Why Indoor-outdoor Living is the Pinnacle of Luxury

The History, Benefits, and Appeal of Indoor-outdoor Living 

When it comes to designing a luxury home, more attention may be spent on the exterior living spaces rather than the interior. Now more than ever, people value indoor-outdoor living and the promise of leisure, relaxation, and elegant alfresco soirees. It is not enough to have a cozy and inviting living room, but rather a living room with massive sliding glass doors that open to flow seamlessly onto a dining terrace with an outdoor kitchen, bar, and pool view. Scour through the pages of any design publication, and you will surely see beautifully curated interior spaces with open doors begging you to step outside. Our San Antonio interior designers and architects discuss the beginnings of our obsession with outdoor living areas, their rise to popularity, and the benefits of well-connected indoor-outdoor spaces. 

Luxury Outdoor Shower
Luxury Outdoor Shower

The Victorian Garden: The Origin Story of Indoor-outdoor Living 

Throughout history, gardens have been a sign of luxury, power, and wealth typically reserved for royal and ruling classes, one of the best examples being the Garden of Versailles. During the Victorian Era, there was a rise in the leisure class, and more American and English families had access to money and free time. Larger lot sizes outside the city, new technologies, and access to decorative plants gave way to the Victorian garden. Victorian gardens were the first indoor-outdoor living spaces for upper-middle-class families to spend time and expand life outside of the home. Homeowners could tend to plants that solely served as decoration rather than a food source, throw lavish outdoor parties, and relax in the open air. From here, our obsession with indoor-outdoor living only grew as it became synonymous with an aspirational lifestyle. 

Victorian Garden Party
Victorian Garden Party

The Post-war Boom: Luxurious Indoor-outdoor Living Now Available in a Suburb Near You 

After World War II, a housing boom expanded life outside of the city and into the new frontier of the suburbs. In contrast to cramped urban apartments that featured small windows, dark interiors, and no outdoor space, new Mid-century suburban homes boasted large windows, natural light, and expansive patios designed for indoor-outdoor living. Ads for property developers and home goods manufacturers like Revere Copper & Brass were of the mentality that the home was “no mere space bounded by walls and divided into rooms.” The house was not complete without an outdoor space to match. Now, it was more accessible than ever before for the American family to buy into a luxuriously aspirational indoor-outdoor lifestyle filled with picture windows, pool decks, and BBQs. 

Suburban Advertisement from Life Magazine
Suburban Advertisement from LIFE Magazine

The Career of Frank Lloyd Wright: Marrying Nature and Home Life

The mid-century design movement was more than building a home with a deck. It was a marriage between natural and manmade materials that would forever interconnect nature and home life. Frank Lloyd Wright is renowned for establishing the Prairie School style during the early 20th century and coining the term “organic architecture.” His designs influenced the mid-century movement and give us design elements that mirrored the natural landscape and brought in the outdoors through windows, natural light, and open concept floor plans. The indoor-outdoor lifestyle was no longer limited to the garden; it was carried through every inch of the home. What started as a small movement at the beginning of the century would explode post-war and continue to grow through the decades to a present-day obsession with connected interior and exterior spaces. 

Frank LLoyd Wright House
Frank LLoyd Wright House

The Benefits of Indoor-outdoor Living 

Indoor-outdoor living spaces have amazing benefits, which is why outdoor spaces have remained popular with American families since the Victorian era. Today, it is expected by most homeowners, even city dwellers, to have some form of outdoor space to escape the stresses of our daily lives. Here are four of the top benefits of indoor-outdoor living. 

Patio Design Ideas
Patio Design

1. Fresh Air and a Healthy Lifestyle 

It’s not enough for your home to be beautiful. It also has to function to promote a healthy lifestyle. Outdoor spaces provide room for recreation and to take in a breath of fresh air. Whether it is a city rooftop terrace filled with potted plants or a patio overlooking acreage, studies have shown that outdoor living spaces can reduce stress and promote overall well-being. 

Indoor Outdoor Living Ideas
Indoor Outdoor Living Ideas

2. Extended Living Spaces for Entertaining 

Indoor-outdoor spaces also allow us to expand our living area to accommodate more guests or simply enjoy a change of scenery. Elements like large sliding glass doors, outdoor kitchens, and comfortable porch furniture give more opportunities for gathering and relaxation. 

Outdoor Kitchen Ideas
Outdoor Kitchen

3. Cohesive Transitions from Inside to Outside 

Indoor-outdoor areas like a screened porch, patio, or pool deck also serve as a transition space to connect the indoors to the outdoors. Interior designers work with the architects to compose connecting spaces and create a cohesive transition from inside to outside. Without a transitory space bridging the living room to the backyard, a disconnect would be evident, and the outdoors would feel uninviting. 

Indoor Outdoor Living by DK Studio
Indoor Outdoor Living by DK Studio

4. Living a Luxury Lifestyle 

Outdoor living areas also give us a little slice of the luxury lifestyle we are all after. Pool parties, alfresco spring dinners, and nights around the fire pit offer unforgettable moments and help enhance our quality of life in a way that feels connected and fun. 

Luxury Screened Porch
Luxury Screened Porch

Homeowners Demand More from Their Indoor-outdoor Living Spaces Than Ever Before 

Our desire for indoor-outdoor living only continues to grow. Small Victorian gardens and mid-century patios have turned into parklike spaces featuring lavish outdoor kitchens, expansive pools, spalike outdoor showers, fireplaces, and cabanas. The demand from our modern backyards has gone from a simple breath of fresh air to a complete vacation getaway just steps from our living room, and the obsession with indoor-outdoor living only continues. 

Pool Waterfall
Pool Waterfall

Are you looking to add an outdoor living space to your backyard? 

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