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The Warm Weather May Be Fleeting But We Still Want To Stay Outside – 6 Elements For Creating A Cozy Outdoor Winter Lounge

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Earlier this week we had a meeting with a wonderful blogger (more on her coming soon) who lives in Minneapolis where 6 inches of snow had just fallen. WHAT?! In New York, temperatures are now in the below 60 range and in LA, it was actually overcast for the majority of yesterday, flirting with us hard and giving us hope sweaters could be worn outside comfortably and instead of just in our air-conditioned homes. This change in weather (more in some areas, obviously) is bittersweet, to say the least. Our outdoor spaces, for those lucky enough to have one, have been ESSENTIAL to our mental well being. Since now Emily is actually living in a place with real “weather”, she posed this very important question for us all to think about: How can we help the readers enjoy their outdoor spaces for as long as possible?? So after some discussion, we came up with six key elements. It’s not rocket science but they are pretty important if you have any hope of staying comfortable outside until the snow really takes over. YIKES.

Let’s warm up, huh?…

Fire Pits

photo by sara ligorria-tramp | from: the ultimate outdoor movie night and campout with intel

First and foremost, this is one of my favorite photos of Emily and Birdie. That mother-daughter bond is so darn special. But I digress. We are here to talk about the other heartwarming thing in this photo… The fire pit.

We talked about fire pits earlier this year when summer hit because whenever you can sit outside, a fire pit is ALWAYS a great purchase. Plus, you know, smores.

HOT SMORES TIP: Velinda and her wife Katie buy Reese’s Thins as a chocolate option and I am telling you it was the game changer I didn’t know I needed in my life… also I really miss our game nights.

Shall we get into the great pits that are still available…

1. Steel Wood-Burning Fire Pit | 2. Concrete Propane Fire Pit | 3. Steel Wood-Burning Fire Pit | 4. Cast Iron Fire Bowl | 5. Ceramic Wood-Burning Fire Pit | 6. Concrete Fire Pit Kit | 7. Long Rectangle Fire Pit | 8. Wood-Burning Fire Bowl | 9. Steel Propane Fire Pit

Well, I like all of these because I picked them out but I really love how #1 has that great lid. Plus it has a little rack inside for grilling. Speaking of lids, #5 steals my heart for many reasons. First I love that bold color (it also comes in black and white), it has TWO lid options (the other making it a usable coffee table) and it just has a great modern yet unique shape. But if you are down to use propane #2 is simple, pretty, looks like it gives off great heat AND you can set your glass on the lip. Win-win.

Let’s keep this heat, hot…

Outdoor Space Heaters

If a large open fire isn’t your thing or it’s not safe for your space, an outdoor space heater is your next best “keep you warm” bet. It’s just important to know if you prefer an electric or a propane-fueled one, and also the size. The bigger the space, the larger the heater (or number of heaters :))

1. Electric Outdoor Patio Heater | 2. Indoor/Outdoor Standing Heater | 3. Metal Bio-Ethanol Outdoor Tabletop Fireplace with Flame Guard | 4. Electric Ceramic Oscillating Space Heater | 5. Outdoor Patio Heater Standing Gas LP Propane Heater | 6. Orbit Tower Heater | 7. Electric Patio Heater with Adjustable LED Light | 8. Freestanding Patio Heater | 9. Electric Patio Heater Outdoor Standing

Now the space heaters of my childhood were exclusive to #5. Or at least those are the only ones I remember. But I was pleasantly surprised that there are more options that are somewhat affordable. Take #1 and #9. They are the modern (and electric) version of #5. I love how sleek they look. Also, #1 gives off a little vintage vibe to me with that top. I also love #3 because it’s so cute and small and perfect for a tiny outdoor patio or balcony. It’s almost a cross between a fire pit and a space heater. Lastly, the top of #7 changes colors if you want it to. Talk about a party;)

Outdoor Lanterns

photo by tessa neustadt | from: a blush and blue patio holiday party

This element is more of a mood-setter rather than giving you functional heat. Despite your body needing a little extra warmth, your eyes still want to be delighted with pretty details. Lanterns are great for that because they look good the entire day. I don’t think we have every styled an outdoor space without at least one if that shows you how passionate we are about lanterns. We really love them, y’all.

1. Metal Outdoor Lantern | 2. Rutherford Bamboo Lanterns | 3. Black Metal Lantern | 4. Bolleke LED Indoor/Outdoor Lantern | 5. Indoor/Outdoor LED Candle Lantern | 6. Clear Glass Cheyenne Lantern | 7. Indoor/Outdoor Flameless Candle Lantern | 8. Metal Outdoor Lantern with Black Hood | 9. Rattan Solar Lantern with Handle

There aren’t too many available outdoor lantern options that I really loved but these all are awesome gets. #1 looks classic but has modern lines, #2 and #9 will add a layer of visual texted (our favorite saying), #4 is a fun new take on a lantern and lastly, #6 might be my favorite. They won’t be great to keep outside 24/7 but they sure are pretty.

