Entertain in style with these outdoor patio decorating tips

After months of cold weather and snow, spring has finally arrived, and soon you can put that outdoor patio space to good use. Outdoor patios are the perfect place for entertaining during the warm spring and summer months – all you need is the right furniture, décor and these three helpful tips:

Entertain in style with these outdoor patio decorating tips

1. Arrange your space to match the occasion

Will your patio be used for afternoon cook-outs or for sophisticated dinners during the evening? Maybe your outdoor space will be a place where friends and family can simply gather for conversation and to enjoy the sunshine. Before you start browsing patio furniture, consider the different ways you might use your outdoor space so you can create a comfortable environment to match the style of entertaining you prefer.

Entertain in style with these outdoor patio decorating tips

Photo credit: Kate Byer Interior Design

2. Don’t forget about the lighting

While the sun can light up your space during the day, you’ll need outdoor lighting for evening entertaining so your guests can see each other! Make sure to set up the proper outdoor lighting so you can use your patio any time of the day. If you don’t have an outdoor electrical outlet, solar or candle-filled lanterns will also do the trick.

Entertain in style with these outdoor patio decorating tips

3. Add comfort with decorative pillows

Let’s face it – outdoor patio furniture is never going to be as comfortable as that plush sofa in your living room. That doesn’t mean, however, that you have to suffer hard chairs or benches. Use accent pillows for décor and to add comfort around the outdoor patio area. You can even use a large pillow as an extra seat if you run out of chairs!

Entertain in style with these outdoor patio decorating tips

Photo credit: La Dolce Vita

4. Make the most of the space you have

If your patio is small, simply work with what you have and find ways to maximize your space. For example, you can set up furniture around the perimeter of your space to provide room for movement and mingling. If your space is primarily for conversation, simply bunch furniture closer together to create a more intimate and cozy experience.

Don’t let the warm weather go to waste. With these tips in mind, you can set up your outdoor patio and enjoy months of entertaining fun!

By Wendy Weinert

Add a water fountain to your outdoor décor

Home owners spend a lot of time and money making sure that the inside of their home looks perfect, but then often ignore their outdoor space and leave it unadorned. Depending whether it is in the back or front yard, adding some visual appeal outside can create a welcoming environment or help to design a nice, relaxing space for you and your family.

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Even though you want your yard to look nice, finding ways to decorate can be tricky. Much of the lawn décor that is available today just looks tacky. There is, however, a solution to your decorating problem: outdoor water fountains.

Fountains have the ability to turn your outdoor space into a relaxing oasis and can become the focal point of your front or back yard. The fountain size that you choose largely depends on the amount of space you have. If you live out in the country, or just have a really big yard, you could probably get away with using a large, showier fountain, but for most people’s yards, a simpler, medium-sized fountain works best. If you have almost no yard at all, place a small floor or table fountain somewhere near the house and you’ll still get that soothing sound of trickling water.

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53265CT_room_FountainThe size and style you choose for your fountain might also depend on where you want it to go. Are you struggling to figure out what would be the “appropriate place?” Well, there isn’t any rule as to where you should place a water fountain – basically, wherever looks best! People who have gardens or flower beds can use a fountain to be a part of a larger display. Or, the fountain can stand alone and become the center of attention. Whatever you decide, you’ll love your new outdoor décor.

As we turn the corner towards the winter, now is the time to start planning ahead and budgeting for what you may want in the spring when you want to living in your outdoor areas. Water fountains and outdoor statues may be just the thing!

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As summer draws to a close, bring the outdoors in

As much as we might not want to admit it, summer’s on its way out. As the temperatures drop, take the opportunity to appreciate fall’s unique beauty. From the brightly colored leaves to the hardy plants that continue to bloom, nature still offers up plenty of décor inspiration. All you need to do is bring it indoors!

