The moment that you walk into your newly finished screen room, you know for certain that it’s going to be the focal point of your entertaining over the summer months and beyond. The big screens act both as windows to let the light and protection against bugs and the harshest sun rays, and the new screen technology means that you barely even see them. The overall effect is to give you a big blank canvas to paint on, where you can either make it a continuation of whichever room your screen room joins onto, or a separate oasis outside but still part of your home.
However, if you’re going to be spending large amounts of time with friends and family in your screen room, you need to think carefully about how the furniture will work to service your entertaining requirements. While it seems empty right now, it’s easy to quickly fill it up with big pieces of furniture, so it’s essential to have a plan to make sure you get just the right set up for your needs.
The biggest question is what sort of entertaining you envisage for your new screen room. The screen room furniture set up will look very different if you’re planning small dinner parties for a few friends than if you’re hosting your weekly book group. In the former situation, you want a few large but comfortable pieces, situated to bring people closer together. For the larger gathering, you’ll want to find ways to have as many different seating options as possible, as well as flat surfaces for snacks and drinks.
Fortunately, the creation of a brand new space outside of your existing home gives you plenty of opportunities to be creative with your screen room furniture ideas. Here are some common, and not so common, ways to organize your new entertaining space:
- Sofa and two chairs – this is the classic three piece suite idea that has pervaded the screen room scene because it works. A simple two or three seater sofa with a single chair at either end creates an intimate atmosphere with plenty of eye contact and a space for a focal point such as a coffee table or decorative fire pit. A set of end tables placed at either end of the sofa, coupled with soft coloured lamps, will complete the set up perfectly.
- Cozy corner with two sofas – by putting two sectional sofas at right angles to each other, you create a similarly cozy atmosphere as with the sofa and chairs above, but the connected space brings everyone a little closer. This screen room set up is recommended for close family and friends.
- Create separate areas – if you’ve got a long and narrow screen room, such as one built over an outdoor patio or deck, you may want to create separate eating and entertaining areas with your screen room furniture. A simple table and chairs setup can be placed near the door into the screen room, and some combination of chairs and sofas can be put at the far end for after dinner drinks and conversations. This set up also allows you to re-arrange the areas for different purposes with the right set of flexible screen furniture.
- Swap chairs for ottomans – if your screen room is tight on space, you may want to think about switching out a chair or two for an ottoman. They take up less space and make for an excellent perch. Most ottomans now come with in-built storage underneath, meaning you can keep the screen room clutter to a minimum.
- A pair of chairs – finally, one of the classic screen room furniture ideas is a simple pair of chairs with a small table in between. This is great if you have a shallow room which will push you and your companion right up to the screen looking out over the garden. It’s a great set up for intimate conversations, and could be used in a corner of a longer room as a quiet getaway for two. For larger family, two pairs of chairs gives you the option to sit in twos or push the two centre chairs together to bring the family together in the screen room.
The key to all of these ideas is to keep your room as flexible as possible. Unlike your regular living room, your screen room furniture should be able to move around to accommodate different sizes of parties, as well as allowing you to sit quietly in different locations to enjoy the view. Here are some simple ideas to help you create this furniture flexibility:
- Felt pads – mount all your screen room furniture legs on felt pads that will allow you to slide even the largest couches across the room by yourself without scratching the new hardwood floor. You can buy packs of pads that have an adhesive side so it’s simply a question of sticking them onto the legs and then cutting to the right size.
- Multi-purpose furniture – if you’re short on space, try finding new concept furniture that folds or extends to meet your needs. For example, an ottoman then raises up to create a two tiered coffee table still takes the same amount of space. Likewise, a futon can double as a sofa and a day bed for lounging.
- Fold away furniture – finally, investing in furniture that folds away for storage when you’re not using it is a great way to add some additional functionality to your screen room. For example, a set of fold away chairs that stack under a table allows you to bust out some extra seating for your book club, and a murphy bed can be disguised as a bookcase or cabinet.
With any of these screen room furniture ideas, the trick is keep everything matching. This concept runs from the material used for the sofa or chairs (wicker is a traditional and timeless look) to the upholstery designs across the seating. Be sure to keep some of the fabric you use to cover the chairs and sofas to turn into coasters or tablecloths to keep the room looking well put together when you next entertain in your screen room this summer.