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How to Plan an Outdoor Leisure Room for Your Home

Updated on September 8, 2017
viryabo profile image

Practicing as a professional interior designer for 30+ years, I do design & build projects & offer tips on how to do simple design tasks.

If you live in a small home and want to create an outdoors leisure space, what are the things you’ll need to consider? First, let me briefly explain why it’s a good thing to have an outdoor leisure room.

Outdoors relaxation rooms are becoming more commonplace because it provides the home occupants with the opportunity to enjoy the outdoors while enjoying the feel and comfort of being indoors. They can be likened to screened porches which permit an outdoors experience while being relaxing and sheltered.

A leisure room has an aspect of intimacy and quiet privacy and is a space where you can spend leisure hours surrounded by furniture and amenities typically found indoors. While some may be carved out from small spaces and just have a couch, coffee table, and a couple of chairs, you’ll find other leisure rooms with built-in furniture, fireplaces, ceiling fans, potted plants, sinks and wet bars, rugs, and even big-screen televisions.

Things You Will Need to Think Through

As we all know, the rising values of properties have gradually limited residential plot sizes over time, however, even if you don’t have that much space to create a sizeable leisure room outside, with some imagination and careful planning, you can transform any space into one.

These things are what you’ll need to consider before creating yours:

  1. Available space
  2. Location (front of house, backyard, or side)
  3. Access point
  4. Borders
  5. Weatherproofing
  6. Furniture and furnishings
  7. Lighting
  8. Heating
  9. Colour scheme

Outdoor Room
Outdoor Room

Available Space

Being able to create beautiful small outdoor spaces depends on the available space you have. If for instance, your plot is small, you may wish to consider building the structure attached to your house. This can be positioned off the kitchen, the dining or living room.

If the house is U-shaped or L-shaped, the room can link and visually expand two or three interior rooms without taking up additional outdoor space.


If you have space in the front portion of the house, perhaps the outdoors room belongs there. For privacy from outside prying eyes, it can be protected from the street with a vertical screen made up of potted shrubs, trellis panels made from wood with creeping vines like jasmine or bougainvillaea. It can be sited at the back of the house if you have ample space in which case it can lead from the kitchen. And if your garden is in the back of the house, you can build the leisure room there.

Access Point

The more you use the room, the more accessible you want it to be without disrupting your normal routine. The first step to creating a well-planned outdoor room is to determine your access points. If it is not attached to the house, like maybe built at the far end of the garden, you can create a natural path from the back door to the leisure room. The walkway can be made with large stone pavers like flagstones, cobblestones, or burnt floor bricks.


An outdoor room doesn’t necessarily have to have borders made from brick walls, but it must have some border of sorts. Decide on what materials or features you’ll love to serve as borders. Borders can be created with potted flowering plants, built-in benches, storage containers, perforated walls, folding glass walls, waterfalls wall, or custom built barbecue or a fireplace with a chimney.

How to Build a Leisure Room in Your Backyard


Some outdoor rooms are not entirely enclosed and are partly exposed to the weather conditions so you need to choose your furniture and furnishings wisely. If yours is such that’s enclosed, for instance, with three borders, then you will need to use materials that can withstand moisture from the atmosphere, dust, and dirt. Materials to consider include bamboo, rattan that’s been weatherproofed, teak, and durable iron such as wrought iron.

Furniture and Furnishings

You can make yours look like a family living room, an entertainment room, or a children’s playroom. What you decide to create depends on the reasons why you’ve decided to have one. Furniture and furnishings should be chosen based on these reasons.

Let say, for instance, you desire a living room setup, elements you will need must include a couch, accent chairs, a coffee table and side tables, and throw pillows. You can add simple furnishings or tasteful ones. It all depends on your style. Don’t forget scented candles, table top water features, memorabilia, coffee table décor, and other decorative objects of your choice. There is no one-way to style your outdoor leisure room. Include table lamps or hanging lanterns.

Because you are basically trying to have the same comforts of your home’s, but in an outdoor setting, consider installing an outdoor TV and/or a wet bar but remember to choose items that correspond with the size of the room.


Take a cue from the surroundings when planning on how to light up the room at night. If you live along the coast, get table lamps set in a trough of beach sand and starfish or ones filled with seashells. A lamp filled with seashells or made from a buoy brings the beach to mind.

And if you live in a wooded area or in the mountains, for instance, choose one crafted from faux antlers, stumps of logs, or rustic stained glass. Hanging lights are also essential. You can have a singular central hanging light or decorative wicker lanterns.

If your leisure room leads out to a pathway, think about pathway lighting too. If you have trees close by, illuminate it with landscape lights.


You want to enjoy your outdoors room even when it’s cold or wet outside. In the colder months, you need adequate heating that will ensure space is relaxing and cosy all year round.

Simple, cost-effective and instant, a convection heater warms the air through heated elements and is quieter than a fan heater. That’s not to say you can’t use a fan heater though. Log burning stoves are another great option and a beautiful way to heat your outdoor room and if the room is fitted with laminate or wood flooring, you can install electric underfloor.

You may also consider maintenance free bio-ethanol fires. You won’t need a flue or hearth because they are self-contained and are fed by clean burning eco-friendly bio ethanol liquid and best of all, you don’t need to connect to any services.

Colour Scheme

Get creative with your colour scheme. Use a bright rug to liven up space and neutralize it with a concrete coffee table. Large lanterns on the floor with coloured candles help create a visually warm ambience. Boldly (or subtle, depends on what you like) patterned or textured oversized floor cushions are a change from your staider interior look. Introduce green foliage set in large planters for a warm natural look.

Unusual Outdoor Living Spaces

© 2011 viryabo

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