Clash Course: Design Comes Outside to Play

Outdoor spaces benefit from precisely the same design philosophy as our insides: Add the sudden, keep it entertaining and reimagine the distance. From creative display methods to sumptuous colour and texture and unusual lighting, these exterior spaces are exercises in perfecting the art of the clash.

Risa boyer structure

Everything looks better against a dark shade, and if you restrict the colour, your space will seem cohesive but edgy. Add a jolt of this sudden — the fantastic pink seat in this case — and you have mastered the art of clashing.

Zack Benson Photography

Get creative with your display methods. This very simple block construction playfully displays succulents in an abrupt and picture manner.

D-CRAIN Design and Construction

Exactly enjoy the inside, our outdoor spaces actually pop with a layered lighting program. Hung in the shrub, these pendants create a stunning effect that superbly combines outside and interior design conventions in an unexpected manner.

More about choosing outdoor lights


Play fabric: drape awnings; pay your desk for special days; toss down a rug. All these elements mechanically fight (in the best manner) with our conventional comprehension of the outdoors, and will make certain you are as comfortable outside as you are in.

Thom Filicia Inc..

Soften your deck with sheepskins and remain loose on your seating arrangements. Let yourself discover fresh ways of experiencing the outdoors.

Churreria Photography

Take it to the floor. Burlap pillows speak into the industrial view, and the jolt of red lifts this rooftop to fresh heights.

Shannon Ggem ASID

Restrict your colour palette with attachments, such as the the headboard and vase in this particular shot. Pay attention to detail also — the window frames the trees and the faux-green bud joins the spectacle together to provide this outdoor space a critical wow element.

Ojanen_Chiou architects LLP

Do not be afraid to organize objects artfully outdoors. These pebble-look cushions accumulated at one end of this seat create a textural sculpture that retains the spectacle playful.

Escale design

The organic nature of the patio is improved by a semi-transparent display that softens the view. Using its entertaining shapes combined with a restricted color palette, this distance hits all the ideal notes when it comes to decorating. It’s a comfortable elegance that speaks to character.

Modern Outdoor Spaces: Blurring the Line Between Indoors and Outdoors
DIY: Turn Your Carport Into an Outdoor Dining Room
Interview: 10 Secrets to a Beautiful Outdoor Room

See related

When to Paint Your House Brown

Using its affiliation with the organic world, it’s no surprise that the colour brown became the de facto choice for Prairie and Craftsman homes. Brown, from dark to light, fit these fashions in a way other colors couldn’t. Maybe this is because these fashions are celebrations of the organic and natural world that rely less on a cool and cerebral system aesthetic and much more on emotion and craft.

I really do, however, find homes painted brown with no relief or variation to be a little overbearing. Brown homes that incorporate other colours in the details would be definitely the most fascinating and rich, because you’ll see here.

Thomas Lawton Architect

A home nestled in the woods is an perfect candidate to be painted brown. Having a stone bottom and brown body, this home appears to be another structure set in among the trees and ground, particularly because its proportions stress the perpendicular.

Thomas Lawton Architect

Adding an accent colour, such as forest green, to a number of the details, like the window frames, further reinforces the home’s connections to the website while at the same time dividing what could be an overwhelming amount of one colour.

Smith & Vansant Architects PC

The inclusion of an accent colour definitely enlivens and enriches the exterior that’s painted brown. While a brown body colour will accommodate nearly any accent colour, maintaining a similar hue for every will soften the overall bulk of the home.


A more polished and urbane scheme is a better fit for a suburban setting. In this case, a brownish body colour paired with white trim gives the exterior more presence and stature. This scheme works particularly well for a big structure like this one, because the white trim and accents break down what could be an overpowering bulk.

Christopher A Rose AIA, ASID

While dark brown paired with bright white trim is a traditional colour scheme, a wonderful variation is to combine moderate brown with cream trim. This may yield a softer and quieter exterior whilst retaining the architecture’s classical formality.

Alan Mascord Design Associates Inc

Brown isn’t always dim, and it can be combined with varying tonalities to pronounce every element of the exterior. A very light brown body combined with moderate brown to the eaves and dark brown to the door and window frames enables each element of the Craftsman style home to be distinct.

Gardner Architects LLC

Dark brown, like black, will fade into the shadows. This is an opportunity to dematerialize a specific facet of this structure. Painting the very top level dark brown, as was done here, keeps the attention on the lower, brighter parts of the structure and allows the roof to float over it all.

Dennis Mayer – Photographer

Brown isn’t only for vertical and horizontal sidings. It adds itself to some stucco exterior, particularly in a more traditionally designed home. I discover that, because of the lack of detail and the high quality quality of stucco, it’s best that the colour be lighter. Dark brown would simply be oppressive unless there’s a plethora of other details.

mark gerwing

While the focus here has been on traditionally made homes, brown can work for much more contemporary aesthetics, given the right conditions. It’s perfect for a home like this one, that is suspended in place and employs natural materials. As such, it follows many of the tenets of their Prairie and Craftsman styles even if its structure and form tend to be more International fashion.

More thoughts for exterior paint colours

See related