Here at David Brian Sanders Interior Architecture + Design (DBS for short) the team has had the “Great Outdoors” on the brain for what seems like months.
Summer is coming and we’ve been working on new patio designs, shopping for patio furniture and ok, maybe planning a few summer getaways in the mix. If you live in LA, summer never quite left, but if you’ve been buried for several months under mountains of snow or hit with torrential downpours, we know you’re looking forward to summer. This means time spent outside in the backyard, on the patio, (and for us apartment dwellers) the balcony or the stoop.
So the question becomes, how do you spruce up your outdoor space (whatever it may be) for parties, impromptu gatherings or just enjoying a refreshing beverage outside after a long week?
Never fear…I’m going to show you how. Let’s face it not all of us can afford the all white super chic B&B Italia Cabana for an Italian Rivera-like poolside lay out.
Or my personal favorite for those with a huge expanse of open land and lush green grass (yes, I’m day dreaming here stay with me) it’s the uber-fabulous all white super chic tent. I wish I had one when I was a kid.
Before I show you how to put together a super chic easy-to-entertain-in patio there are a few no-nos that I’d like to share with you. Ok, deep breath (some of these give me heart palpitations in a bad way!).
Please Do Not:
1. Use Astroturf to line the ground of your patio, balcony or anything else you might have outside. This is not grass my friends. Nor is it cute by any means. Now don’t get me wrong Astroturf has a place but it isn’t in your outdoor space unless you have a putting green. I will cover the alternatives below. This person’s outdoor space is guilty of both this offense and #2 below.
2. Under furnish. Take this same example in this photo above. What are two people going to do with just two folding chairs facing one another? This isn’t inviting and there is no place to put your beverage. Regardless of the size of your space make sure you have the basics to make it worth using.
3. Make your outdoor space a dumping ground for things that don’t fit in your home or garage. Have a garage sale. Enough said.
4. Ignore your local climate or your lifestyle. If you live in an area where the sun is so hot and you know it’s going to do a number on the fabric of your beautiful patio set – it’s worth it to invest in the patio covers. Especially if you have a pool, because fabric mixed with chlorinated water from the pool and intense heat is a recipe for bleaching and staining. Patio covers will extend the life of your patio furniture.
Also, think about what you do in your backyard — do you have kids, do you throw raging parties, or do you dine al fresco? How you like to spend your free time outdoors should be at the top of your list when planning your outdoor space. If you have kids or pets, well then white cushions are probably not the way to go. If you like to eat outside – consider a patio table and chairs. Don’t automatically look to the patio sofa, because while it is really comfortable for lounging and conversing they are usually not the best option when you are having an evening meal al fresco.
Now on to my favorite part – putting together your stylish outdoor space which is similar to how you build a room in your house.
How to Style Your Outdoor Space:
1. Outdoor rugs and mats. If you have a small space like a balcony and you don’t like staring at cement, consider some stylish outdoor carpet tiles that you could put together to make a colorful outdoor rug (DIY tutorial here). If you want the look of grass – then spring for the stuff that actually looks like grass. This small little sitting area has faux grass but you would never know it by looking at it.
2. Use outdoor accessories. Candles and lanterns go a long way. Do not overlook lighting in your outdoor space. You want to be able to see your guests once the sun goes down. You can use hanging lanterns or string simple outdoor lights. Ceramics and decorative objects also warm up an outdoor space. I’ve even witnessed a few tasteful garden gnomes (very few). Now, be careful of getting carried away with the outdoor tchotchkes – but if you do, well the outdoors is more forgiving and it’s a place where you can get away with it.
3. Let Mother Nature do her thing. Nature is the best accessory for your outdoor space. Never underestimate Mother Nature. If you don’t have a yard, buy some inexpensive succulents and put them in white pots for a super sleek modern look. Or use colorful pots or silver pails for a more bohemian eclectic look. It’s always nice to see a small or large space with balanced planters and greenery because it makes the space looked finished. Fruit trees are also great in tall planters because they are economical, they are low maintenance and if you can get them to bear fruit, that’s a bonus!
4. Be creative with your furniture. Patio furniture does not have to be expensive or formal. For example, you can take basic wood folding chairs and spray paint them a variety of bright colors or a high sheen black or white. You can also add small seat cushion for comfort. The current trend is to use beanbags or beanbag loungers as outdoor chairs (just make sure the fabric is durable). You can also lacquer wooden crates a variety of colors to make side outdoor side tables. Use baskets for outdoor storage to hold pool towels or outdoor games and toys. When it comes to patio furniture, pay attention to your lifestyle. The focus should be whether the furniture is functional for what you and your family likes to do outside. Because let’s face it the whole point of using your outdoor space is to RELAX.
Here’s to an enjoyable and stylish summer in the GREAT OUTDOORS!
For more info about David Brian Sanders visit www.davidbriansanders.com