Now that our best and only vacation option is, literally, out our own back door, it’s a great time to consider decorating your outdoor spaces. Your balcony, front porch or poolside can be a gracious extension of your home. The same indoor design principles can be applied to outdoor spaces as well. As you prep your lawn and scrub off the pollen, consider these pointers for outdoor living.
Seating, and plenty of it, is key.
No one wants to perch all night on the top of your cooler. Large sofas and loungers look appealing, especially if you have that kind of backyard space, but consider the last time you wanted to sit close to someone in the heat and humidity of our summer nights. (Or now that COVID-19 has changed what is considered a “safe” distance.)
Opt instead for a grouping of comfortable chairs. Chairs are easy to move between conversation groups and, in fact, encourage interaction between strangers more than side-by-side seating like a couch.
Using double-duty pieces like garden stools and outdoor ottomans as perch points provide even greater seating capacity. They function as foot stools and side tables when it’s just your family and extra seating when you have guests. These smaller pieces are a perfect opportunity to introduce pattern and color.
Take your great indoor colors and themes outside with you
Whichever décor theme you have developed for your interiors can and should be used in your outdoor spaces. Your front porch should be a preview of what’s inside and your back patio can be a seamless extension of your family room as you transition between the two.
There is every style of outdoor furniture imaginable and at every price point. Consider your home style (contemporary, transitional, traditional) as well as where you will be using the furnishings.
A screened-in porch is a living space we can use almost year-round here in the Carolinas. It may be worth your money to invest in metal, teak or woven seating with generous cushions for year-round relaxing, relegating the molded plastic and composite wood pieces to the elements or poolside duty.
Considerations when choosing outdoor fabrics and colors
Thanks to innovations in cloth fiber technology and weaving techniques, outdoor fabrics are as varied, vibrant and durable as they have ever been. Be aware that there are some colors that fare better than others when left out in the weather.
Red will always be the first to fade
If you have a screened-in or covered porch, your red fabrics will stand a better chance since water, in combination with sun exposure, is the real culprit in fading fabrics. Whites and creams are beautiful and cool to the touch but they will be the first to show mold and mildew stains. Greens and blues are the most forgiving and in keeping with a natural outdoor palette.
If you want to experiment with seasonal outdoor décor, keep your cushioned pieces solid and give your pillows and pots the fun patterns. Keeping all of your cushions as dry as possible during the spring and summer seasons and storing them properly all winter will prolong their life.
Think your outdoor space is too small? Don’t worry there’s something for you.
Even if your only outdoor space is a Juliette balcony off your third floor apartment, give it some color with ceramic or resin pots, filled with seasonal flowers and greenery, even the faux kind. Add some outdoor lighting for ambiance, throw open the doors and enjoy this stay-cation!
Kristen Enwright is an interior designer and owner of Designer’s Eye. She has been a ‘local’ for over 30 years and enjoys the many parks and good eateries that have grown up around her here. Kristen has specialized in residential design for the past eleven years. You can see a collection of her design projects at www.designerseyeinteriors.com.
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