As summer turns to fall and we prepare for long nights spent inside, the designers at Watson’s Furniture showroom want to help you stay outside for as long as possible. And the best possible way to extend your outdoor time into fall is to add heat.

“Fire pits are still huge,” says designer M.C. Cox.

Her fellow designer, Gwen Jones, agrees, adding that “fireplaces will generate a lot more heat, especially if they’re wood burning. Gas will generate some heat, but those are mostly for ambiance.”

Ambiance seems to be the focus for many in designing outdoor spaces, with comfort and ease reigning supreme.

“Outdoor dining is changing and evolving,” says Cox.

While those with small children will still appreciate the corralling effect of a traditional dining set, families with older children and empty nesters are gravitating toward more relaxed outdoor spaces, with deep, plush seating and lower tables. “As families get older, conversation becomes more important,” explains Jones. “So, you’re going to do more deep seating than you would traditional dining.”

Conversational seating as opposed to dining sets is part of the larger trend toward the outdoor great room. “People are designing patios as if they were designing interiors,” says Cox. Many homeowners are opting to carry the color and feel of their interiors out to the patio, echoing the flow of entertaining from indoors to out.

The designers at Watson’s are eager to help you find your patio’s ambiance. Visit the Florence showroom at 7100 Houston Road.

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