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Embracing Lanai Living

Temperatures are on the rise, which means it’s time to find the shade, sit back, and enjoy Hawaii from the comfort of your favorite outdoor living spaces. Welcome to Lanai living season.

While many traditional Hawaiian home designs incorporate the Lanai—a partially enclosed porch directly connected to the indoor living space—anyone can embrace the spirit Lanai living with a few simple modifications to your deck, patio, or balcony.

What makes a Lanai different from other outdoor living spaces? Lanai’s are specifically designed to allow residents to enjoy outdoor living spaces regardless of the time of year. This means they include a roof with an extended overhang to deflect rain, are often fully or partially screened, and may incorporate shade panels that can opened, closed, or otherwise moved depending on the time of day.

To facilitate indoor/outdoor living as much as possible, a traditional Lanai is often attached to a communal indoor living space, such as the kitchen, dining room, or living room. Sliding doors or bifold panels allow residents to close off access to the Lanai when needed, but for the most part, the Lanai space is fully incorporated as part of the home.

In addition to providing more useable square footage, the Lanai is a reflection of key Hawaiian social values, including spending time with family, (especially in multigenerational households) and appreciating the beauty of the outdoors.

Looking to embrace Lanai living in your own home? Whether you’re improving an existing Lanai, modifying a deck or patio, or simply trying to make a balcony more inviting, here’s how to make the most of this uniquely Hawaiian tradition.

For homes with an existing Lanai:

*Make sure access between indoor and outdoor spaces is as seamless as possible by installing high-quality glass sliding doors or easily collapsible folding doors.

*Provide full accessibility to all family members. If possible, avoid a step-down or step-up entrance and make the Lanai level with the floor of the home. In some cases, this is a larger project requiring you to build-up the original flooring. If that is not immediately feasible, consider installing a temporary ramp and handrail so everyone can freely enjoy the space.

*Provide plenty of seating and storage options, and arrange your furniture as an extension of the indoor seating and dining area so that family and friends are encouraged to move between both spaces.

For homes with a deck, patio, or other outdoor space.

*Create overhead covering that can provide both shade and rain cover. Depending on your budget, this can include creating an extension to your roofline, building a pergola or other covered structure, or installing a retractable awning.

*For partially covered porches, invest in high-quality screening that can protect against both insects and dust.

*Maintain consistent temperatures between the interior and outdoor spaces by installing ceiling fans or electric air curtains.

Creating a dedicated space to enjoy family and nature is the perfect way to celebrate an integral part of Hawaiian architecture. Need help building or replacing a Lanai? Contact us today for a free estimate and help finding the right professional for your project. And remember to stay cool, safe, and happy this summer!