Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Bringing The Indoors Out ~ Part 2

Photo courtesy of Ballard Designs

It is important to include layers of height to your outdoor room. Except for the patio umbrella, everything tends to be the same height, giving a "flat" feel to the décor. Don't be afraid to use unconventional items to achieve this. I have an inexpensive metal baker's rack that I use outside. It helps lift plants up to eye level, as well as candles and any outdoor accessories that I want to highlight.

Photo courtesy of Ballard Designs

If you plan on using your outdoor room quite frequently at night, use white plants and flowers,and touches of white in your accessories. This helps to brighten up the area and garden.

Pick up real dishes (not plastic) at the dollar store or an outlet store. The same goes for glasses. Make your table outside as pretty as your table inside.

Pots of plants will bring instant color to your outdoor room. Plus, you can move them around at will depending on your mood or outdoor activity. Be sure to pick up colorful plants that work for the spot they will be in. Don't ignore colorful foliage, like coleus, which comes in many colors and can do better than some annuals. The pot you put them in should suit your outdoor décor as well. Try to be consistent as to style or color.

Coleus photo courtesy of Old House Attic

With some simple sewing skills, you can make your own pillows or "slipcovers" for your outdoor furniture using outdoor fabrics.

Photo courtesy of Ballard Designs

For slipcovers, put the fabric together like a pillowcase, with one end open to slip over an everyday outdoor folding chair. You've dressed up an inexpensive folding chair and coordinated it with the rest of your outside décor.

Just like when you are decorating inside your home, save your accessorizing until last. Look and see where there is an empty spot and fill with either pots of plants or accessories. You don't have to fill every blank spot; just like inside your home, your eye needs a place to rest.

Copyright 2008 Creative Home Expressions

Monday, April 21, 2008

Bringing The Indoors Out

photos courtesy of Restoration Hardware

No matter the size of your yard, deck or patio you can extend your indoor living outdoors. Even if you live in the Northeast, you can make good use of the six months of good weather we get to make the most of your outdoor living spaces. Paying more attention to your outdoor rooms is even more important as people downsize and are looking to make better use of the space they do have.

You can screen out areas of your yard with a wall of evergreens, which is great for the working areas of your yard as it allows separation from your entertaining areas. If you have a compost pile or an area where you let your dog do its business, screening this keeps any mess or smell from areas where you sit and entertain.
While most people set out the standard table, chairs and umbrella, you can take your outdoor décor up a notch just by adding some simple accessories. With the wide array of outdoor materials now available you can dress up your outdoors to reflect your indoors. Color is just as important outside as it is inside. You can get quite a bit of help from the plants in your yard whether they be evergreens to set up your "walls" or splashes of color in pots.

Structures such as gazebos, trellises and pergolas add some architectural interest to your outdoor room, much the same as moldings do inside. Adding an outdoor fabric to these structures softens the wood or metal and adds some color.

Lighting - garden lights, candles or a mix of the two can give your yard a warm glow and extend your daytime enjoyment into the night. With the variety of lighting options from easy to install light kits to solar lighting, you can create ambiance in your own back yard. Candles can be used from floating tea lights to pillar, there are numerous ways to incorporate them into your décor. There are many decorative candle holders that fit in with themed décor or blend in with your landscape.

Outdoor fireplaces - not only extend the hours you can spend outside, but can also extend your season outdoors. There are many different styles to choose from; you can even build your own fire pit.

Fabric - outdoor fabrics have come a long way over the years offering a lot more than the usual awning stripe. You can use these fabrics for pillows, to cover cushions, make tablecloths or even be used as outdoor curtains.

Furniture - your outdoor rooms are a great place to use found furniture pieces. They can easily be freshened up with some spray paint. Metal baker's racks made great vertical storage and also help break up all the horizontal surfaces. Don't be afraid to bring pieces from the inside out for the day - just bring them back in at night.

Pillows - pillows add softness to your chairs and benches. How inviting a cushioned chair looks for reading a book or just sitting quietly.

Outdoor area rugs - Define the seating areas, just like they do inside your home.

Many things that you use indoors can be recreated outdoors. You can use mirrors, lighting, pillows, candles, statuary and plants. If it's not welcoming or comfortable you won't use it, just like the living room with a "hands off" feel.

Finding a table that suits your needs is a good place to start. A round table helps to break up the straight lines of many backyards. In addition to any chairs you get with the set, it is always a good idea to have extra seating. This can be in the form of larger chairs, a bench or lounge chairs, all with cushions. Small side tables suitable for outdoor use make it easy for placing a book or drink on.

Part 2 Coming Soon
Copyright 2008 Creative Home Expressions
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