[dropcap style=”letter” size=”52″ bg_color=”#ffffff” txt_color=”#21d3cd”]T[/dropcap]ime and time again at last month’s Lightovation show in Dallas, I found myself asking manufacturers that question as many of the products shown to me were so decorative and unique that it didn’t seem possible that they were designed to withstand the elements.
Each time, the answer was a resounding, “Yes!” What my surprise demonstrates is just how far we (consumers & the industry) have come. For years, homeowners were content to have jelly jars and the most basic lanterns flanking their front doors — even custom builders didn’t pay much attention. These days, the combination of more technically advanced materials/finishes plus an increased desire from consumers – quite possibly a result of the proliferation of TV home improvement programs – has led to greater variety in the outdoor lighting market.
Years ago if you had a Contemporary-style interior, there was a disconnect when it came to complementing that aesthetic at the front door, garden/path lighting, or backyard. Similarly it was hard to accent landscape features without having a large, noticeable fixture in view. That has all changed for the better, too.
As homeowners nationwide embrace the “outdoor living room” trend, they are actively searching for weather-hardy fixtures that are just as attractive as the ones they have indoors. The same evolution is happening in the furniture industry as what sufficed as patio furniture in the past is not what sophisticated customers want today.
Then again, with the addition of smokers, beer taps, small refrigerators, warming drawers, rotisseries, and multi-surface grills, today’s outdoor patio more closely resembles the nearby kitchen in amenities. The rise of the “staycation” is another reason why homeowners are spending more time – and money – in their outdoor living environments. If you haven’t upgraded your merchandise assortment to meet this growing need, it’s time to start. This specially focused issue should help give you guidance in what’s available on the market today.