Outdoor Styling & Decor !

Summer is the time when everyone wants to be outside the house (or almost outside the house). Outdoor entertaining kicks into high gear with BBqs, Picnics, Patio parties. The glorious sunshine and the warm summer breeze calls for regular siestas on a porch swing bed , reading a book in your sun-room and dinners out in the backyard !

The outdoor space -- the patio, the porch, the terrace, the backyard, the gazebo, the sun-room , the courtyard, the cabana, the deck,  the balcony... hence has to be spruced up and ready to go ! 
Here are few easy and simple tips to update and style the outside living spaces:

Start with a good slate
Make sure the outdoor space is clutter-free and clean ( dust & stain free, good paint on the walls etc ).  This really helps to get the creative juices flowing ! It is a good time to decide on the theme , style and  the color scheme that you want.

Function counts !
Decide on what you want the outdoor space to transform into. Style your outdoor space for what and how you want to be able to use it. Maybe a formal entertaining space , maybe an area to host semi-formal parties or a spot for the family to enjoy casual sunny afternoon games & siestas...or maybe a multi-tasking space that does all of the above !  Choice of Furniture and other accent pieces will depend on this. 

Let's Talk !
Instead of facing all chairs and couches to the view  ( hills, city skyline, lake etc) ...arrange them across each other or place them at an angle to each other to create a nice area to gather and have conversations!

Old Stuff - New Look !
Wicker and other furniture pieces can be easily updated with fresh coat of spray paint to complement your theme. The spray paint goes on easy and creates a brand new look. Adding new upholstery or new slipcovers will also give a fresh look. 

Soften the edges !
Use fabrics ( curtains  or fabric panels ) to break the hard straight lines of the porch or patio walls and columns. Bring in patterns and color with curtains to enhance the theme. Create dramatic backdrops and define conversation or dining areas using fabrics. Curtains - also an easy way to add privacy !

Get Comfy !
Cushions are the simplest way to add color and texture to the outdoor space.    Combine pillows and cushions of various sizes and color to complement the style. Big cushions can also be used as extra seating.

Look Down too !
Add warmth to the space by using outdoor rugs. This not only adds another dimension of color and texture , but also pulls the space together. Another neat trick is to paint the floors with a complementary color or with patterns to create visual interest.

Double Duty !
Use furniture pieces that do double duty. Use Coffee tables, End tables, Benches, Day-Beds etc with built-in storage. This lets you stow away your cushions, trays, board games etc when not in use.

Add Nature !
Styling outdoor space with luscious green plants and vibrant flowers is the best way to bring nature in... especially when decorating  patios and balconies in the high rise buildings. Use pots and planters of various colors, scales, shapes and materials to complement the design theme.The sound effects and the visual appeal of a water feature ( many table top designs are available in different styles too) enhances the feeling of being amidst nature.

Light it up !
Bring in the drama with light fixtures. Available in every color, shape, material  and can pick or create one that suits your style the best. Chandeliers, table lamps, string of lights ( holiday lights ), lanterns , wall lamps, garden lights.... having any of these features on the patio / porch /  backyard  also allows to enjoy your space long after sundown. Fire-Pits add that extra warmth in the evenings.

Bring the Indoors Outside ! read it right ! Including a few indoor decor accents to your outdoor living space...give it a much more relaxed and homey feeling. Adding light fixtures, ceiling fans and accessories such as mirrors, rugs , Clocks, baskets to hold books/magazines, wall art etc ... make you feel much more comfortable in the space. 

Set The stage  !
Accents such as throws, cushions, dinner ware & table cloths , trays, a pitcher of lemonade & glassware etc to your outdoor space add the finishing touches to creating a warm and inviting atmosphere.

One last tip ( my favorite one ) ... Add Music !
Use a cd player or even better, have speakers in your outdoor living space that is hooked on to your music system indoors. You can play music as background sound, music to create a mood in your space or to block out the noisy traffic ! Having music just completes the setting.

A friendly Reminder...
When updating your outdoor space, do make sure all the fabrics ( cushions, curtains, rugs, etc ) and  materials ( furniture , light fixtures etc ) you use can withstand the outdoor climate. Some materials for outdoor furniture , in my order of preference is: Wood such as Teak, Pine, Oak, Cedar & Eucalyptus; All Weather Wicker made from woven synthetics  ; Wrought Iron ( will need some care against corrosion and rusting ); Aluminum & Plastic. Materials typically used for cushions and outdoor curtains panels are quick drying and are made weather, stain & fade resistant... such as dyed acrylics, polyester yarns and woven vinyl-coated polyester. Rugs made of natural fibers like jute are also used extensively. 

Summer calls for being outdoors and enjoying the beautiful sunny days and warm evenings. Hope these ideas and tid-bits help in creating your very own summer retreat !

Happy Styling !


  1. I like the tip about add music.

    1. Minol ( Studio M Designs )November 5, 2013 at 5:19 PM

      Thank you Maneesha. Hope you have a great Summer .


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