Indoor and outdoor space

Connect your indoor and outdoor space

Want a seamless link between your home and garden? Laurie Davidson looks at the latest ways to enjoy your indoor and outdoor areas all year round

Having a room that’s connected to the garden has become a popular choice with homes today, allowing us to enjoy our indoor and outdoor space during the summer and gain beautiful views and a connection to nature in the colder months. But how to get that connection right?

Whatever the size of your plot, there are a number of ways to tie these two areas together – even if you have a small terrace or a compact garden – and it doesn’t always have to mean a costly sum, either. If you’re considering knocking through to create an open-plan space, extending or adding an additional garden room, read on to find out how you can link your indoors and out, the key points to consider and what’s new for 2020…


indoor outdoor space

Three out of five walls surrounding this large living room, designed by Three Counties, are made from glass to ensure it is flooded with light, whatever time of year. Folding doors on two walls open entirely to allow the space to become at one with the garden, while overhead, the third wall plays party to a capacious sky lantern.

indoor outdoor space

This Crittall-inspired extension by Uskuri Theobald Architects completely opens up the inside to the garden decking area. The inverted shape of the glazing allows the kitchen-diner and living spaces to retain their own zones, while still remaining part of an open-plan space.

Indoor outdoor space

For a luxury indoor and outdoor space, solid walls have been swapped for floor-to-ceiling glass in this kitchen scheme, which ensures this all-encompassing space remains well-lit, with maximised views of the surrounding grounds. As an added touch, the lines of the wood panelled ceiling reflect those on wood decking outside. Kitchen island, cabinetry and worktop by Eggersman, from £40,000.


Let in the light

The most obvious choice for linking your indoor and outdoor space is to frame your garden view with beautifully large windows or doors that can be opened to allow plenty of sunshine and fresh air in. Whether it’s from a living or dining space, a kitchen, or an open-plan room, the idea is to have the indoor and outdoor space as one seamless space, separated only by a sheet of glass, so it’s worth considering this if you’re planning a room renovation or extension. What view do you want to see every day? How can you best frame it? And what type of doors and windows will suit your property?

We’ve seen bi-folds surge in popularity in the last few years, with the trend to fold them right back and have your home open to the exterior. However, there’s a new contender, with traditional-look Crittall-style windows and doors staging a comeback – and not just on period properties, either. Sliding doors are worth considering if you don’t necessarily want the whole of your space open to the garden, and as they have less mullions than bi-folds you’ll have more of an uninterrupted view when they’re closed. To create a truly seamless look, why not invest in large frameless windows, where your view won’t be interrupted by any frames or handles, which in turn helps create the illusion of a larger garden?

The walls aren’t the only way to add in light either – making the sky a part of your interior view by introducing a skylight, either flat or pitched in shape, will instantly help lighten a dark room and can often be achieved under permitted development.


Consider a conservatory or garden room

Garden room

Eckford Chong designed this warm and characterful space to replace an old uPVC conservatory, with a butterfly roof form that stretches upwards like wings on the new garden room. Double-glazed panels, high-level clerestory windows and an entirely bespoke glazed roof keeps the inside space feeling light, while ash-veneered plywood garden room walls provide the perfect spot to bring the outside in with plants and herbs. [Credit: Photograph Chris Snook]

Conservatories are ideal for allowing you to enjoy the outside in comfort all year round, and although the traditional glass structures are still going strong, we’ve also seen more modern designs being introduced of late. Garden rooms, in general, are popping up so that homeowners can enjoy the garden outlook while dining or lounging, and offer the chance to play around with materials to reflect those in the surrounding outdoor space and even within their home. When starting your design, you’ll need to choose from self-cleaning or solar-tinted glass. It’s worth remembering that although polycarbonate is more budget-friendly, it creates a more muted light and is a noisier option when it rains.

John Lewis

Paned glass walls offer a modern take on a conservatory and are similar to the popular Crittall style, while this spacious design makes it easy to incorporate a living area set-up with roomy furniture. Garden Modular chair units, from £250; Valencia Garden High Low coffee tables (set of two), £249, all John Lewis & Partners


Winter gardens are popping up everywhere. They are essentially a glass box that provides an extension on to your living space and on larger homes these can be vast spaces, while on smaller new-build apartments we’re seeing designs that cover balconies and can be opened up in the summer. From £2,500 per square metre, Thames Valley Window Company.


