Happy May! FINALLY the snow seems to have retreated for a few months and the outdoors beckons. I LOVE this time of year even though my idea of being outside revolves mostly around drinking tea or working on my laptop on my deck. Outdoor rooms are the best part of the warmer weather because they allow a front row seat, literally, for the show that is nature! Whether you have a deck (like the spacious seaside one I am currently designing for a client!), a patio, or a even a tiny balcony, setting it up for comfort is essential to making the most of the season.
Here are a few of the key ingredients:
Comfortable furniture with cushions and pillows in easy-care outdoor fabrics.
The options for patio furniture are virtually endless with iron, teak, and MY favorite, all-weather wicker, as the most popular choices. And there are styles for every application from sleek minimalist modern to old-world charm and everything in between. A hammock is another fun option to include if space allows and lounging is a priority!
Outdoor rugs to define seating or dining spaces.
Outdoor rugs are available in inexpensive plastic woven dhurrie styles and in plush hooked synthetic versions that are indistinguishable from indoor rugs. Most can be cleaned with a hose! Just remember to use one large enough that it extends under all the seating pieces, and big enough that any dining chair legs don’t get caught on the edges.
A table or three…
A coffee table, and/or side tables will give you a place to put up your feet or set down your beverage. Outdoor tables can be made of anything weather resistant…and PLEASE don’t just default to the ones that are part of a set with the seating! Buy a contrasting interesting coffee table, or be creative – anything stable enough and the right height can be topped with glass or stone to make a table…think garden urns as table bases, or adapted architectural salvage elements. Ceramic garden stools make wonderful little side tables that can double as emergency seating if there is a crowd. If space allows, a café table or dining table for al fresco meals is a wonderful addition.
If your space is unsheltered, umbrellas or awnings in coordinating colors are essential to keep the heat (and a sunburn!) at bay. Patio umbrellas come in many styles and shapes and all kinds of colors and patterns. If your porch has a roof but open sides, full length curtains constructed of outdoor fabrics can help control the sunlight or offer privacy.
Add strings of patio lights for evening ambiance. Unless your space is a patio surrounded by gardens, adding planters of flowers or herbs, and some taller greenery like potted palms or trees will surround you with the perfect summer feel. Wind chimes or a water fountain lends soothing sound. And bird baths, bird feeders, and birdhouses all invite nature closer to you!