Outdoor String Lights

Another all year round classic and EHD outdoor must-have. String lights make everything better. Ultimate ambiance. I don’t know about you but as soon as I flip those babies on I feel like I’m instantly either on vacation or transported to some magical, relaxing place. If you don’t have them we HIGHLY recommend you fix that.

1. Indoor/Outdoor Incandescent String Lights | 2. String Lights with Satin Globes | 3. 100′ Outdoor 100 – Bulb Globe String Light | 4. Edison String Light with Clear Bulbs | 5. Simple String Lights | 6. Edison Bulb String Light

#1 and #5 are a fun gentle twist on the classic cafe string lights. From there it really depends what you prefer. Do you like black with a teardrop blub like #6, or a round bulb like #3, or an opaque glass like #2?? #4 is great if you want to create a very light and minimal outdoor space.

Outdoor Blankets

photo by sara ligorria-tramp | from: 5 outdoor ideas & hacks that’ll instantly add style (& save you money)

Now for the coziest of the elements… blankets. We think that outdoor blankets should be thick, washable, durable and of course, add some design sparkle to your outdoor area. You have to also decide if you would prefer something water-resistant. But the most important thing is to make sure you love how the blanket feels when you are wrapped in it. Let’s get into it.

1. Cabin Fleece Throw | 2. Sherpa Weighted Blanket with Removable Cover | 3. Nanoloft Puffy Blanket | 4. Dual Cable Throw | 5. Soft Cotton Throw | 6. Pendleton Yakima Camp Blanket | 7. Microplush Weighed Blanket with Removable Cover | 8. Reversible Fleece Throw | 9. Cotton Throw | 10. Mountain Classic Camp Blanket | 11. Indoor/Outdoor Buffalo Check Blanket | 12. Knit Throw | 13. Woven Luxury Throw | 14. Waterproof Outdoor Blanket | 15. Over-Tufted Cotton Throw

Since it’s winter (and the holidays are FAST approaching) I love #1, #8, and #14. But #2 and #7 have removable covers which is ideal for easy washing without sacrificing plushness. If you are a water-resistant fan then #3, #10, and #14 are great options that also look cozy to wrap yourself in…basially blanket sleeping bags.

Outdoor Weather Domes

Ok, this is one is pretty crazy and in all of my years at EHD (which is 4 tomorrow), never would I have thought weather domes would be recommended:) Aesthetically they aren’t what we would call beautiful. However, considering the state of the world and wanting to grab at any ability to have a somewhat comfortable “outside room” to hang out in in the winter sounds pretty great. 2020: The year of practical and not always beautiful purchases. Now for the questions… Does anyone have one? Do they work? They seem like a GREAT option but would love to know your thoughts.

1. 10′ X 10′ Weather Pod | 2. Bubble Tent Garden Dome | 3. 15′ X 15′ Weather Pod

With these three it’s really about size/price point. #2 is clearly THE luxury option but the other two look like perfectly awesome options:)

Well as we know winter is coming and I hope that this post gave you a little hope that extending your outdoor time might be possible (I know it also very much depends on the state or country). So enjoy the rest of you fall and for those that live in cold climates let us know if you have any other suggestions! Let’s all help us stay outside for as long as possible:)

Love you, mean it.

Opening Image Credit: Photo by Sara Ligorria-Tramp | From: The Ultimate Outdoor Movie Night and Campout with Intel

Fin Mark

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Margaret

Last Sunday night (40F, raining) I met with two friends from college (yeah, we graduated in 1978. Yeah, we’re getting old.) The only way to meet with any safety in our (again) COVID hot spot was outdoors, so we did. Pizza from my friend’s wood-fired outdoor oven, huddled in our raincoats around a borrowed fire pit.
It was so worth it. If you’ve really been friends once, you’re friends forever.
One addition I would make if you will be outside in the rain is chairs that don’t puddle. My friend’s were mesh, and the rain went right through, so no sitting in a pond after getting up for seconds.
And if you’ve planned far enough ahead to build a bathroom that can be accessed without traipsing through the house that’s good too.

Chloe

Loved this post! Here in the uk it’s pretty chilly – and rainy!!!! I don’t know if your “Covid guidelines” are different out there but technically the weather pods would still be classed as indoor space and not allowed…. would love to see your recommendations for “pretty” gazebos or other type of temporary rain covers/awnings/pergolas – thanks

Abbie

Yeah I came down to the comments to note that the domes look cool but definitely are not COVID-safe for people in different households.