Feature flooring

Use the same flooring inside and out and your eye will not only be drawn out to your exterior space, but it’s also a way of making them feel part of the same decoration – less separate and uninterrupted, so to speak. Remember that your outdoor flooring will have a different set of requirements – for example, it’s susceptible to the elements so will need to be slightly hardier, as well as frost and slip-proof. Luckily, many companies these days are catering for that, with the same tiles in options for indoor and outdoor spaces. This year, we predict you’ll see an increase in the size of products, with larger tile formats and wider wood planks, as well as a lighter colour scheme of creams and beiges.


Running from inside to out, this Concreate flooring (available from Versatile Wood) is a polished concrete floor panel, made from two layers of concrete for added strength. It fits together in a tongue-and-groove system, with no need for grout, is slip- and mould-resistant and makes a sustainable and more environmentally sensitive alternative to traditional floorings. Kitchen designed by Kitchen Coordination.


Create a canopy or pergola

Canopies and pergolas are very different but the one thing they both have in common is that they can offer you some welcome shade. A canopy can also offer shelter if it decides to drizzle and, if you have the budget, it’s worth investing in one with a sensor that can retract when it gets windy. Then there’s the pergola, which is a structure that can help define your space and provide a ‘roof’ on which to grow plants and hang lighting. If you’re looking for a decorative option to finish off your outside space, then this will do the trick.

Outdoor awnings can be installed almost anywhere, whether you have a balcony, porch or terrace that’s in need of shade. This Qubica Plumb cassette arm design features LED strip lighting and is wind- and water-resistant. It measures 1200 x 435cm and is available from KE Outdoor Design.

Pergolas not only provide shade, but also create a ‘roof’ for a living or dining space. Use the structure to grow foliage and string lights from, such as these Solar Metallic hanging lights, from £12.99, Dobbies.


Experiment with materials and colours

If you’re really looking for the wow factor, why not blur the boundaries of your indoor and outdoor space by using a luxurious material in both areas. For example, a marble wall outside can echo your kitchen’s marble worktops or splashback. Bench seating could run along the kitchen wall and then continue again in the garden, while brick slips used in your dining area can mirror the brick wall outside. Alternatively, you could use the same paint colour inside and out, treating your fences as you would a wall, and decking as you would wood flooring. Just make sure the paint you use outside is suitable for the exterior, so that it protects and lasts against the elements.

Feature wall

Using a material like stone or marble outside creates instant impact and although it isn’t cheap, it’s worth it if you’re looking to invest in your home and show off a luxurious finish. Mirror the look inside to tie the two spaces together – either with similar floor tiles, or a splashback in a kitchen-diner. Lilac Polished marble, from £350 per sq m, Cullifords.

indoor and outdoor space

We’re constantly hearing about linking inside and out, but bringing the outside IN to your home can be as easy as installing floor-to-ceiling framed windows in a natural green shade, along with plenty of greenery and chairs that look out on the view. Starfloor Tile Puzzle vinyl, £29.99 per sq m, Carpetright.


garden room

Outdoor structures offer an extra room, but if you’re looking for something a little smaller, than one of these Farmer’s Cottage Rotating Seated Garden Pods, £8,999, John Lewis & Partners, could be just what you’re looking for. A new concept for garden dining and relaxing, the spheres rotate, so you get views of all the garden while enjoying them, and can ensure the door is always in the sun or shade.

seamless flooring



Using similar colours and accessories to those you have inside is more likely to make your garden feel like an extension of your home. Set up a ‘living area’ as you would inside, with sofas, an outdoor rug and coffee table and cushions to bring colour, pattern and texture into the equation. Plaza rug in Ivory, from £39, The Rug Seller.

Laurie Davidson @lifeofaninteriorstylist


Indoor and outdoor space stockists

CarpetrightCullifordsDobbies, Eckford ChongEggersmann, John Lewis & Partners, KE Outdoor Design, Kitchen CoordinationRichard John AndrewsThe Rug Seller, Thames Valley Window CompanyThree CountiesUskuri Theobald Architects, ValverdiVersatile Wood