As the warming weather draws people outside, patios, decks, porches, and yards take on the function -- and fun! -- of indoor living spaces. Here are some ideas for stashing everything you need to live it up in the great outdoors.
This gorgeous bank of built-in cabinetry (complete with a sink and scads of storage) resembles an old-fashioned butler's pantry, but it was crafted specially for a sheltered patio rather than an indoor kitchen. Barn-style hinges and hardware, plus a slate countertop -- impervious to moisture and abuse -- nod toward the pantry's rustic function, and a pair of doors can enclose the area to protect it from inclement weather.
Nubby baskets with handles serve the same purpose outside as they do in: carrying items from one spot to another and corralling bulky pieces so they stay tidy. This big basket collects cushions and throws for cozying up on a couch or chair. Because they are susceptible to rain, keep baskets in a sheltered spot, such as a covered porch or patio.
A tall kitchen hutch needs only a tweak or two to be suitable for the outdoors: a coat of exterior paint (the zanier the color combination, the better!) and a chicken-wire inset (rather than glass) in one cabinet door. Hooks on the doors and inside the cabinet extend the hutch's usefulness to hang gloves and hand tools, while a large base shelf stows a big metal bin of potting soil and tall rain boots.
Just about every surface of this hutch is put to use. On the side, two metal coat hooks tame an unruly garden hose.
This dinette set does double duty: The chairs scoot right into the table when not in use, so it looks and functions like a buffet.
As well-appointed as an indoor kitchen island, this outdoor version features everything an active family needs for alfresco dining: plastic cups, plates, and silverware; napkins and towels; and bins for trash and recycling.
An antique buffet might be too shabby for the breakfast nook, but its chipped paint and warped boards feel right at home on a patio. Plates and dishes of food cluster on its tabletop, while the lower shelf holds baskets filled with other essentials.
The garage often collects overflow from both the house and yard, so it's essential that this transitional space be tidy and organized. Modular storage units -- with a mix of closed-door cabinets, open shelves, and sliding drawers -- gather indoor and outdoor necessities in one compact space. Slat-wall paneling, often used in retail stores to display merchandise up high, puts an otherwise blank stretch of wall to good use holding hand tools and extension cords.
A kitchen cart goes outside with ease thanks to rolling casters. An insulated cooler fits perfectly inside, keeping icy-cold drinks within reach, while open slots at the base stash bottles and plates. The cart is sized to snug under the outdoor kitchen's countertop, where a spritely curtain conceals it from view.
A potting bench crafted of reclaimed, weathered wood offers a work surface for gardening tasks, such as repotting plants or starting seeds.