Now that spring has sprung—even though some days the weather makes us think twice—it’s the perfect time to start upgrading your outdoor space. Remove the table covers, find some new lights and break out the planters to maximize those sunny days.
“Treat your outdoor living space as if it was your indoor living space,” said NCIDQ certified interior designer Dayna Hairston. “Think about how your guests will circulate, what activities will take place, how many guests you will be accommodating and how you want to entertain.”
This will help guide your furniture and layout choices and produce an ideal space that “functions according to how you live.” Hairston shared four tips to help get you started.
Since outdoor living spaces are subject to all weather conditions, it is important to choose durable, high performance fabrics. “Select pieces that are upholstered in water and fade resistant fabrics.” Hairston is a fan of the beautiful and functional fabrics from Sunbrella and Crypton.
The proper lighting can go a long way. It “can transform the ambiance and help the space transition from day to night.” Hairston recommended surveying your existing conditions, locating nearby outlets, shady areas that could benefit from extra lighting and key architectural features that can be highlighted. Then it’s time to decide on the mood. Think string lights for a casual party, hanging lights or post mounted light fixtures for a more refined, sophisticated look and lanterns for those spring and summer nights. “[Lanterns] are also great ways to incorporate lighting if you don’t have a nearby outlet.” Hairston stressed the importance of selecting light fixtures from the outdoor section of manufacturers like Lamps Plus and Terrain since they make products suitable for use in areas with heavy exposure to water.
Add in Splashes of Color
Color is a great attention grabber. “Its vibrancy provokes lighthearted exuberance perfect for outdoor entertaining.” Hairston suggested updating your existing outdoor furniture with a few colorful decorative throw pillows from sites like Wayfair and West Elm to breathe new life into old pieces.
Often forgotten, layering is a convenient way to create a strong vignette while adding multiple patterns and textures to your decor pieces. Hairston recommended a weather resistant area rug, a throw or blanket, pillows and ottomans to fully stylize your space. “Work to create definition and balance. Not only will it provide comfort to your guests, it will also give them something to talk about!” And don’t leave the greenery to the trees. Incorporate outdoor planters to the patio area as it “adds additional texture and visual interest to the space.” A few of her favorites: Pottery Barn, World Market and Terrain.