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Indoor Outdoor Living: Expert Design Tips, Benefits, & 12 Fantastic Ideas

By Jayme Muller

March 6, 2023

Thinking about adding more functionality to your home?

There’s an endless amount of options to consider. You could get a full-on home addition… Or opt to add an outdoor living space to your backyard.

But what if neither one matches what you want?

In this case… You might be interested in an indoor outdoor living space.

It’s a functional living area that bridges the gap between your indoor and outdoor space.

This might sound good so far… But there’s a lot to consider first!

To start, let’s get some clarity on the definition of indoor outdoor living.

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ward schraeders custom rta outdoor kitchen under awning roof structure

What is Indoor Outdoor Living?

linear outdoor kitchen against house under roof next to a pool

When it comes to the term indoor outdoor living… There’s a lot of confusion surrounding the idea.

Is it an indoor space? Is it an outdoor space? Or somewhere between?

Ultimately, the simplest way we can put it is…

An indoor outdoor living space is a connection between spaces. More specifically, a direct connection between the indoors and the outdoors.

Oftentimes, this indoor/outdoor living space is separated by a set of french doors or sliding doors.

In essence… These doors are the connection point between your indoor and outdoor living area.

There’s also the concept of a California room… Which is an extended roof line connecting your indoor and outdoor living area.

Point is… Indoor outdoor living provides the best of both worlds. And don’t worry, we will showcase plenty of examples!

For now, let’s review some benefits of an indoor outdoor living space.

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Benefits of an Indoor Outdoor Living Space

Creating an indoor outdoor living space is a significant investment… So it’s important to know your “why” before you get started!

Let’s discuss some popular benefits of an indoor outdoor living area.

Expands Your Living Area

Small linear outdoor kitchen in Florida room next to a pool

It may seem obvious… But a huge advantage is extending your living area!

An indoor outdoor space simply increases your options.

Instead of being relegated to your indoor living room for relaxation… You can take a few steps and decompress in your indoor/outdoor oasis instead.

And the more options you have… The more you’ll enjoy time spent at home.

Speaking of options for indoor outdoor living

Year-Round Outdoor Entertainment

a couple standing by their linear outdoor kitchen cooking food on grill

An indoor outdoor living space provides you with year-round outdoor entertainment!

We say this because the majority of indoor outdoor living spaces are covered.

Which means rain or shine… You can enjoy the fresh air and amenities of your space!

Whether it’s grilling during a rain shower… Or cozying up to a fireplace on a brisk, fall evening… Outdoor entertainment is available every day of the year.

This also makes hosting easier! You don’t need to roll the dice hoping for perfect weather.

That means no rain dates and hassles with rescheduling your gathering. The party lives on!

Even if you don’t plan to host often… An indoor outdoor living is a boon to your home value!

Increased Home Value

linear island under roof next to pool

As with any home addition… An indoor outdoor living space will contribute to an increased home value.

Of course, prospective homeowners want the most functional space possible!

So by adding an indoor outdoor space to your property… You’ll command a higher price when it comes time to sell.

Especially when you consider that outdoor living spaces are more popular than ever! (It’s a trend that won’t stop anytime soon, either.)

Capitalizing on this trend will ensure you get a great return on investment when it comes time to sell your real estate.

Sounds great, right?

Let’s look at some design tips for your indoor outdoor living space.

Quick Indoor Outdoor Living Design Tips

When planning your indoor outdoor space… There’s obviously a lot to keep in mind!

Here, let’s just review the basics.

Maintain Continuity

l shaped outdoor kitchen on patio by pool

Considering that your indoor outdoor living space is the direct connection point between spaces… It’s important that you maintain continuity!

If your indoor and outdoor area have a completely different aesthetic… The space will have a jarring, unappealing look.

So pick a theme, and keep it consistent!

One of the best ways to accomplish this is through flooring. Choose a similar flooring for both the indoor and outdoor portion of your space.

Having matching flooring will naturally carry your gaze from the indoors… To the outdoors.

This also makes it easier to match the remaining elements in your space! The color of your flooring will establish the color palette for the remainder of your outdoor living space.

Simple as that!

Consider Extending from a Kitchen or Living Room

people sitting at an outdoor kitchen table on covered patio next to rta outdoor kitchen

Since this addition will be directly connected to your house… You’ll also have to consider where in your home this extension will begin.

Of course, it could extend from any part of your home! But some areas make more sense than others.

Considering your indoor outdoor living space will be primarily used for relaxation and hosting gatherings… It makes sense that you would expand your kitchen, living room, or dining area.

