With the crispness and forthcoming of fall slashing through our hazy and humid summer heatwave it has now become the absolute PERFECT weather here in Crown Town to spend the afternoon idly sitting on your porch with a glass of sweet tea daydreaming away until nightfall. I urge everyone to take full advantage of these gloriously comfortable and Carolina blue afternoons because with darkness falling earlier and earlier every evening it wont be long before the initial appeal of scarves and boots become survival necessities as oppose to fashionable transitional accessories. So here I present you with a DD&D approved list of 10 ways to juge up your patio or porch to take in the remainder of this Indian Summer:
10.) Throw down with some rugs- (or fearlessly paint/stencil one on that is sure to withstand stormy hurricane season!) Utilize some old rugs up in your attic or rally up some thrift store finds and layer them atop each other for an easy, breezy, bohemian feel. Feel free to go crazy with colors and patterns- you can either match for a polished and classic unified theme or totally mix it up for a varied look easily suitable for Vogue. I assure you, either way you CAN'T GO WRONG!
9.) Checkmate- Desperately want a patio but your current budget won't budge? I have fabulous news for you! You can get a seriously stylish and impeccably chic patio for half the cost and double the "wow." How? you only need a mere fraction of the stepping stones or tile you desire. Buy a few, scatter them in a checkerboard pattern and voila! Graphic, unexpected, eccentric, classic, and posh patio lusciousness. And it doesn't have to be a checkerboard! Get creative with your design.
8.) Approach it with a different angle- Checkerboard stone and grass not your thing? Gather up some wood oh dahling lumbermen/women and simply build yourself a plain old platform by which to place a few chairs, a table, and perhaps even a fire pit...right smack dab...in the middle of your backyard....or, extend it off an existing deck. And how to you transform this platform of plain Jane wood from drab to fab? Style the edges in razor sharp zig-zags or angle it for visual appeal. Sure, this may take a little more effort than a square but the results are understated elegance at its finest.
7.) Outdoor Living, Literally- Treat your porch like an extension of your interior- I mean, that is basically what it is anyways, an extension of your home...So utilize the decor in the same manner as you would an actual living room. Lay down a sisal rug, mount pendant lighting, layout furniture arrangements to create niches and vignettes and to regulate a cohesive traffic flow, utilize tabletop accessories and perfectly manicured plants and floral vases...create distinctive outdoor "living" and "dining" "rooms."
6.) Mount that Jazz- When decorating your outdoor "living" and "dining" spaces it is more than perfectly acceptable to mount frames, mirrors (see above), and artwork on the side of your house. I know, I know, this one is scary but it is undeniably savvy. Create "shadow boxes" of nature inspired items to create a cohesive feel with the outdoor environment. (admittedly I hate this color scheme...and that curtain fabric...and all the other fabric...but the basic concept behind it is lovely...and I love the framed coral art...and the lavender glass tabletops...saving grace)
5.) Curtain Call- Soften the architecture of your patio/porch with curtains. This concept may seem odd to some to place drapery outside (and I certainly only advocate this on the back porch) but it is a beautiful way to further enhance that "outdoor living" feel and to provide further use of texture, pattern, color, and dimensional layering to your space. It also has a functional facet and is perfect for blocking out the sun's harsh glare, bugs, dreary weather, wind, and cold. Sheers are lovely for more tropical environments but I strongly suggest thick, durable, and weatherproof outdoor purpose material. And, don't be afraid of pattern and color. Go bold or go home.
4.) Daytime Doozies and Nightcaps- With shows like Mad Men and fall fashion trends recalling the 1960's hardcore the all important bar cart, which has truly replaced the kitchen as the center nucleus of the home for some, has, yet again, become a chic and stylish necessity for all the UB&T's out there (upbeat and trendies). So, why not throw another one out on your porch. That is, after all, a primary spot for entertaining so transport the bar outside (and avoid traffic in an out for libations)...and no, no, NO! Absolutely NOT a
tacky tiki bar (unless you are Jimmy Buffet, himself)...let's class it up and make it suave and debonair...a tall glass of sassy, dahling. Find yourself a vintage chest, table, console...maybe even get creative and use an industrial cart...paint it and distress it within an inch of its life, lacquer it smooth and shiny, or leave it as is...flank it with two classic and chic lamps for night time ambiance (and so people can see what they are mixing), throw a few votive candles out with mercury glass holders, place a mirror behind it to reflect all of that ambient light, and display your selection on a beautiful vintage or modern lucite tray. PERFECTION. PERFECTION. PERFECTION.
3.) Paint EVERYTHING- For whatever reason there is a taboo misconception that the eaves of your patio or that the floor of your porch are completely off limits. Um, who made that rule? I say grab your paint brush and go to town. Paint the porch "ceiling", paint the wall, paint the floor, paint the stairs, paint whatever your little heart desires. And, by painting the "ceiling" and floor the same color you will visually expand your space making it feel even more airy and open. Helpful hint: apparently painting your "ceiling" blue will prevent bees and other insects from nesting there by creating the allusion of sky...and, who doesn't want to sip there coffee under a Carolina blue sky...everyday?
2.) Strip then Stripe- I love me a bold, high octane contrast stripe. LOVE. I love it even more when someone has the ...eh, hem...kahunas to paint them up their wall...and ceiling. Fabulous. This creates a totally ritzy, preppy, Palm Beach, posh, luxurious, and lounge-y feel. If you are not so bold and picture number one you can certainly use a striped curtain and bolsters or strip and paint your floor planks in alternating black and whites. Love the look and scared of the work? Simply use a striped fabric. Love the look and scared of the contrast? Select more neutral and tonal colors such as white and beige or taupe and brown to create a more subdued look that holds the same graphic punch.
1.) Luscious Lattice- A timeless and traditional solution. Frame out the openings of your porch with lattice. Personally, I suggest leaving "window openings" in the lattice so as not to get overwhelmed by, well, lattice. Select vines and meandering florals to weave throughout and watch as season after season your porch/patio is transformed into a beautiful and organic display of flora and fauna with hints of a stunning architectural grid. Also, don't forget to add bountiful bundles of potted plants, floral vases, and displays of fruit to fully enhance your outdoor space with the outdoors.
Sip, Swing, and Sigh,