Are you anxiously counting down the days until spring so you can use your outdoor living space again? To help pass the time, here are the outdoor heating trends we’re keeping an eye on. Each one enhances the usability of an outdoor living area and can offer the space new design life as well.

4 Ways to Heat and Redesign an Outdoor Living Space

1. Infrared Heat

If you opt for infrared heat, there are several options for ceiling-mounted electric heaters, such as those offered by Infratech. Keep in mind that a structure, such as a wall, pergola or roof, is needed to mount these heaters.

“While stands exist, they’re aesthetically clunky compared to heaters that are mounted on a surface,” says James Moylan, president of Design Builders, Inc. “Recessing an infrared heater into a ceiling is ideal when possible.”

Infrared heaters are not intended to be the focal point of a room, and serve more of a functional purpose as opposed to style. Fortunately, they are getting slimmer and less conspicuous. You can even custom powder coat them to ensure they blend into the existing décor of your outdoor space, or you could use the powder coating to turn the heaters into design accents.

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2. Biofuel Fireplaces

Biofuel fireplaces, such as those by EcoSmart Fire, offer a variety of benefits including mobility, style, easy installation (no flue, chimney, or gas/electric connection required) and are an eco-friendly heating option.

Unlike electric heaters, biofuel options are incredibly sleek, modern and stylish. They are clean burning and don’t have ventilation restrictions like other fireplaces, so they offer incredible design versatility. They can be placed in cabinets, kitchens, fireplaces and roofed structures. While they do generate heat, they are often used in conjunction with another heating system to increase utility.

3. Gas Lamps

Gas lamps are another viable heating option. While these tall, sometimes portable heating sources are most commonly seen in restaurants or commercial outdoor spaces, gas lamps can be used in homes if a gas or propane line is available.

Of all the heating options, gas lamps do tend to be the most industrial and less visually appealing. Like electric heaters, people often seek to camouflage them within a structure. To operate them safely, proper ventilation is needed and should be incorporated into any design.

4. Natural Wood-Burning Fireplace

It’s hard to beat the ambiance, beauty and heat output of a natural wood-burning fireplace. This option is perhaps the best blend of aesthetics and function if you desire a traditional design. Fireplaces can also offer additional privacy, with the physical structure serving as a barrier between neighboring outdoor spaces.

Natural fireplaces are dramatic and typically the focal point of a room. They demand accompanying furniture and design pieces, and are also a large investment to install and operate.

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Choosing the right heating source for your outdoor space can depend on a number of factors such as budget, desired heat output and aesthetics. As spring approaches, now is a great time to start investigating your options!