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Photo Credit: Mary Crawford Design

Nights on the patio will eventually get chillier, so consider moving your outdoor furniture onto your three-season porch or even your living room for a bit of extra protection from the elements.  If you have removable cushions, switch them out with new ones in warm tones that complement the earthier color palette of autumn.Inside your home, there are even more ways to celebrate the new season. Twigs and branches add a rustic touch when arranged in glass vases, and fall flowers and foliage, like chrysanthemums and ornamental kale, also deliver rich dashes of color.Fall is the perfect time to snuggle up, so make sure your home takes on a cozy atmosphere. If you have a wood-burning fireplace, bring in some pretty logs to store on the hearth (birch is always attractive and cedar is aromatic). Whether your fireplace is gas or wood-burning, using a light fixture with a ceiling fan will help evenly distribute the warmth that’s created. For a final touch, place soft throws in natural materials (like alpaca wool or dense cotton) on couches and chairs, along with plush pillows.
 
Mohawk all year

In no time, your home will look beautifully autumnal – you won’t even miss summer!

Housewarming: Gift ideas to make new homeowners smile

With what looks to be the worst of the housing rut behind us and numerous reports declaring sellers’ markets in cities nationwide, it appears the housing market is officially rebounding. It’s likely you have plenty of friends and family that are scooping up new homes, meaning plenty of housewarming parties are in your future.

House sold

Congratulate your loved ones on their new home-sweet-home with unique gifts that show you care. Here are five spectacular housewarming gift ideas:

1. Faux flowers and plantsfaux flower

Why send a bouquet that will last a few days when you can send a beautiful silk flower arrangement or plant that will add a splash of color to any room all year long? Modern faux flowers and plants are designed and constructed so well you can hardly tell the difference between them and live plants.

2. Decorative throwswoolblanket

If you want a gift that embraces fashion and function, look no further than a luxurious throw. Whether it’s used as an accent piece on a favorite chair or provides warmth on cool evenings, it will remind your loved ones of you each time they touch its soft fibers.

3. Garden delightsSolarChime

Garden and patio accessories provide a touch of class to any outdoor space. Help the new homeowners settle in by gifting them with a piece of outdoor décor. From graceful garden bells and wind chimes to beautiful bird feeders and quaint gnomes, outdoor accessories can be tons of fun.

4. Focus on the kids

Sometimes moving is difficult for children. Help little ones adjust to their new home by making your housewarming gift kid-friendly. Plush blankets, framed artwork, decorative mirrors, small toys, treats and books all help children get excited about their new home and make them feel special.CrocodileFloorCushion

RoosterBasket5. Build a basket

When in doubt, you can never go wrong with a custom-made gift basket. Remember, the package is just as important as what you put in it! Whether a beautiful wicker basket or wrought iron fruit basket, what holds the contents can be used over and over again by the new homeowners.

Tips to make outdoor gardening easy, fun and stylish

Few things are better than the taste of fresh produce during the summer. When you grow your own fruits, veggies and herbs, the bounty is even more satisfying. Recent research shows that almost half (49 percent) of homeowners in the U.S. have gardened in the past year. Whether you want to revamp your current garden or you’re planting your very first seedlings, your green thumb will delight at some of these ideas that make outdoor gardening easy, fun and stylish.

1. Elevate container gardens

If the idea of bending over to garden is unappealing, raised planter boxes are for you. The Arboria EZ Plant Elevated Garden is both sturdy and stylish, allowing gardeners to tend to plants while standing. Sure to add flare to any outdoor space, the planter’s four tapered legs gracefully support a bed that is crowned with beveled post tops. Use a few colorful pots to plant your favorite herbs and place on tables or ledges, and you’ll have the best of summer’s flavors at your fingertips – no bending required.EzPlantElevatedGarden

2. Be bold and blend plants

Wondering where you’re going to put your flowers and your edibles? There’s no reason you can’t blend them both in the same space. While tradition dictates separating flower beds and edible plants, combining the two is a growing trend. Try using vine vegetables like beans against fences, layering in flowers, and then line-edging with herbs like mint and parsley. Layering in this manner has a beautiful visual effect, plus your tasty plants are ripe for the taking right outside your door.