Not only will this create a seamless transition to the outdoors… It will also boost the functionality of your existing indoor space!

You can be grilling outside at your summer kitchen… Then bring everything inside to serve in the dining room.

The possibilities are endless!

Use Glass Doors as Your Connection Point

linear outdoor kitchen on patio by beach with glass doors connecting inside space to outside

While there are many ways to connect your indoor and outdoor living spaces… The most common way is with glass doors.

Whether they be sliding doors or bifold doors… It’s the perfect way to connect your space!

There’s one primary reason for this.

Glass doors seal off your indoor space, without inhibiting your view of the outdoors!

So whether the doors are opened or closed… Your gaze is visually pulled to the outdoors.

This also allows the beauty of your outdoor space to be appreciated more!

Alright, now you’ve seen the main design tips to keep in mind.

What are some indoor outdoor living features you should consider?

Common Indoor Outdoor Living Features

If we discussed all of the indoor outdoor living features… We’d be here all day!

So let’s just discuss a few of the most popular.

Seating Area


When you’re enjoying time outdoors… You typically don’t want to be standing the entire time!

It’s nice to give your feet a well-deserved rest. Hence, why seating areas are one of the most common indoor outdoor living features!

Whether it be outdoor chairs, sofas, or loveseats… All of the above are an excellent way to kick back with loved ones.

Also don’t ignore adding a side table or two! Guests will need a convenient place to set their drinks… And a place to set your book, if you’re enjoying the outdoors solo.

But what if you want to enjoy a full meal in your outdoor living room?

Dining Table

covered linear outdoor kitchen on deck with kitchen table and chairs

If you want to enjoy meals with loved ones outdoors… Then adding a dining table is a no-brainer.

There’s a reason why outdoor seating at a restaurant is always in high demand.

There’s just something about dining alfresco!

Savoring a home cooked meal outdoors is one of the best ways to capitalize on your indoor outdoor living space.

Most of us eat three times a day, after all!

Even if you don’t plan to host many gatherings… Imagine how nice it would be to eat your breakfast outside, instead of being cooped up indoors.

But it’s not the only way to add more to your indoor outdoor space.

Fire Features

fire features

Unless you add significant lighting, your indoor outdoor area is primarily enjoyed only during the daytime.

But what if you want an excuse to be outside in the evening?

There’s no bigger draw than a fire pit or fireplace.

Some of the best summer nights are spent mingling around a glowing fire… Jovial chatter echoing throughout the backyard.

Of course, you don’t just have to restrict use of your fire pit to the summertime!

Autumn is one of the best times of the year to cozy up around a fire… Especially a fireplace!

Grab a mug of your favorite hot beverage and a blanket… And appreciate the waning days of fall beside a mesmerizing fire.

Is a fire pit still not tickling your fancy?

Even still, there’s one more feature to consider in your indoor outdoor area.

Outdoor Kitchen

small linear outdoor kitchen on deck by dining table

If you’re truly seeking to elevate your indoor outdoor living space… There’s nothing better than installing an outdoor kitchen!


The functionality and convenience is simply unmatched.

Just think about it for a moment.

While you could host a dinner where you prepare the meal inside… How much easier would it be to do it all right outdoors?

You’re not constantly running back and forth between spaces… And you have a dedicated area for everything you need.

And if you extend your indoor outdoor space off of your existing kitchen, even better! Adding an outdoor kitchen just doubled your hosting and cooking potential.

Additionally, an outdoor kitchen can help you avoid redundancy.

If you’re tight on space… You can combine your dining table and outdoor kitchen with a bar island!

Guests can enjoy their meal at the bar… And you can also use it for preparing food or beverages!

Point is, an outdoor kitchen is the best way to make the most of your indoor outdoor space.

But how would it look in real life?

Bring the party Outside

Customize your outdoor kitchen to create the perfect outdoor hangout spot by using our free 3D design tool.

Indoor Outdoor Living Ideas

We’ve covered a lot of ground so far… But it doesn’t do much good if you can’t visualize the concepts!

Allow us to present you with a few examples.

Indoor/Outdoor Living Room Design Idea

an rta summer kitchen under a covered patio with a fireplace

You know what’s great about this design idea?

It’s got a little bit of everything.

Off to the left, there’s a seating area for guests to relax… And a fire pit right next to it!

Of course, there’s the outdoor kitchen and dining table as well!

The large, 42” built-in grill is well-equipped for large parties… And it’s complete with an outdoor refrigerator for refreshing beverages.

You’ll notice that the interior of their home is connected to the outdoors via a set of glass doors. In this example, they are shaded for privacy… But can easily be raised if you want a clear view of the outdoors.

