Verandah Living: How to Make Your Verandah an Integral Part of Your Home

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Verandahs have been an integral part of the Australian living style for generations. Australia's best-known architectural style, the Queenslander, is perhaps the purest expression of this: Queenslander living is centred almost entirely around the outdoor space, with due consideration given to keeping the indoor parts of the house as cool as possible. Not everyone has the luxury of verandah living in our busy 21st century world, but if you're lucky enough to have one of your own, it only takes a little thinking to make it a more integral part of the way you and your household live.

Create a space that makes it convenient to eat al fresco every day of the week.

Everyone loves eating outdoors, but it's not always as convenient as we might like. With a little forethought, though, you can turn your verandah into the perfect outdoor dining room. Mosquito net panels set into the sides of your verandah will keep the insects away from the food, while strings of solar-powered fairy lights wound through the fretwork create a beautiful atmosphere to dine in on a summer evening. Vases of flowers gathered from the garden make every meal feel like an event, and a lockable cabinet kept safely against the house away from the elements is the perfect place to store dinner table essentials conveniently nearby.

Turn your veranda into the playroom every child dreams of.

Every family with young children loves the idea of giving them a playroom of their own, but not all homes have enough space to dedicate an entire room to the cause. Make use of your outdoor living area by using lockable plastic boxes as weatherproof toy storage, and invest in a few hard-wearing outdoor rugs to give the children something to play on. Many verandah decks can be painted: try a hopscotch board or the letters of the alphabet. Chalkboard paint on a section of the house wall makes a creative space for children to let their imaginations run wild. All you need then is to add a comfortable garden chair to sit in and read or work while the children play!

Make yourself a relaxation nook you'll never want to leave.

Of course, you might want to use your verandah as a space to spoil yourself in--and they're the perfect spot for it. Outdoor three piece suites and garden-suitable coffee tables add massive comfort to any deck, and a wide variety of light sources make all the difference when you're creating a place to pass your recreation time. Look for fairy lights, candle holders and gas lanterns to supplement any lights you may have wired in. Potted plants are a great way to make a space like this feel a little more magical, and a climber like wisteria trained along the fretwork of your verandah will bring joy to everyone who sees it.