At last, it seems like the warm weather is here to stay. We can say with confidence that one of the many things we learned about being in our quarantine bubbles is that outdoor space is a precious commodity. Before we let the whole summer slip away, now’s a better time than ever to spruce up your backyard, patio, or even your apartment’s mini balcony to give yourself plenty of opportunities to enjoy the great outdoors. Below are some easy ideas to step up your exterior decor game:
Create distinct zones
Just like you would inside of your home, “make a checklist of what you want or need: Would you like a dining area, outdoor kitchen, and/or a lounge zone? This can be achieved by incorporating planters, shrubs, furniture, or an outdoor rug to define desired zones” if you’re lucky enough to have plenty of outdoor space to work with, says Stephanie Purzycki, co-founder of The Finish.
Add twinkly lights
“String lights are popular for an overhead lighting choice. Lanterns and candles are a great inexpensive way to make an outdoor space feel cozy. LED candles can mimic the look of real fire, so you don’t have to deal with replacing candles. If you have a covered outdoor area, outdoor-rated sconces and chandeliers will create an ambient glow. A consistent, warm color temperature in your bulbs — around 2700K — looks the move inviting,” says Purzycki.
However, if you decide to go with paper lanterns, it’s best for climates that don’t get a lot of rain since they’re not waterproof. Or, use them as a temporary display if you want to create a special effect for guests.
Create planter boxes
You don’t need a full garden space to enjoy fresh herbs, fruits, vegetables, or greenery. You can drill small planter boxes to your existing railings, or you can find hanging planter boxes that will clip onto the top of your fence.
Rethink your garage space
Especially if you live in certain suburbs, you might not have a bustling nightlife scene (or you can’t find a babysitter). Bring the bar scene to you by converting your garage into a “GarBar.” It’s a perfect way to display random decor and trinkets that don’t have a place inside your home, plus most garages have easy access to outlets that let you store a full-size fridge.
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Add fresh pops of color
“I recommend neutral furniture that you accent with colorful pillows, rugs, and even sun umbrellas. Incorporating color is a quick way to freshen up your space. For a tranquil oasis, I always love shades of blue. For a fun summer pop, go for all things citrus: Orange and green offer a sophisticated summer palette and give off vacation vibes,” says Purzycki. Speaking of color, see if your patio or deck needs sanding and a fresh coat of paint before you whip out all of the outdoor furniture.
Find multipurpose pieces
Suppose you don’t have room to store bulky or heavy outdoor seating for guests; use floor pillows that you can use both indoors and out. We love how poufs can add a cozy, intimate feel, and they work with any style of home. Or, get creative with pieces like an outdoor ottoman that can be used as a seat and storage. We also like the idea of an ottoman that works double duty as an ice bucket to enjoy cold al fresco drinks.
Create some shade
Roasting in the sun can easily make you overheat (and it’s not great for your skin). An outdoor umbrella can create shade that makes it feel up to 15 degrees cooler than being directly in the sun. If you need to cover a larger area, consider DIY-ing the task with some outdoor fabric, Command hooks, and a couple of thin wooden poles to nail the awning.
Set up a privacy screen
Even if you enjoy the company of your neighbors, you’ll want to have some privacy every now and then. A portable privacy screen allows you to not only get your personal space but can also add a funky, decorative touch.
Add a fire pit
Keep the good vibes going outside well after the sun goes down with the help of a cozy fire pit. Gas-powered options yield a fire with an easy push of a button, but if you want a more rustic look, a wood-burning option gives off that addictive, woody smell. P.S. Either type is great for smores.
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