In this post: Looking forward to outdoor living this summer? These simple and affordable patio ideas will help you prepare your space for relaxing at home.⇒
I could practically taste it.
Those few unseasonably warm days we had in early spring were a real tease. I’d gotten in the habit of wrapping up in a blanket and nestling in a sunny corner of our large sectional sofa on the patio. But everything was bare. No plants, no flowers, no color.
Then April came and just like the old adage, so did the showers. It was chilly, rainy and grey.
But the one certainty was that summer was coming. And I was chomping at the bit.
Now that it’s upon us I am so ready!
I am crazy about the outdoors and I’m always aching for it to warm up.
I should clarify, I don’t mean in a ‘nature girl’ way. While I do enjoy exercise, I’m hardly an adventurer nor even a hiker. No, when I say I love outdoor living, I mean I enjoy sunbathing. And dining al fresco. And reading a magazine on the patio. Such simple things that make me happy year after year.
But especially THIS year.
All I need is a patio with some creature comforts and a sunny day. That’s enough to feel like vacation and keep me satisfied for a long time.
This year I felt the patio could use some cheering up and today, as part of our “20 Minute Decorating” series, I’m sharing 6 upbeat patio ideas for bringing joy and optimism to your home.
*Please be sure to visit all the other 20 Minute Decorating posts at the bottom of this one!
I’ve mentioned many times that my decorating strategy is to use neutrals for the larger investment furniture and change out the accent pieces for an inexpensive update.
This is exactly the approach I took for my lively summer patio and the easiest place to start is with the decorative pillows. I like to pick a color palette and then find pieces that fit my story, ultimately winding up with a wardrobe of pillows.
These lovely spring green pillows set a cheerful tone and come in several coordinating patterns that work beautifully together. They are super affordable, and yet plush and full.
Floral Outdoor Dishes
Eating outside is one of my favorite things to do! Because we’re in a townhouse with only the one patio for outdoor living, I don’t have a large table set up for dining. Instead we have our coffee at the small bistro table by the window, but we still enjoy casual dinners on the sectional around the coffee table.
I love using melamine dishes for this. They are super convenient, light and unbreakable and come in many different patterns. I selected a gorgeous hydrangea pattern this year that marries the purples and greens from my current palette.
We do have a grill on the deck which makes impromptu meals very easy.
Vibrant Outdoor Drinkware
Along with the dishes, outdoor drinkware is an obvious convenience, and I could just as easily have found clear glasses. But how much more fun is a punch of purple, like in the set above? Whether we just have iced tea or lemonade in the afternoon, or for evening have a bit more fun with margaritas and mojitos, this very inexpensive pop of color adds a sense of playfulness to our summer patio.
Flowering Potted Plants
If you look around your patio and you think something is missing, there’s a good chance you can solve the problem with flowering potted plants. I am absolutely the worst gardener, but even I can keep flowering plants alive for a good part of the summer.
They add lush color and varied texture, and most of all, simple beauty.
You may have a large garden beyond your sitting area, but that does not preclude adding flowers in containers to the patio area. For me they make all the difference in the world and selecting planters that reflect your style and plants that look charming together is where the magic lies.
Vivid Throw Blankets
If you live in a region that gets warm in the summer, you won’t be needing heavy blankets, but a lightweight throw in a vivid color is perfect for breezy evenings and provides another opportunity for adding a convivial feel. There’s no need to be shy here. You can layer upbeat tones pulled right from your flower garden, or match colors from your dishes or pillow patterns.
If you have lounge chairs, you can achieve the same effect with neatly rolled up towels in similar colors.
There’s no need to limit your plants to the floor or table surfaces. To spread the color out and add highs and lows, try hanging baskets with additional colorful blooms. I hated the look of our window, which felt flat and uninteresting, until I added distressed brackets and hanging baskets for flowers. It adds a whole new dimension to the patio and it cost hardly anything.
Each day we draw closer to the relaxing heart of summer and I am so enjoying it!
While I use white and neutrals throughout my home, having peeled away the color over the past few years, the one place I want rich splashes of color is out on the patio against a backdrop of clear blue sky.
Some years I tone it down favoring paler hues, but this year I’m pining for the intensity of lavish brights.
I can practically taste it.
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