The Big Outdoors: Redefining Outdoor Design at 210

The days of outdoor spaces being a design afterthought are long gone. Today’s outdoor living areas contain the same cutting-edge, luxury elements as their indoor counterparts, and designers and homeowners are approaching patios, decks, and open-air kitchens with an equal level of thoughtfulness and creativity. “Designing an outdoor space that flows and feels just as beautiful and comfortable as the inside of your house is about more than setting some nice chairs out on your patio,” says 210 Design House President Rama Dandamudi. “As spending time outdoors has become more important to our clients, the focus on investing in high-quality designs and products has also increased.” 

So how do we approach outdoor design at 210? With a balance of high-end and natural elements, a focus on letting the surroundings shine, and the integration of technologically advanced elements that bring the best of kitchen and interior design from the inside out, we’re creating living, cooking, and entertaining spaces that make the great outdoors even greater.


A Balance of Nature and Luxury  

210 designer Grace Radoha likes to follow nature’s lead when designing outside living spaces. “It’s important to create a cohesive environment, and an outdoor space is surrounded by nature,” she says. “Choosing materials that you would already see there — stone, wood, abundant plants — helps the space feel immersed in its surroundings. I also love including a water feature to further increase that feeling of connection to nature.”


Marenco Outdoor sofa by Arflex


When choosing furnishings, Radoha looks to 210 partner Arflex’s seating options to create the feel of a high-end lounge area outdoors. “My dream outdoor space — besides including a large kitchen and a pool — would have a lounge area with the Arflex Marenco Outdoor  sofa. Its soft form has always drawn my attention. I’m also excited about Arflex’s new Taboga Outdoor armchair, designed by Cini Boeri. Its casual look would make it a great furniture piece for any outdoor seating area.”


Taboga Outdoor armchair by Arflex


The Sky’s The Limit

One limiting factor is immediately removed when imagining outdoor versus interior spaces, Radoha says. “When we’re working on interiors, there are always restrictions on the height and width of the room,” she explains. “While an outdoor space might have some width restraints, the height is never ending.” To capitalize on that expansiveness while creating intimacy, Radoha thinks vertically, incorporating pergolas and overhead elements to provide shade and privacy. 

Creating flow with the space’s grounded elements is equally important. “Lining an outdoor lounge area with decorative plants is a nice way to make it feel more integrated with the surrounding nature,” Radoha says. Making a connection to the home’s interior design also elevates an exterior space. According to a 2023 article in Fast Company, homeowners are increasingly bringing interior elements — like fireplaces, entertaining areas, and smaller seating areas — to their outdoor spaces, “blending indoor and outdoor living … while having more space to nurture relationships with loved ones.” 


Outdoor vs Indoor; Shimmer Tavoli by Glas Italia


Luxury Products Designed to Withstand the Elements

While today’s outdoor products are just as stylish and functional as those made for the indoors, they’re also designed to stand up to the demands of nature. According to a study by the National Kitchen & Bath Association, modern high-end outdoor appliances and products “look elegant, but are designed to be easy to clean and to withstand the harshest of elements.”

Outdoor electronics like large TVs, kitchen appliances, overhead heaters and cooling fans are also increasingly durable, and additional design elements can add to that durability. “Including a pergola or partial overhead cover allows for less water and dirt to get into a cooking space,” Radoha says.


Snaidero’s iconic Acropolis kitchen


210’s partners are also reimagining and developing their interior products to move outdoors. Just as Snaidero’s iconic Acropolis kitchen, designed by Paolo Pininfarina, looked as beautiful outside as it did in, Wall&decò’s OUT wallpaper, which is resistant to rain and smog, brings a much-loved design element outdoors to patios, terraces and building façades.“Luxury design doesn’t have to stop within your four walls,” Dandamudi says. “At 210, we can make every part of your home — indoors and out — more beautiful and more functional.”


OUT wallpaper system, by Wall&decò


For more information on how 210 Design House can create the outdoor space of your dreams, visit us in our River North showroom.