It’s “Dress Up” Time for Your Outdoor Spaces


By Alisa Murray –

It’s summertime, and for me as a designer, that means dressing up my outdoor spaces and making them ready for a good book and good friend – or simply to look good through my window!

Think Theme

We live in such a hot climate that often I only use a theme for one year.  During the late spring and summer, I begin thinking about and implementing the “feel” for both myself and my clients. Over the years I have gone to extremes to color coordinate the pillows poolside and make everything look like a magazine. I have painted the furniture and sometimes made my own pillows. It is hot, but that’s part of the lure of living in the south, right? We can sit poolside in the summer with a cocktail listening to John Mayer or AC/DC and watch our children grow

A Plethora of Pillows

Creating a colorful and inviting space makes me want to go outside, even if only for long enough to enjoy a lemonade. This year’s trends are amazing and fit every budget and style. Just be sure you do get pillows that are meant for outdoors, because otherwise the fabrics will not hold up to our sudden downpours and baking heat. There are stripes, fruits, art deco and so much more! One extra special trend that I do when making my own pillows is to make them two-sided. I love this because you get more mileage out of the design because you can flip a pillow and change the space. This works especially well with a floral and a geo pattern.

Mix & Match

Keeping with what’s been trending in fashion and home décor, you can mix and match patterns to create an interesting and uniquely “you” feel. For example, take a crisp geometric pattern in bold blacks and whites and pair it with a floral of bright oranges and reds on a dark settee with a green base cushion, and the feel you get is very avant-garde. Likewise, take a simple white bench and use a white base cushion adding in a subtle yellow dotted pillow, and then, combine some flamingoes to the mix and viola’! There’s a magical whimsy happening that makes the space fun and inviting.  And, add a string of those groovy lights across the deck or lanterns from the trees, and you’re ready to have a party!

The “Game Changer”

I have found that I can get several years out of my outdoor furniture if I paint it. Last year I painted these chairs silver and had a chocolate theme, and this year I have fallen head over heels in love with red and gold. Of course, I made the pillows again this year!

Never underestimate what one can of paint can do for you, or in this case, seven cans of spray paint. Paint is a “game changer,” and it’s never been easier to find a perfect color that suits you this season.  After all you are not married to it forever – you can create something totally different next year.

Everyone can play “dress up” with their yards with just a few new pillows and a little creativity. Yes, it really can be that simple and affordable.