Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Fireplaces and Firepits Warm Up Any Outdoor Living Space

What happened to summer?  Well, here in South Florida we are still sweating it out and hurricane season is not over until November!  But there is a very tiny hint of a change in the weather, although I always say you can really feel it on or about October 15th. This year it is running late!

I had intended to write a post about outdoor rooms several weeks ago and was wondering how timely it would be now that many people are experiencing cooler temps and  turning leaves.  I just saw an article on Houzz.com that gave me inspiration to share some of those ideas and some of my own. The fall is just as great a time of year to enjoy outdoor living.

One of my most favorite things about designing an outdoor living space is the idea of having a fireplace.  A fireplace, as in interior spaces, is a perfect focal point.  Not only can a fireplace enhance whatever style you love, it can add warmth, literally and figuratively to your outdoor room.

brick outdoor fireplace
This fireplace anchors the patio seating and dining area. It is the perfect gathering place.
Look at that fantastic chandelier.

Overhead white lights add to the inviting ambiance in this lovely setting.

dark wood outdoor furniture
This is such a cozy space to relax in. Add a throw
and warm up by the fire.

This elegant outdoor room is the a delightful place to entertain.

This fireplace gives a southwestern feeling to the patio and is enhanced
 by adding beautiful plants and comfy pillows.

Outdoor fire places can be traditional or more contemporary as seen above.

What a dramatic statement this fireplace makes flanked by waterfalls.
I love the combination of fire and water.
In the fall you might exhange plants and flowers for dried leaves, pumpkins and other gordes.

I can almost smell the smoke filling the crisp fall the air.

Don't have an outdoor fireplace?  Firepits are wonderful too!  You can put one almost anywhere and have  seating built  around it. You can place comfortable chairs, cushions or benches close by too.

This simple firepit adds sophistication to this outdoor room.

Does this remind anyone of camping? What a great way to bring that feeling to your own backyard.
I wonder if the ring around the firepit is to put your feet on
and warm your toes?

A screened top to this firepit is a good idea for safety, but makes it harder to
roast marshmallows!
On a personal note, recenlty I visited our son and daughter-in-law who have just moved into their new home.  They have the most incredible built in sunken firepit with a banquet seating surrounding the whole thing.  It basically turns on with the push of a button!  There is beautiful lighting as well.  My son set up a wireless speaker and played Peter Paul and Mary from his phone.....of course we roasted marshmallows too. It was one of my most favorite parts of my visit. So, don't forget adding music to your outdoor living space!

Here it is.  Can you hear the music?  The outdoor ambient lighting is a beautiful, too.
If building a firepit is not an option there are many freestanding firepits that will create the same ambiance.  I have seen them in many mail order catalogues like Frontgate but also at Home Depot, Lowes and Target too!

Freestanding firepits like this are available at many home improvement stores.

This simple contemporary fireplace makes an  even grander statement
because it is at eye level.

Simple contemporary elegance.

So inviting!
Another kind of fire feature is a chiminea. It  looks like a large terracotta vessel with a hole in the side and top, often elevated on a metal base.  While some might say this is very Southwestern,  I find it works pretty much anywhere, though I would caution, it is safer on an open patio or garden since the top is open.

Here is a traditional Chiminea
This style of Chimenea is more transitional. It is wonderful to see the fire
from all sides, too.

For a warm inviting outdoor room without a fireplace or firepit, try placing groups of candles on your tables or ledges, torches and lanterns work well too. A candlier, or chandelier made for candles casts such a pretty soft glow.  Who doesn't look more beautiful by candlelight?

I call this candle glow.

What do you think about adding an outdoor "fire feature" to your exterior living space?  What do you like to add to your porch or patio during the cooler weather to warm things up?  How about a firepit?  

As always I invite you to share your ideas, inspirations and experiences in the comment box below.   
If you have questions regarding your own decorating projects, feel free to email me at

                                      Happy Decorating! 


  1. People love fire pits I think because it reminds you of camping or cookouts at the beach. We love ours :)

    1. Thanks for your comment, Victoria. Your fire pit is awesome. It certainly evokes camping and bonfire memories for me too.