When it comes to versatility, outdoor rooms are the ultimate in flexibility

By: Colin Kennedy

With winter coming and media reports claiming that the New Zealand property market is cooling, many homeowners may be turning their minds to how they can add value to their existing property, or just make it more liveable and comfortable.

But is a full-blown renovation the smartest use for your money right now?

The risk is that renovations can be expensive and may end up adding more cost than return to your property. It might seem logical that adding an extra bedroom or insulation to a house could increase value, while a swimming pool may be an expensive luxury – but there’s no knowing until you go to market.

The question on many a Kiwi homeowner’s mind may be ‘how do we add value, or comfort, without breaking the bank?’

The answer could be an outdoor room. With the ability to achieve a multitude of lifestyle goals, at considerably less cost than building a new bedroom or swimming pool, an outdoor room could be the smart money choice.

Made from materials like Clear PVC, Mesh PVC or total block PVC, the walls are essentially like curtains that can be rolled up in summer, or down in winter, and will screen out all or most elements – depending on your choice of materials – so you can, for example, enjoy ‘being outside’ while remaining warm, snug and dry.

Managing director of Fresco Shades – an outdoor canopies manufacturer – Megan Cummins says that the company is seeing lots of different and creative uses for the outdoor rooms that they install.

"For example, most people may not know that cooking adds about three litres of water to the moisture content of a home. In winter, this can be a problem; hence it is one of the main reasons behind why many people are choosing to use their outdoor room as an ‘outdoor kitchen’ – regardless of the weather, it’s a social use of alternative space that’s both fun and healthier for your home."

"I have also seen customers use their outdoor rooms to exercise outdoors without getting wet - although you’re advised not to put electronic equipment or electrical fittings in your outdoor space. A gym or wind trainer - for cyclists - is fine," says Megan.

Other uses for an outdoor room include:

Outdoor relaxation: Perhaps you want a refuge you can escape to at the end of the day. An infra-red heater or outdoor fire makes for cosy seclusion close to nature while staying warm and dry.

Outdoor Entertaining: An outdoor BBQ, or pizza oven, and a lot of extra room is great for entertaining – particularly when all the family turn up over Christmas.

Outdoor spa: Warm, cosy, sheltered, but just crisp enough to make a relaxing spa the perfect purpose for your outdoor space.

Outdoor games room: Turn outdoor spaces into entertainment areas complete with it a bar.

Outdoor Play Space: An ideal refuge for the children or grandchildren, especially on rainy days.

Limited only by your imagination, and costing a lot less than turning your home into a construction site, an outdoor room may be a smart choice for your money.

Things you need to know

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