Sunrise yoga with the breeze whispering around you and the chirping of birds helping you wake. Fireside wine curled up under a blanket… during a rainstorm. Candlelit dinners with family and friends as you listen to the soothing sounds of a summer night. Sound fantastic?

Without a doubt, one of the best things about a covered patio space is the functionality. A true extension to your living space, your outdoor “living room” is sheltered from the elements, which means you can enjoy it year round, all day, every day.

There are so many ways to transform the covered patio from a place to put a table and chairs into a luxurious and welcoming entertainment haven. Here are a few tips to creating your dream outdoor room:

Add comfortable seating. With a covered outdoor space, your furniture options expand beyond the standard of weatherproof wrought iron and aluminum. Make your outdoor space feel like a living room with a plush patio sectional that you can sink into at the end of the day. Throw pillows and an outdoor rug add style and warmth.

Make meals the centerpiece. There’s something special about dining outside. Consider a large farm table, or a round patio table with plenty of pull-up seating. Add a few tabletop luminaries to create an enchanting mood and a welcoming place for serving up appetizers, drinks, or a meal.

Light things up. Illuminating your patio with ceiling lighting adds practicality to your outdoor space – now you can breathe in fresh air while you savor that favorite book with a cup of tea each evening. For a twinkling alfresco retreat, string glass bulbs from tree branch to tree branch or across the ceiling of your patio or pergola for a Parisian café vibe. Light the pathway with solar light ground stakes. Or, wrap your tree trunks with lighting.

Go beyond the barbecue. An outdoor kitchen makes any outdoor space feel high end. Start with a built-in gas grill, but the sky is truly the limit. Think an outdoor bar sink, small kitchen island for food prep, or small refrigerator. With an outdoor kitchen, anything grilled might become your go-to meal.

Bring in a water feature. The sight and sounds of water in an outdoor space always set the stage for tranquility. Fountains, small ponds, and plunge pools are lovely, but if a permanent feature isn’t in the budget, consider an electric or solar-powered fountain or stone waterfall.

Add a fireplace or fire pit. An outdoor fireplace adds warmth and beauty to your patio, creating a cozy, relaxing ambiance. Your guests will be drawn to this focal point of your outdoor space. Easy alternatives to a built-in structure include an outdoor fire table or portable fire pit.

If you love living and dining outside, start thinking of your outdoor space as an extension of your home – a space where you can relax, live it up, and make memories with friends, family, and neighbors. While the possibilities are endless, there are lots of ways to fashion an inviting, comfortable outdoor sanctuary. Explore your options for outdoor living with Trilogy Active Lifestyle Communities!