Get the best of both worlds with interiors that offer effortless outside access and views
Houzz UK Contributor. Freelance journalist and interiors obsessive, renovating a… More
Innovations in external doors have meant that opening up the whole rear of a house (often the kitchen) has become commonplace. But now, the desire for that enticing indoor/outdoor experience is creating demand for flexible spaces throughout the rest of our homes as well. Bedrooms with balconies, loft extensions leading to roof terraces, additional side entrances and glass panels (or simply oversize windows) are all popular ways of gaining extra outdoor access, enhancing views and promoting the feeling of bringing the outside in. These 10 examples, from all over the house, offer up a tempting taster of the options open to you.
Boost your bedroom
This coastal bedroom’s aqua-coloured wall and ceiling coverings echo the shades of the sea. An oak floor transitions into outdoor decking for a foot-friendly surface that’s tactile and naturally beautiful. Sliding doors allow a space to be opened up cleanly and can even be tucked away into a pocket recess if there’s room beside the doorframe.
Experience one-level living
This pristine penthouse is a lesson in furniture coordination. The space is split into three distinct areas: kitchen and dining, formal living room and den. All pieces within these zones must mesh together, but also retain their individual identity. A tonal grey palette, wooden and brass elements, and natural fabrics unify the overall scheme, while three separate doors ensure seamless access to the roof terrace from every area.
In this bright extension the bones of the build are left on show for an interesting industrial flavour. Bold grey and yellow steels reveal the structure of the addition and provide contrast to the pale plywood cabinets. Large sections of glass roof invite the indoor/outdoor experience, and a combination of fixed and sliding doors open up the whole back wall.
See the rest of the project photos here
Set up a study break
This aubergine-coloured office is intimate and calming thanks to the rich colour palette, but outside access lends fresh air and a spot for quiet contemplation. Or, if work’s not going so well, a nap on the couch doesn’t seem like a bad alternative!
Ensuring a smooth transition to exterior spaces is a lot to do with picking outdoor flooring that matches the indoor floor. For both, choose low-maintenance materials that are comfortable underfoot and quick-drying.
Take a top view
Make time for rooftop pampering with a beautifully positioned bath in a loft extension. This sleek wash space has an enviable aspect, opening out onto a neat roof terrace. Bistro-style outdoor furniture is slimline and suitably unobtrusive for a compact space. Plants in pebble-like containers provide foliage and colour that can change with the seasons.
If a terrace isn’t something space or Planning will allow, consider how expansive glazing could give you a similar indoor/outdoor feel (just ensure you factor in the possibility of being overlooked and work around that with hanging plants or areas of opaque glass).
Try all-out transparency
Take inspiration from this achingly cool kitchen where a corner door makes for an entirely open-plan indoor/outdoor scheme. The space is flooded with light thanks to masses of glass, meaning that delicate pendants appear to float ethereally amid the all-white palette. To add extra greenery and organic softness, a large indoor tree sways gently near the doorway.
Read a beginner’s guide to kitchen extensions
Rather than wall-to-wall doors, this handsome home features a section of bifolds that opens up the existing building and creates a charming indoor/outdoor area. A part-glass extension (just seen) produces more interior space in place of the (often redundant) side return, while still maintaining the original feel and flow of the building. Rattan seating forms an open-air living room for summer celebrations and lazy afternoons.
Collar Cali cool
A luxe modular sofa and smart drapes give this indoor/outdoor scheme an LA vibe. Keeping furniture streamlined and low makes it easier to ‘zone’ an open-plan layout as everything is of similar proportions. Plump cushions and soft drapes take the edge off sharp corners, encouraging relaxation. Large-scale paving slabs on the exterior mean minimal seams and a clean, sophisticated finish.
Make your outdoor area smell as good as it looks – take this garden tour for inspiration
If you’ve got a view to be proud of, make it the focus of your project. This stunning new build uses panoramic doors and a seamless glass balustrade to ensure that the horizon can be admired from the sofa. With so much to look at outside, there’s no need for fussy decoration. Instead, neutral upholstery and white-painted walls provide a muted backdrop for touches of wood and warm-toned accessories.
And whether your vista takes in rooftops and chimneys or the tops of trees, there are all sorts of views that are worth a long look. This city scene would help to stir the senses into action – just be sure to factor in blinds or switchable glass for night-time privacy!
How have you connected your indoors and your outdoors at home? Share your tips in the Comments section.