Opening a house to the outside is not a new concept in warmer countries but there is now a push to create a ‘room outdoors’ in the UK and colder climates and in so doing, reduce perceptible boundaries between indoor and outdoor spaces…this design concept is commonly known as ‘bringing the outside inside’.


The concept is for the outside to ‘feel’ part of the inside and if done well it should be seamless: from your couch or dining table, you should be able to see plants, lawn, trees, flowers etc.  


This concept is not just about creating the traditional conservatory but rather considering opening up any room in the house. Creating a sense of space and light – a room with an outdoorsy feeling whilst you are actually indoors, if done well, will add considerable value to the home. Renovation or extension? Consider bringing the outside in for either project.

Here are some tips to consider before embarking on this type of project.

Tip 1. Carefully consider the ‘where’.

bringing the outside inside architecture

Orientation and passage of the sun will affect the quality and amount of light coming into the house. Consider your needs and whether the position of the new glass walls/doors/windows are meeting those needs. Position is very important in maximising the light and creating the illusion of being outdoors.

Tip 2. Research options thoroughly for design and price.

bringing the outdoors inside decor

Adding large windows, glazed walls and doors enables you to enjoy the view of the outside. There are a variety of glazed doors on the market. Research thoroughly to find the door that creates the right look for your property. French doors, sliding doors, bi-folding doors – each have their own pros and cons. Bi-fold doors leave the space completely open, whereas sliding doors will always leave part of the space obscured.

Speak with numerous glazing specialists – take your house plans and photos of the walls of the house from inside and outside. This will save you a lot of time if you have the information with you. It will also ensure the first preliminary quotes are more accurate.

Tip 3. With sliding doors – create a seamless look.

how to bring the great outdoors inside

If you opt for ‘sliding’ doors it is important to create a seamless look in order to bring the outside inside. To achieve this, ensure you have a ‘levelled threshold’ right from the start. This will require some planning and maybe some earth moving to bring the inside and outside level, so there is no step down to the outside…it is seamless! Ensure you purchase a system that is weathertight! Ask the supplier if the product has a weather threshold? This means there is a seal (a small lip) at ground level to ensure the door is wind and water tight.

Tip 4. Drainage.

bringing the outside inside your home

Budget for a good quality slot drain along the entire door frame to ensure there is no water build up at the doors. Regardless of whether you have a large terrace / patio or just a metre or two of pathway before the lawn or garden, ensure the slot drain is installed correctly. Don’t forget the colour – it does not have to be the boring steel colour anymore! Check with the installer if they will install the drains or do you need another contractor. The order of the project is very important …. The outside levels – flooring must be sorted before the doors / windows are installed.

Tip 5. Flooring.

bringing the outside inside architecture

Choosing the same floor finish for both the inside and outside is another way to create the illusion of bringing the outside inside. This decision tricks the eye and gives a great feeling of space especially if you have a nice garden beyond. The key is to choose the same flooring material that works both inside and outside – of course this limits your choices but you would be surprised how many materials meet both requirements in today’s competitive flooring market.   

Bonus Tip. Consider other rooms.

Most people only consider this design aspect for the back of the house – leading to the garden; but glazed doors and windows can be very effective in living areas, home offices and bedrooms. Having a glazed wall or doors in any room creates light and enhances the space. However, in many of these rooms it is just as important to keep light out as it is to let light in. Curtains/blinds/shutters control the light and must be carefully considered in the budget before knocking down walls and replacing with glazed alternatives.

If you find my BLOG tips useful …you will love my renovation BOOKS….’easy to read’ and ‘successful strategies’ to implement with your renovation or home upgrade.  

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