Recessed lighting keeps the area illuminated at all hours… And the ceiling fans keep the area well-ventilated when cooking at the grill.

Backyard Indoor Outdoor Living by Pool

outdoor kitchen and living space by pool on patio

If you want to see how an indoor space could be incorporated into a sunroom or Florida roomHere’s a prime example!

Even though the area is covered… There’s still a distinct transition between this homeowner’s indoor and outdoor space.

In fact, you get a true insider view of this connection! It appears that sliding screen doors connect the homeowner’s living room to their outdoor space.

Also notice how they kept continuity with their interior design. The floor materials aren’t the same between the indoor and outdoor space… But the color palette is almost identical!

Of course, this leads to a natural transition toward the outdoor space.

Aside from the pool… There’s a lovely outdoor kitchen and dining area here!

It’s a beautiful thing.

Small Indoor Outdoor Living Room for Urban Living

If you live in the city… You might think your hopes of an indoor outdoor space are dashed.

Not so at all!

While you may not be able to jazz it up to the extent you’d like… If you have a balcony, there’s plenty that can still be done.

Like what these city-dwellers did!

In fact, they were able to incorporate a full outdoor kitchen on their balcony.

It’s got both an Ooni pizza oven and a gas grill for appliances… So your cooking options are far from limited!

Additionally, you’ll find a sofa overlooking the city skyline. In our minds… This is one of the best ways to enjoy urban living!

Outdoor Indoor Living Spaces with Smoker

linear grill island with smoker

Too hot to cook inside?

Just take a step out to this beautiful indoor outdoor living space!

Connected by a set of sliding doors… Your favorite barbecue flavors are only a few steps away.

The outdoor kitchen smoker could be slow-cooking some ribs to perfection… While you’re searing some steaks on the gas grill.

And when you’re ready to enjoy your meal… Grab a drink from the refrigerator and click on the TV!

This indoor outdoor space could easily become part of your weeknight routine.

Indoor Outdoor Living Space Ideas

This is a great example of how your indoor outdoor space can extend broadly to the backyard.

While we can’t see the interior of this home… It’s clear that this home design is cohesive all-around!

With a varied gray color scheme… There’s pops of color from the patio furniture to keep things interesting. (Greenery from the lawn helps, too!)

The stone outdoor kitchen perfectly complements the patio… And there’s even a matching firepit as well!

Even though the entire area isn’t covered, the space feels put together. Due to the clever use of color… It just works!

California Indoor Outdoor Living

l shaped outdoor grill island on deck with dining table

This open-air California room has a beautiful, Southwestern vibe.

With shades of desert sand and harvest gold… This indoor outdoor room perfectly matches the setting.

The L-shaped outdoor kitchen is well-equipped for gatherings of any size! You’ll find a gas grill, drawer storage, a double side burner, an outdoor sink, and a drop-in cooler.

And just a few feet away… You have the outdoor dining area for serving and enjoying!

The shade this cover provides is the perfect refuge for when the sun gets a little too brilliant. Just sit back and enjoy the view!

Rustic Outdoor Indoor Living Room

linear outdoor kitchen under a covered patio

Now let’s see an indoor outdoor space in a completely different style!

That’s right, we’re going more rustic here.

Once you glide through the sliding doors… Your eyes are greeted with some lovely outdoor furniture, and a stunning brick fireplace!

This expansive fireplace also has a sizable TV overhead. Movie night, anyone?

But of course… We can’t forget the outdoor kitchen, either!

There’s a double side burner, double drawers, 42” Coyote gas grill, double access doors, pull out trash, refrigerator, and sink… All in one island!

These homeowners will never have to run in and out of the house for supplies. It’s all right outside!

Indoor Outdoor Living Design Ideas

outdoor grill island on patio next to house with table and seating

This indoor outdoor living space has more of a modern feel… Especially with the glass walls!

The open concept allows you to see your outdoor space… And directly connect the design to the inside of your home.

This is also a great example for a smaller grill island area. There’s not a ton of space to work with… Yet the area still feels spacious!

Between the modern outdoor kitchen, large dining table, and outdoor television… This space has everything you need for a memorable gathering with friends!

Homes with Indoor Outdoor Living on Deck

Want to incorporate an indoor outdoor living space with a deck?

Here’s how it’s done!

The deck is nearly a perfect mirror to this home’s siding… Which creates a gorgeous design flow in this space.

And every other component is designed to match, too!

This deck outdoor kitchen is nearly the same shade… And same goes for the fire pit, dining area, and outdoor furniture.

