cold climates, but it could work well for other home styles – consult a pro to find a style that works for your house.

9. Reimagine the breezeway

Treat your roofed outdoor passage more like a greenhouse for a dose of sun and light, even in winter. Lightening up a connecting space like this will flood the adjoining spaces with natural light, too.

10. 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 interconnected.