Elizabeth

This. Epidemiologist here, came to say the same thing.

But #2 does look pretty dreamy to enjoy with members of your own husehold!

Jessica

I just bought a 4×8 greenhouse to put on my roof terrace! The only downside is that I can’t invite friends to join me in it because you really might as well be inside the house when it comes to airflow

Lori

The weather dome recommendation makes zero sense to me from a Covid prevention standpoint– the whole point of being outside is for airflow because Covid aerosols & droplets are concentrated in indoor spaces with poor ventilation, making them more contagious. These weather domes are essentially indoor spaces with poor ventilation– they negate the entire point of being outside!

Kelly

who said anything about meeting up with friends inside a dome? some of us in cold climates just want to sit outside or have a place to get away from our family despite the weather. I love the dome!

Rusty

P L A S T I C !

Veronica

Ahhh good point Kelly!
I read the post with the mindset that the outdoor space was “a way to see friends” so I came to the comments to see if anyone else was as confused about the dome as I was!

Erin

Hey, love the post, and I typically love your recommendations, but the outdoor space heater recs aren’t up to your standards. #4 is an indoor heater, and none of the Amazon heaters have more than a few reviews (some of which are terrible!) considering that this appliance could be dangerous, I think it’s probably best to be able to see reviews.

Alice

And don’t forget with items like that to run the amazon links through fakespot to see what the rating score is. I am very careful with anything that could start a fire.

Deborah

Be sure to check with local regulations about fires and fire pits. They are illegal in many municipalities, so make sure whatever you choose is OK for your town!

Jessica

I love the recommendations but unfortunately most of the outdoor heaters are not good for the environment.

Rusty

👍

I wonder what a good alternative could be? We’ll do some research … xx

Lori

I know there’s a company that makes heated outdoor furniture. I don’t remember the brand name, though.

Alexandra Rose

https://galanterandjones.com/

Expensive but pretty awesome.

KS

No to outdoor heaters. Hot water bottle inside a sleeping bag wrapped around me is the best outside combo for feeling warm and toasty! I always feel like an outdoor heater is burning the top of my head or the side of my face rather than keeping my core or my feet really warm – which is what you really need if you are sitting down and relaxing.

Lisa H

We live in a patio home in Colorado. We’re doing everything we can to be able to continue using our three outdoor spaces. We have a covered front porch, and small yard, a dining courtyard, and a covered back deck. We’ve purchased a large propane fire pit, and a small tabletop one for our dining table. As we were setting up the large one, a neighbor walked by, and stopped for a chat. He is a scientist who works for NOAA in Boulder. He had no problem with the idea of outdoor heaters during a pandemic. He was curious about ours because he and his wife had begun to look for one too. His wife is from Europe, and he described how many places there have always had outdoor seating all winter with the help of outdoor heaters. We only see our children, and baby grandchildren indoors. We’ve had a very careful family pod for months. Our ability to host a few friends, and extended family in our outdoor spaces is very important to us. We have arranged seating outdoors, and envision setting a buffet table in our open garage for our annual Friendsgiving pie feast. Hats, gloves, mittens, and… Read more »

Michelle

Love the blanket and lantern suggestions… and love the comment or suggestion on an outdoor pizza oven.

I get that the point of this post was anchored on outdoor lounge spaces, but another great way to enjoy the outdoors into winter is movement (as in, moving your body) – any recommendations on favorite thermal base layers for under regular clothes or winter friendly active wear? Would love your reviews/recommendations for these as well!

Veronica

Oh my gosh I love this idea! My sister in law and I have been talking about going on a walk one evening when our kids are in bed but my hesitation is that it’s already FREEZING here in Canada!
I am NOT an active/outdoorsy person at all so a post like this from EHD might be just the motivation I need 😊

Veronica

Also I guess it’s funny to call “going for a walk” an outdoorsy activity. Well that is where I’m at! 😂

omg i grew up in a winter climate and still ice skate competitively. i am the master of warm, unobtrusive base layers!! I MUST GET THE TEAM IN ON THIS POST!! now that em’s a mountain woman, i’m sure we both have tons of good recommendations!!!

Carol

Please please do this!!! Please!!!!

Ooooohhhh a weather dome!!! Love that!

Rusty

More unnecessary plastic for killing our planet!
There is no Planet B.

Rusty

A) I LOVE THAT BIRDIE + MAMA PHOTO!!!

B) weather domes = plastic crap that ends up in landfill!

C) what could be better than snuggling in a blankie?!? 😊

We’re heading into hot weather here in Australia, but still appreciate the post.

Courtney

We have quite a few of these already–the lights, the fire pit, the blankets–so I feel like we’re pretty prepared. I was kind of entertaining the idea of a outdoor Thanksgiving dessert party …? We’ll see. I am curious about the space heaters–a friend was telling me that they’re all sold out.

