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Published: Thursday, 6/29/2006

Indoors or Out, The Living is Easy

One of the most ubiquitous trends in decorating over the past few years has been the importance of the outdoor room. If you were to take an informal poll of your friends and family, asking each, What s your favorite room in your home? don t be surprised if many of them chose an outdoor space, such as a porch, terrace, patio, or deck, or an indoor space such as a sunroom or conservatory.

The evidence is clear -- people are decorating these spaces with the same attention to comfort and style as any other room in the house. The design experts at Stroheim, the high-end resource for decorative fabrics and trimmings, offer these tips to help you make the most out of these spaces.

Decide on a color theme or look for your indoor/outdoor room and work from there. Do you want vibrant brights with a whimsical air? Lush tropical prints for a touch of the exotic? Elegant neutrals that evoke natural materials and textures? The choices are endless.

Be sure to choose fabrics that have been specially treated to resist fading from the sun, as well as being affected by chlorine, mildew and sea water. These fabrics should also be easily cleaned with just soap and water. Many fabrics are specially treated to endure the effects of the sun and the elements.

When choosing outdoor furniture, there are many styles and materials available to help you achieve the look you re after. For a more traditional style, opt for wicker or ornate wrought iron. More contemporary styles are often found in sleek wood or simple rattan. Or you can create a retro tropical look with curvy bamboo paired with nostalgic tropical prints.

For particularly festive outdoor parties, bring a favorite piece or two of indoor furniture outside to create a special ambiance. For example, an ornate daybed or settee can be fun seating on a patio or beach, bedecked with pillows and cushions.

To bring a stylish look to your outdoor space, mix and match patterns and textures. Combine prints, stripes, plaids, geometrics, and solids just as you would in indoor rooms.

Take advantage of interesting decorative accents to give your outdoor space a more polished look. Choose from a wide range of trimmings -- fringe, tassels, cords, and braid -- that are color-coordinated to your fabrics.

Many new homes have rooms with large expanses of windows that let in lots of sunlight. Rooms that bring the outdoors in are also popular renovation projects. Make sure that the fabrics used to decorate these spaces won t fade from the strong UV rays of the sun, by choosing specially treated outdoor fabrics.

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