3. Add whimsy and personalityYardbirds

A garden is the perfect place to add fun decorative elements that show off your personality. Display your colorful collection of tin watering cans. Add whimsical touches, like a hidden garden bench carefully placed amongst the blooms – perfect for a quick retreat. Embrace eco-friendly garden décor like the Yardbirds 6-Inch Happy Puppy Pot Holder, a lovable plant holder made from recycled materials. As years pass and your garden grows, this unique piece will rust and patina, providing character as it holds treasured plantings.


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Furniture and rugs: The key elements to making outdoor spaces as comfortable as indoors

Whether your style is restrained and modern or classic and ornate, furniture and rugs often provide the central inspiration for the rest of your room – and the same can be said of outdoor spaces. In fact, those two décor elements can help make your outdoor “rooms” as comfortable, welcoming and livable as your indoor spaces.

If the idea of a carpet outdoors gives you pause, think again. This décor-defining accessory is available in weather-resistant materials, woven into inspiring patterns, from botanical to geometric and even intricate textile motifs like paisley. Just as they do indoors, outdoor rugs provide a central point of focus between seating, but can also be placed under outdoor dining furniture to bring a more formal feel to al fresco meals.90005 6113 063094_ex01

The style of your furniture can also define your space, as it would in your home’s living room, den or other rooms. Outdoor furniture manufacturers have gotten wise to the fact that people of all tastes want patio furniture that exactly matches their preferences, just as they would expect for interior furniture. So the great news is that no matter the style you’re seeking, you’ll find it. Sleek, euro-style tables and benches are just as accessible as classic American styles, from colonial to Cape Cod. As an added benefit, modern upgrades in materials mean that your outdoor furniture will be able to withstand unpredictable weather and maintain its looks and comfort.Club-4

Once you’ve chosen your furniture and rug, you’ve laid the foundation for your outdoor décor style, providing the feel of an outdoor room, rather than just a patio. Keep in mind that you can mix and match carpet and furniture styles; minimalist furniture can let an ornate carpet shine, while more traditional furniture can bring a sense of comfort to a contemporary carpet

Throw pillows: How one simple accessory can make your patio perfect

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAEveryone has a vision of the perfect outdoor party: Your yard is flawlessly landscaped, your food looks as good as it tastes, and your outdoor décor could be a snapshot from a magazine. That dream doesn’t always fit the reality, but luckily, it doesn’t take much to make it happen. The key is to start with a quick refreshing of your patio scenery – and one of the quickest ways to do that is by updating your outdoor pillows and cushions.

These key accessories are like the finishing touch on a great outfit: they add style and interest, but are easily interchangeable for different looks. So whether you want something simple for “everyday” gatherings or a more festive look for holidays and big events, getting the look you want can be as simple as switching out your cushions.

Try these ideas out in your backyard:

• Patriot perfect: The 4th of July is summer’s biggest celebration, and every American wants to host a great backyard barbecue. To make your patio loPatrioticPillowsok just right for the day, select pillows in reds, whites andPillowPerfectFrenchLinen blues. To make the cushions more versatile and usable year round, focus on those three key colors rather than outright holiday-specific items .
• Natural appeal: The calming colors of nature provide ideal inspiration for outdoor décor. For day-to-day use, try pillows in natural tones of green and brown. Pair solid seat cushions with patterned throw pillows for added visual interest.
• Party ready: When you want to bring a festive atmosphere to your patio, be bold with color and pattern. Bright, summery tones of red , pink, orange, blue and beyond can all be incorporated through a variety of patterns that range from floral to stripes to geometric shapes.

Once you’ve set the mood with décor and accessories like pillows, all you need to do is mow the grass, tidy up the flower beds and serve some tried-and-true dishes. Just like that, the flawless party of your dreams will be ready to go!

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