Today more than ever, homeowners are seeking ways to maximize the  footprint of their home—both inside the four walls and out. Outdoor environments can serve many purposes and are a perfect way to customize a space that is right for you.

Outdoor kitchens are in demand

Whether you keep it simple with a built-in grill, some counter space and a sink, or go grand with a brick pizza oven and abundant seating at a granite-topped counter, an outdoor kitchen is becoming a must. In fact, according to Realtor.com, home buyers will pay a premium of more than 26 percent for a home with an outdoor kitchen.

Media makes its way outdoors

From built-in flatscreen TVs that can stream video, to video gaming systems, Wi-Fi and surround sound, outdoor entertainment has gone high tech. Whenever you’re incorporating electronics and electricity in an outdoor environment, weather proofing and proper wiring are essential. Keep these critical aspects in mind while planning your outdoor space, and deciding what media you’ll incorporate and where it will be placed.

Bars are big

Outdoor bars may increase your home value by nearly 14 percent, according to Realtor.com. Whether you’re thinking of adding a bar in tandem with your outdoor kitchen space, or want to simply expand your entertaining area, an outdoor bar requires a few basic elements, such as storage for beverages and glassware, a drink chiller, ice storage and seating.

Room for relaxation

While plenty of comfortable, attractive seating tend to be a significant part of outdoor living spaces, modern outdoor spaces are re-defining relaxation and entertainment. In addition to seating and dining areas, homeowners are incorporating recreational elements such as ping pong and billiards tables, putting greens, hot tubs and infinity pools. Fire pits and fireplaces also are popular for adding ambiance and deliver the added bonus of extending the outdoor living season well into cooler months. Whether you choose to build a full-wall fireplace that doubles as a brick pizza oven, or stick with a more modest, portable fire pit, adding heat and comfort to your outdoor space also can add value (upwards of 21 percent according to Realtor.com).

—More Content Now/Brandpoint/Danze

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