And aside from the primary covered area… There’s also a matching umbrella to ensure everyone is cool in the shade.

We love to see it!

Indoor Outdoor Living Idea with Brick Outdoor Kitchen

outdoor kitchen on patio with dining room table

If you don’t have a sprawling backyard… There’s still plenty of opportunity to have a fully functional indoor outdoor living space!

Take this idea, for example.

Their indoor outdoor living area isn’t particularly large… But there’s still ample space for a full-fledged outdoor grill station and dining table.

Plus, everything is under cover! So no matter the weather… You can enjoy a delicious meal outdoors.

Indoor Outdoor Living Space by the Ocean

linear pellet grill island on deck with pizza oven and dining table by ocean

Children’s playset aside… This is a beautiful design for a modern home!

The glass sliding doors are matched by a glass retaining wall. That way, your view of the ocean remains unimpeded!

If you’re a fan of fishing… You can easily cook the day’s catch right outside.

This homeowner didn’t opt for a typical outdoor kitchen, either! They chose a pellet smoker and outdoor pizza oven for their cooking appliances.

These will give a deep, smoky flavor to anything you’re cooking!

Whether it’s smoked fish or a seafood pizza… Dig into your meal with the ocean view as your companion.

We can’t think of a better way to enjoy your indoor outdoor space!

Indoor Outdoor Living Room Designs on the Beach

indoor outdoor living area with outdoor kitchen on beach

If you’ve got beachfront property… It’s only natural that you want to spend as much time outside as possible.

And having an indoor outdoor space makes it even easier to dig your toes into the sand.

Take this idea, for example!

The awning provides a good amount of shade once you step outside… But it doesn’t cover the entire space.

To the left, you’ll find the outdoor kitchen cabinets getting good use!

In the center, you’ll see the main relaxing area. There’s a fire pit surrounded by comfortable outdoor furniture.

And finally… There’s a modest bistro bar table to the right side for enjoying meals.

Starting to get a feel for what your indoor outdoor space could look like?

If so… We’ve got a recommendation for you as you plan!

The Perfect Companion to Your Indoor Outdoor Space

outdoor kitchen grill island with side burner on patio

Before you fully settle in on your indoor outdoor design… You need an idea of what features you want to include!

And if that plan includes an outdoor kitchen… Allow us to share our recommendation!

Here’s the thing.

Building an indoor outdoor living space is a huge undertaking. An outside kitchen can be as well!

But what if your outdoor kitchen project could be sped up significantly?

Depending on the build method you choose… Most custom outdoor kitchens can take weeks or months to finish.

Which means, your backyard is disturbed that whole time! On top of the disturbance from adding your indoor outdoor space.

The solution?

Enter the ready to assemble outdoor kitchen.

These custom islands are assembled in a single day… With zero disruption to your backyard.

The traditionally cumbersome process of installing an island is completely eliminated with RTA.

Getting your design couldn’t be easier, either!

We have a free online design tool that takes mere minutes to use. After a few clicks… You’ll have a complete 3D rendering of your custom island design.

From there, a Design Expert will be assigned to your project. They’ll work one on one with you to ensure your BBQ island is absolutely perfect!

Your approved blueprints head off to our manufacturing facility in Cambridge City, Indiana… And your completed panels, countertops, and premium Coyote appliances will be shipped to your door.

Within a few hours, your new BBQ island will be ready to grill!

Point is, we’re all about simplifying your life.

And the faster you get your outdoor kitchen… The faster you can host the moments that matter.

Ready to start planning the BBQ island for your indoor outdoor space?

We can’t wait to hear from you!

Need Help With Your Plans?

Talk to one of our expert designers and they will guide you from planning to installation. Schedule a call today.


Indoor outdoor living is a type of space that forms a direct connection between the inside and outside of your home. Essentially, it bridges the gap between your indoor and outdoor space.

There are many benefits to indoor outdoor living! However, there are a few that stand out more than the others. For one, an indoor outdoor living area expands your living space! This allows you to utilize your property better and make the most of your space. They also tend to increase the value of your home, which is always great to see when you sell! But most importantly… And indoor outdoor space is a source of year-round outdoor entertainment.

The difference between indoor outdoor living and outdoor living primarily has to do with location. Outdoor living describes a living space that exists outdoors. Whereas indoor outdoor living is more of a connection point between your indoor and outdoor space. So while indoor outdoor living could be considered an outdoor living space… It must be connected to the home directly.

Indoor outdoor design allows your outdoor living space to blend seamlessly with your home. California rooms are an excellent example of what this looks like in practice.

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