Friday, June 5, 2009

Outdoor Living Ideas to be Stolen

Last night I got this email from one of my best friends... "Can you please blog about back yard summer d├ęcor so that I can steal your ideas as I am helping a friend re-decorate this Sunday. Help!"

Hahaha at least she's honest!!! (And she knows I'd love an assignment like this!!) So, here are some ideas I have & things I love for backyard summer fun & entertaining that hopefully Alissa will like & can get quickly. (I have no idea what type of space her friend has but I can only assume since she's friends with a friend of mine that the budget will be tight & that we'll need to get creative!! ;) The picture above is from Cottage Living and is a look I absolutely love. Easy, carefree, white and casual classic. It's my inspiration for what's ahead...
Here's a quick checklist for Alissa for an instant pretty outdoor space:
-Lanterns/ lighting

I think it's really important for outdoor dining spaces in particular to feel a bit enclosed or delineated in some way. (like in the country living pic below) This can be easily done by a surrounding a patio or table with flowers, bushes, a pergola, an awning, outdoor curtains, etc. But something to make the area feel special, private & pretty. So, I think they should hit up the distressed plants section of Lowe's and get to it!!

I'm not sure if her friend is looking more for eating or relaxing areas, so we'll give her both. She may already have furniture but that's okay... let's have fun with this ;) I'm going to use this picnic table from It's only $135 and can easily be painted white or any other color. (Painted tables seem to cost more!! arg) You can find them at garage sales too this time of year... They remind me of summertime when I was little...I really think she should go with a couple of adirondack chairs. I love these white adirondack chairs for only $85 from

I do think it's important to go with wood adirondack chairs instead of the plastic ones if you can afford it because you can tell it's plastic from a mile away. (BUT I totally understand waiting for upgrades if you want the look for now for less!! Believe me, I'm SO there right now!!) And check out these painted wooden ones here in white for a steal at only $60!!!! We got ours at Kohl's when they were having a big sale for $65 each and I can't say enough how much I enjoy sitting in them.

Then I'd add a white market umbrella (see Maria from Colour Me Happy's post for details on color choices!!!) because I think they're classic and simple. (And honestly, doesn't it look perfect in our cottage living inspiration picture above??)
I'm kind of obsessing about fans right now. They keep the bugs away and I love the look too!! (Anything to bring more inside stuff outdoors!!) How great is this $80 fan from Home Depot?!!:

Ok, now onto the pretty things!!! (Which is probably what my friend's looking for :) She'll probably want a rug. I LOVE this herringbone natural-looking one from Restoration hardware. (They range from $79 and up depending upon the size)

And I'm kind of going nutty over these pillows from Restoration hardware which are only $21!!!! (--They come in so many pretty colors and they're having a huge sale on outdoor stuff right now.) I've had my Restoration hardware outdoor pillows for a few years & they've held up so well, so this is a really good buy. (Home depot also has some cute ones right now but they're actually more expensive)

Ok, and I don't know if she like to lay out in the sun (i know it's so bad for you!!) but I used to when I didn't have a child (now that sounds like a joke or a dream!!!) so maybe she'd love these gorgeous RH towels as much as I do: (Again RH towels are THE BEST!!!!- barely any fading and they're so thick!) Now I think my excuse to get these might be because we have a kiddie pool! ;) ;)

I love lanterns outside. They're so pretty- night or day- and they really up the look. All of Pottery Barn's are gorgeous but also try Target, Bed Bath & Beyond, walmart & other cheaper places.
When you're having guests or just want the space pretty for you & your family, add a flower arrangement or 2. (Even greenery works when you don't have flowers as in Eddie Ross's fern arrangements below.-- I LOVE THESE!!)

If you'll be doing lots of outdoor entertaining, there is so much adorable melamine outdoor dishware & drinkware. Target always has cute stuff:

And finally, here's a quick something I do every summer. I put all of my condiments & some paper napkins in a basket in the fridge so we can grab them quickly for eating outside. Then you can put in other things you need like silverware and flowers. It's one of those things you can do that just makes life easier. (By the way if you're looking for a good bbq sauce, try Sweet Baby Ray's- It's THE best!!)

Anyway, I hope this helped a bit!!!I'm SO excited for summer & can't wait to find my rug & lanterns!!! (Don't worry, of course I'll post pics!! haha)