Tom Kalinski, RE/MAX of Boulder

Tom Kalinski, RE/MAX of Boulder

Coloradoans love their outdoor living. It’s a trait that much of the nation shares with outdoor living and entertaining ranked among the top 10 design drivers in a recent survey of residential architects, designers and builders nationwide by the New Home Trends Institute (NHTI) in collaboration with Pro Builder magazine. 

Based on survey results, connection to the outdoors and outdoor entertaining is predicted to be the most significant driver of design choices over the next three years, second to value and cost considerations. Today, 73% of home buyers want covered or open-air outdoor rooms, 68% like patios, and 55% want a deck. Multi-functional outdoor spaces with added built-in features are highly desirable, with 73% expressing a desire for firepits or fireplaces, 68% wanting outdoor kitchens, and 44% seeking gazebos or pergolas. 

Exterior features such as siding and garage door replacements make up all but one of the top five remodeling projects that return the most in monetary value, ranging from just over 107% to nearly 93% of the money spent to do the job, according to the 2023 Remodeling Cost vs. Value Report (CVV). Deck additions didn’t return as much in value, with a wood deck addition returning 50% and a composite deck addition valued at almost 40%. 

If your home already has a porch, patio or deck, you can quickly transform it into an outdoor living space. These areas can add value if you plan to sell your home or enhance your own everyday living experience with increased comfort and style for your home.  

Here are some tips and ideas for how to create your outdoor room from This Old House and

Bench swings add instant charm and invite people to linger, relax and lazily swing. If your porch or deck is covered, adding cushions gives the extra appeal of popular indoor styling.

Bring additional indoor furnishings to your porch, deck or patio by adding a throw rug or rocking chair. Wicker furniture provides instant character. Resin wicker is an excellent choice since it resembles natural wicker yet resists weathering and can be hosed down when dirty. 

Use battery or solar-operated candles to create a cozy, inviting feeling in the evening instantly. Hang a mirror on the wall to reflect light and create the feeling of a window in your outdoor space and use fill metal troughs with ice and make an inviting beverage bar.

Plants can be incorporated in a variety of ways. Grape vines grow well In Colorado and make a beautiful archway or canopy when supported by a structure. Container plants are an easy and beautiful addition, making your outdoor room extra inviting. 

Flagstone is native to Colorado. Lay a dozen of these red sandstones in a free-form pattern to turn any grassy or mulched outdoor area into a cozy dining room or seating area. 

Add the soothing sound of water by turning your birdbath into a bubbling fountain. Solar-powered water pumps can be placed in the basin where the water collects for recirculation. 

What about an outdoor kitchen? They look inviting and evoke joy, but are they worth the cost? 

Outdoor kitchens can get expensive, so you should consider how much you will use it before adding the space to your home. reports that an outdoor kitchen needs the minimum essentials as an indoor kitchen—a cooking area, a refrigerator and a sink. These are the basics, but an outdoor kitchen should reflect what you want in your outdoor cooking area. Many choose a pizza oven, which can cost from a few hundred dollars to more than $10,000. suggests that if you live in an area where weather permits the use of an outdoor kitchen from Memorial Day to Labor Day and beyond, it might be worth the expense. And outdoor kitchens often appeal to prospective buyers, especially in Boulder County, where residents cherish outdoor experiences and scenic vistas. 

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By Tom Kalinski. Tom is the broker/owner of RE/MAX of Boulder. He has a 40-year background in commercial and residential real estate. For questions, email Tom at [email protected], call 303.441.5620 or visit