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Five Ways to Elevate Your Outdoor Space

Updated: Feb 28



Spending more time in your outdoor spaces means more time to decide that you don't really love the design. You should feel motivated and energized by your space rather than uninspired by it. So whether you have a porch, a patio, a deck, or some other type of outdoor space, I'm here to help you elevate your design in an affordable way.


Design Quick Tip: Start by introducing just ONE element into your space so that you don't get overwhelmed.

The reason I find that most people get overwhelmed when trying to design or redesign their space is that there are just TOO MANY OPTIONS, which is why I always suggest starting with just one design element and then go from there. Find one item you love and use that to set the palette and tone of your space.


Read on for some ideas!


 

ADD THROW PILLOWS


One of the best ways to elevate the design of a space is to introduce color, pattern or both by way of throw pillows. Throw pillows are great for establishing style because they are relatively inexpensive compared to other design elements, so you can swap them out often. I opt for pillow covers when I want to change my design, keeping my favorite Amazon inserts.


SIZE: I typically go for 20x20 or larger, but I also like to vary the size of my throw pillows, so maybe two 20x20s, two 16x16s, and a lumbar pillow or two.


PATTERN: Don't be afraid to mix patterns. You don't always need a solid with a stripe, or a solid with a busy print. Your outdoor space is a great place to experiment with mixing & matching patterns so go ahead and give it a try.


COLOR: The outdoor space is also an ideal spot to introduce a bold color, maybe one that you wouldn't necessarily use inside your home. Think Kelly green, neon yellow, fire engine red or hot pink, just for a few ideas. I like to mix black & white with a bold color in my outdoor spaces, so check out the options below to mix & match.




SWAP OUT YOUR RUG


An area rug is another great way to add an element of design to your space, and the best part about outdoor rugs is that they are typically super affordable, because the materials used for outdoor rugs are less expensive than the materials used for indoor rugs.


Things to consider when choosing an outdoor rug:


Is your outdoor space covered? If so, you don't have to worry as much about your rug getting soaking wet, so any outdoor rug should do. But if your space is NOT covered, you probably want to opt for a quick-drying rug, especially if your rug is too large to hang over a railing, for example.



What is the best size for your space? If you have furniture in your outdoor space, like a conversation area for example, make sure at minimum that the front two legs of your furniture sit on the rug. Anything smaller will look awkward. You can also go larger, so that the rug covers the majority of your space, but be sure to leave a few inches exposed along the perimeter of the space.


How often do I want to replace my rug? I typically replace my uncovered outdoor rugs every year, mainly because I don't spend a lot on them and I don't bring them inside in the winter, but the rug on my screened-in porch I might keep for a bit longer. Again, if you are trying to elevate the design of your outside space, you may decide that it's worthwhile to swap out your rug and pillows each year. BUT, if you find something you love and spend a little more money on it, then you should absolutely plan to keep it for several years.


Here are a few ideas for high quality, affordable rugs that you can incorporate into your outdoor space: {for LOTS more rug ideas, check out this blog or this blog}




INCORPORATE PLANTS


This one doesn't require too much explanation, and if you don't have a green thumb, not to worry! The reason I like to incorporate plants into my outdoor living spaces is that they add dimension and color with minimal effort and cost.



QUICK TIPS


  • Choose a colorful pot for your plant. Etsy has a great selection of planter pots, plant stands, and even live plants!

  • Add at least one "tree" planted in an extra large pot. I opt to place these next to my door, or in a corner of my deck. You can also use large plants or trees for privacy.

  • Make sure your plants don't get direct sun all day. This is the one thing I've found guaranteed to kill a plant fast, especially if your summers get really hot.

  • Vary the height of your plants with a plant stand, and choose a plant whose leaves grow long and hang, like a philodendron, monstera, or arrowhead plant. I keep these plants on my screened-in porch in the spring & summer, and bring them inside when it gets cold. They stay alive all year!

  • Fresh herbs are VERY easy to grow, and love full sunlight. Choose a bunch of pots of different colors & sizes and throw some basil, mint, rosemary, or lavender in there for a beautiful little garden. Tomatoes and mini peppers also grow easily, too. Just be sure to water these plants often!


CHOOSE UNIQUE ACCENT TABLES


One thing I have found that is often missing from outdoor spaces, especially conversation areas, is accent tables. Sure, you might have a coffee or dining table, but by adding small accent tables, you can really elevate your design AND add function at the same time.


My biggest tip for choosing an outdoor accent table {also called a garden stool} is to check the height of the table. Sometimes accent tables are a lot shorter than you might want. If you want it to function as a table, 22 inches minimum is my standard, but if you want it to function as a stool, then any height will do.


Here are some stylish and affordable accent tables to add to your space:




HANG BISTRO LIGHTS


This is another great design element for your outdoor space that requires little explanation, doesn't cost much, but makes a big impact. You can get outdoor string lights {bistro lights} at many places, like Home Depot, Lowe's, Amazon, Target, and more.

I personally like to order from Amazon because they have the biggest selection and they carry long strands of lights, like 150 feet or more, so if you want your lights to hang around the perimeter of your space, you won't have to connect multiple strands.


The best thing about these lights is that you can literally string them ANYWHERE: on a railing, on a deck or patio ceiling, from a pole to a hook to a tree... pretty much anywhere!


I would always opt for LED bulbs so you don't have to worry about replacing burnt-out bulbs frequently, especially since they might be difficult to reach.


Here are just a few of my favorite bistro light looks:




 


For more design tips or advice, contact Stacy at stacy@stacywardhome.com


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