“Staycations” are becoming increasingly popular with hardworking families across the country. Rather than battle airports and interstates, people are choosing to spend their vacations at home…literally in their own back yards. With this trend has come another…the addition of lanais as an extension of the home. You can have your little piece of paradise with even a limited budget and some creative design ideas.
Add a lanai to virtually any room in the house. The interior of your home can then open onto the lanai with its cozy couches and chairs, which in turn, can open onto an outdoor area with a custom bbq, hot tub, even a swimming pool, ready for informal entertaining. It’s an ideal spot to read, rest, share meals and family moments and enjoy the outdoors in peace and privacy. Enclosed with screening, French doors, or glass, or open with gauzy drapes or hangings, the lanai may be used year ‘round depending on the climate where you live.
What should you look for when planning the location of your lanai? First and foremost maximize available space, leaving room to expand in the future. Start with a southern exposure if possible. Southern exposure is ideal, as it cuts down the heat of the afternoon sun. Notice the trees and plants around your proposed lanai space ‒ will they interfere with construction and need to be moved, or will your building process destroy colorful plantings which add so much to the decor? Also, when selecting a lanai’s location, be careful not to block interior windows that let in sunlight and provide cross ventilation, as well as offer beautiful views of the outdoors.
What are some design basics to keep in mind?
- Although a lanai was originally a tropical structure, choose materials that complement the rest of your home.
- Whenever possible, go with natural floor coverings ‒ wood, bamboo, and stone are all great choices. Non-slip ceramic tile comes in wonderful colors and sizes and is easy to maintain.
- Without sacrificing comfort, avoid big, bulky furniture, to help maintain the sense of open space.
- Make sure cushion coverings are mildew and stain-resistant.
- A wood ceiling with big paddle fans can add a spectacular touch.
- Make sure that your lanai’s roof is pitched enough to afford good drainage.
As much fun as you’ll have creating your lanai, it’s important to treat it as you would any addition to your home, getting the proper permits and using a building professional to assist you. It makes sense to talk first with an architect or custom home designer about your lanai and your budget. They can provide creative and practical suggestions to help transform your ideas into a set of plans for a structure that not only meets your needs but is build ready. With vacation right around the corner, you may be anxious to “do it now”, but the time you invest in pre-planning and professional advice will pay off in the long run.