Outdoor renovations rise, homeowners willing to spend more

More than two-thirds (68 percent) of remodelers are planning outdoor home improvement projects this season, a 70 percent increase compared to last summer (40 percent), according to the summer Zillow Digs Home Design Trend Report. Open-air living rooms, featuring wood arbors, fully upholstered seating and muted colors, will be popular with homeowners this season. 
 
This one-of-a-kind trend report depends on a survey of members of the Zillow Digs Board of Designers, a group of design experts from across the country, and the most popular outdoor photos on Zillow Digs, a hub for home improvement and design inspiration. 
  
Summer remodel budgets increased since the beginning of the year, up 100 percent to $1,000 on median. With a larger budget, many homeowners are considering more extensive outdoor remodels such as open-air living rooms to expand useable square footage for year-round use, adding value to their home. 

Top three trends for open-air living rooms:

Wood arbors: Wood arbors will be all the rage this summer with homeowners wanting a clearly defined outdoor space that functions as a second living room. Expect to see "arbors featuring lots of greenery" to create the illusion of an "open-air ceiling," says Melissa Klebanoff of Melissa Klebanoff Interior Design in Seattle. Wood arbors with white curtains and outdoor twinkle lights also will be popular this season. 

Fully upholstered couches: Zillow design experts identified fully upholstered couches as a growing open-air living room trend as homeowners want to invest in "comfortable seating and lounging pieces for a real indoor/outdoor feel," says Mara Miller of Carrier and Company in New York City. In addition to indoor-style seating, other typically interior accessories such as rugs, lamps and wood coffee tables also will gain popularity among remodelers.
 
Muted colors: Homeowners and designers identify soft, muted hues as the most popular colors for open-air living rooms. Outdoor colors this season are about "subtly not saturation," says Marc Thee of Marc-Michaels Interior Design in Winter Park, Florida. Expect to see homeowners "dialing back" those louder accent colors from last summer such as "turquoise to sea glass, watermelon to a greyed shrimp and bright orange to a beautiful sherbet," Thee says. 

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