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Trend: The Outdoor Living Experience

Creating the perfect balance between outdoor living and indoor comfort poses an interesting challenge for designers and homeowners' the idea of creating an idyllic interior space which offers the feeling and ambience of the outdoors. Simply opening a window to let a fresh breeze in is all very nice but homeowners are now starting to look for a more immersive outdoor living experience.

This style of living is often something people experience on holiday whilst enjoying a drink in an open-air taverna or having breakfast on the terrace of a fancy hotel, so it's no wonder that so many long to recreate it when they come home. Unfortunately, the British climate is not always conducive to outdoor living so we are beginning to see more and more homeowners attempting to create a space that offers all the benefits of the outdoors whilst retaining the comforts of the indoors.

In recent years, a number of innovative products have been released which attempt to bridge this gap. One of the most obvious is bi-fold doors which not only extend the room into the garden but also allow the outside in. It's no surprise that installations like these have become increasingly popular as they allow homeowners to open up entire rooms to the outdoors. After all, what could be better than sitting at your breakfast table sipping a coffee whilst looking out over the garden or entertaining friends around the dining table with a gentle breeze and the smell of fresh cut grass? Bi-fold doors have certainly increased in popularity in the past few years but now the market is looking for more.

Opening up your home to the outdoors brings with it a variety of issues, one of the most pertinent for the UK being the weather. Despite a beautiful Summer in 2013 the UK usually only experiences a limited amount of truly sunny weather. For this reason, homeowners are now craving a space that allows them to make the most of the outdoors throughout Spring, Summer and even Autumn. This is where products like Phantom Screens come in.

Traditionally screens are used to allow fresh air to circulate the home and to keep insects out. However, we are now beginning to see retractable screens being used to extend the amount of time homeowners can enjoy the outdoor living experience. For example, many homeowners are using screens to protect their interiors from light rain on days when it is warm enough to have the doors open but there is a possibility of showers. At the other end of the scale, when the weather is very hot, homeowners are using solar screens to reduce heat build-up in their interiors - a common issue with bi-fold doors. Phantom Screens are practically invisible when in use thanks to their discreet design and ultra-fine mesh which means that, whether sunny or showery, homeowners can enjoy the sights, sounds and smells of the outdoors for longer.

And this is not the only shift in use we are seeing. While some homeowners are using screens to extend their living space into the garden, some are taking things a step further by using screens to make their exterior spaces more comfortable and thereby extend the period during which they can use them. We have recently seen a lot of screens being used with open sided structures like terraces and verandas, which are becoming increasingly popular in the UK. Clever consumers have discovered that using screens fitted with solar mesh will keep the heat in from patio heaters and braziers allowing them to use their outside space even during the colder months with the added bonus that the mesh will keep insects attracted by the light at bay and stop Autumn foliage blowing in. Adding screens to outdoor structures means the homeowner can essentially add an extra room onto their house that can be used not only on hot summer days, but during Spring and Autumn too.

The growing desire for a space that combines the benefits of the outdoors with the comforts of indoors is a great opportunity for the blinds and shutter industry to expand their offering and we hope to see it develop further in coming years.

For more information about our screens, contact your local design and fitting expert.

For more information about becoming a Phantom Screens distributor please visit our training page.