Question about the lanterns, though … we have two of the #3 option, but haven’t found good candles to go in them (nothing tall enough). Do you have recommendations? Even battery ones would be fine, but the ones we have now are dinky.

carla

A Thanksgiving dessert outdoor fest is an interesting suggestion. Not sure about the weather or logistics for us, but it’s an idea I’ll think about for us as a possible safe way to gather.

Kathy McKay

Hello! Which of the heaters would be best for a garage (with open garage door?) We are in MN and only want to hang outside by the fire pit on a milder winter day. Thanks!

Sean Darling

Living in Minneapolis, I can confirm it absolutely sucks here right now.

Corinne

This is great. I have been thinking about revamping outdoors space a lot…
…Covering my pergola for rain etc.
A friend suggested electric blankets rather than space heaters- so as not to try to heat the air, but just keep the people warm.

Cooling off here in Boise…great round-up of ideas to stay cozy. Thanks!

Christie
Melissa

Love this post, and it has me thinking about old-school low-tech ways to keep warm outside. How about a hot water bottle tucked under a warm blanket? Winter camping in Montana with my husband years ago, he would boil water and pour it into one of our water bottles at bedtime, and I would put it in the sleeping bag. Still warm in the morning!

KS

I do this when we are river rafting or backpacking. Tuck a Nalgene bottle full of boiling hot water (don’t use an insulated bottle – you won’t feel the heat) inside a blanket or sleeping bag and wrap around you – keeps you warm and toasty for hours!

Outdoor space heaters are a dumb waste of fuel. And stinky.

J

We ended up getting a propane outdoor heater from Home Depot (I think the brand was Hampton bay…there were a lot of reviews on their site) and built a covered pergola with the help of some friends. The materials were around $600 for a 12’x12’ pergola and it took us two days to build. We don’t own a lot of tools so we built it around the length we could buy cedar and tuftex in and rented a saw from our local tool library for the angled cuts 🙂 it felt like an expensive project seeing as I lost my job but honestly being able to be outside in the rainy PNW winters is going to save me from loosing my mind haha.
Next year I would love to make some kind or rain resistant curtain panels(that are cute) for the sides because it would be amazing to stay really dry on windy days.

Kj

Wood smoke is so bad for you. It’s OK to sit in front of a few times a year, but regularly? Uh, just go buy a pack of cigarettes; you’d at least enjoy the nicotine while you are trashing your body. Wood smoke contains several toxic air pollutants including benzene and formaldehyde. Please educate yourself on potential danger before “enjoying” on a regular basis: https://www.epa.gov/burnwise/wood-smoke-and-your-health

Anne

It is nice to have a hot beverage dispenser for cider, mulled wine, coffee etc. I also love wool blankets for around a fire pit because they are fire resistant and don’t snag.

Elisa

One thing missing are solar light suggestions and electric candles! IKEA always has some. Also, here in CA you do not want to burn too much of anything anymore so the hot water bottle idea was a great idea, thanks to whomever that was.

Meredith

The Bobby Hotel in Nashville put the weather domes up last winter and they looked pretty chic: https://www.instagram.com/p/B6QvRDIhisH/?utm_source=ig_web_button_share_sheet.

Abbie

Yes! We got a fire cauldron for the backyard when we moved into our new house in July, and it’s been *amazing* to be able to have a friend or two over and have something to “do” outside (s’mores rock). Some friends liked it so much that they got their own so we can hang out at theirs or ours! The added coziness and warmth is extra nice for a Michigan autumn.
But FYI we had to get a permit from the fire marshall; lots of places probably have this requirement.

Brianna

These don’t really fall in the “decor” category, but Poler makes these awesome Napsacks; basically wearable sleeping bags that are great for campfires — and now hanging with friends in 2020. 🙂 https://poler.com/collections/napsacks

Mkw

As a mom of littles, I shopped for blankets that weren’t too large. My fear was children dragging around blankets that could get too close to the fire pit.

Jen W

I’ve been to several socially distanced small gatherings since the weather turned cool — the ones with fire pits or little heaters are really just for looks. If you’re properly distanced, no one can really get close enough to be warmed by those sources. My husband and I have a screened porch with outlets where we can host small gatherings (4-6 people) with generous social distancing in place. We recently purchased electric blankets in a throw size to use and it’s been amazing. Instead of warming the air, just warm your body. We have power strips that we plug in on each side and the cords are quite generous so that everyone can still stay spaced out.
For the cozy aesthetic, we do have string lights and outdoor blankets on top of the hard outdoor furniture. We even hosted a small “movie night” with another couple this way.

Emma

*cries in Canada*

Sarah

Wait. Where is the fire pit you have in the pic? It’s gorgeous!

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