“The first thing that people need to do about an outdoor space is think about it as a room.”
Martha O’Hara Interiors was voted Best Interior Designer in our Best of Edina 2019 readers’ choice survey.
Martha O’Hara Interiors has an office in Minnesota and in Texas. They are experts at decorating patios and outdoor spaces. We sat down with CEO and creative director Kate O’Hara who came up with some steps to planning out your ideal outdoor space.
Step 1: Envision What You Want
“The first thing that people need to do about an outdoor space is think about it as a room. Think of it as the other living room instead of just a patio,” O’Hara says. “Think of the functions they serve. How do you want to spend time outside? Do you want to read a book? Have friends over? Have a barbecue?”
Step 2: Create a Plan
“Create that gathering area with friends and family,” she says, but plan it out well. “Are we standing? Are we sitting? What furniture pieces do you need to make that work?” Whether it’s a gathering place or a reading oasis, make a vignette in your mind. “What does that look like for you? How do you like to spend time?” she says.
Step 3: Test Time
This is when you question what you’ve made. “Do I need more storage outside? Do I need it inside? Are people hesitant to step outside because they feel they need to take their shoes off and then put them on later? Then you may need an area rug,” O’Hara explains.
Step 4: Accessorize
“The important thing to note is that you do not have walls outside so you have to find other ways to fill and compliment the outdoor area in a way that helps define the space itself,” O’Hara says. “Introduce lighting, planters or area rugs to really design your spaces so they move naturally from one space to the next.”
Step 5: Problem Solve
“Having fun outdoors comes with the inconvenience of not having the things that you have inside,” O’Hara says, giving the example of keeping a bar cart near your French doors or patio entryway. It’s a simple and stylish way to keep drinks organized and easily accessible.
Step 6: Bringing the Outside In
“I hope that people do take the time in the summer to pack up some of the heavy, wool, chunky pillows and throws and bedding that makes winter so cozy and trade them up for lighter colors, linens and cottons. That will help inspire them through the summer to keep the outdoors inside,” she says. “We pack away our holiday décor … there’s really no reason not to do that for the seasons as well. We have things that make us feel homey through the winter months, but we have things that make us feel light and happy and bring the outdoors in during the summer months.”