discusses the growing trend of Outdoor Living Spaces. Pinterest social media site ranks ‘Homes’ as their top search category, with good reason. As a result of the growing demographics of the Millennials and the aging Baby Boomers, outdoor entertainment areas have quickly become the top hot home improvement choice for homeowners.
One of the newest words in our lifestyle vocabulary is “staycation.” For whatever reason—saving money, entertaining friends and family, less hassle than travel—more people are enjoying vacation time in their own places of residence. And a key indicator of this development is the burgeoning popularity of outdoor living spaces and the features that dress them up.
Here’s the proof. The American Institute of Architects (AIA) noted in a 2014 survey that Outdoor Living spaces have emerged as the most popular special function room among homeowners. AIA also noted in its most recent survey that 69 percent of homeowners increased outdoor living options along with landscaping. The outdoor living options are up 6 percent from 2013, at 63 percent. A Better Homes and Gardens study found that homeowners view outdoor living spaces as an expansion of the home and a vital venue for family time and entertaining.
The fastest-growing social media site Pinterest ranks “Home” as its top category and “For the Home” as its most popular board name. Within these, outdoor kitchens, landscaping ideas, outdoor entertaining ideas and porch and deck projects receive plenty of pins and repins from its audience (87/17 percent women/men in the U.S.; 56/44 percent men/women in the U.K.).
Besides the obvious reason—pure enjoyment—there are other reasons for the focus on outdoor living. Atlanta marketing group Kleber & Associates reports in a recent Outdoor Living survey: “… Enhancing the home’s overall atmosphere and increasing its resale value were tied for the number one motivation with an impressive 74 percent of respondents.” Other motivations are spending more time at home with friends and family, enjoying the outdoors more (even in inclement weather) and connecting with nature.
Outfitting these outdoor spaces can be as simple as a placing a portable charcoal grill on the patio or as elaborate as equipping an extensive outdoor living room with complete kitchen, fireplace, high-definition television and surround sound system. This phenomenon is fueling multiple industries that manufacture products for the outdoors, such as appliances, furniture, lighting, landscaping, insect repellent systems, water features, spas, electronics, garden products, fire pits, sunrooms, screened porches, hot tubs, heat lamps, pools, decks, ponds, gazebos, pizza ovens and more. More decadent delights are in the spectacular array of luxury products that can transform any backyard into a luxe resort: lighted pool tables, fire tables, lighted outdoor planters, oversized cocoon-like day beds, outdoor chandeliers and lamps, and furniture that glows with LED lights inside.
Millennials (those born between 1980 and 2000) and aging baby boomers heading into their retirement years are fueling the popularity of outdoor living spaces. Studies show that millennials are optimistic about the future and place a high value on owning their own homes. According to a National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) survey, 90 percent of millennials prefer to live in rural or suburban areas rather than an urban city atmosphere. As a result, most millennials have either purchased a house in the last three years, or plan to buy a house within the next three years. All indicators point to the fact that outdoor living is not just a trend or movement, but now is a well-loved staple of the American lifestyle and here to stay. It makes a staycation at your home resort more and more appealing. [Steve Kleber byline and bio, per CNN.com examples]