Thinking your house is a little small? Wishing you had another room, perhaps, someplace to hang out, entertain or just relax and read a book? Look around… a little farther… out the window… it’s your deck! Or your porch, patio or backyard slab. With just a few key changes, you can change your outdoor space into a comfortable living space. It’s almost like adding a room to your home!

The first step, so to speak, is to add an outdoor rug. In recent years, the outdoor rug industry has exploded, with colors, patterns, styles and shapes to suit any style, any space and any budget. Gone are the days when “outdoor rug” meant that green, plastic-y, astroturf stuff. Today, outdoor rugs look surprisingly like indoor rugs, with designs that are contemporary or traditional, oriental-style or Victorian, and best of all, the color palettes cover the complete spectrum.

Just as you do indoors, use an outdoor rug to delineate a space and create the illusion of a room. To choose the right size, measure your space and then subtract about six inches on all side. Leaving some space between the rug and the wall or deck railing will give a nice border effect and also will make it easier to sweep around and under the rug.

For colors or patterns, the sky’s the limit. Decide on the effect you want – homestyle farmhouse, Victorian gazebo, contemporary spa – and choose a pattern and color. Amazingly, the technology in creating outdoor rugs allows for rich colors and detailed patterns. And they keep their color and good looks for surprisingly long, even exposed to the elements. When your outdoor rug looks a little dusty, simply sweep or hose it off and let it air dry. Couldn’t be simpler.

Once your rug is placed on your patio or porch, add furniture, a few potted plants, a couple of outdoor lamps. Before you know it, you’ll have a space you can really enjoy for three seasons!