In this post: If you enjoy treating your exterior spaces like outdoor rooms, you will be inspired by the evolution of our patio decor and where it’s headed next.⇒
Has this ever happened to you?
You move into a new space. You pick a room and decorate it from top to bottom in one go. Upon completion, you step back and look at it and think, ‘yep, that’s perfect’. Then you live with it exactly as is for years and years.
Yeah, me neither.
Now, for those of you who said yes, that has happened to you, this post may seem curious. But for everyone else, it will be quite familiar.
This week is 4 years since we moved into our townhouse. It’ll be the 5th summer here and I’ve changed my patio at least that many times. Well, sort of.
In reality, the planning I did that first year was exactly what I needed it to be. I got the bones right. I laid the foundation for a comfortable outdoor space that would make the best use of our limited area and function in the various ways we wanted it to. I also left room for versatility, so that I could easily alter the space each season, winding up with a series of outdoor rooms that looked different each time I was itching for a change.
Above is the empty patio we started with. Given that we live in a townhouse, this is our main outdoor space and hence it needs to serve several purposes, from eating to sunning to entertaining. What follows is how it has evolved over the past few years leading up to the current plan for our next transformation.
The most important decision I made for our patio was that it would be dominated by a sectional couch and coffee table. This would allow for a conversation area for entertaining and we could always lay on the cushions for sunbathing. We could also eat a casual meal around the coffee table.
That first year I chose an off white rattan sectional and a teak table. These were my investment pieces so I went completely neutral. I did get a few blue and white pillows, but that was the extent of my color commitment. You can see the early details of our simple decor and entertaining in Casual Wine and Cheese on the Patio.
Later that year when fall arrived, I realized this space that I had decorated as an outdoor room really looked better when it worked seamlessly with the natural environment around it. This is when I fully appreciated the neutral colors I had selected and updating the styling was as simple as removing a few pillows and replacing them with items that worked beautifully with the fall foliage.
We also added a whitewashed bench for additional seating.
I enjoyed using vintage pieces with an English country feel and I began to wonder whether the space, in its summer iteration, had been consistent enough with the inside of our house.
You can see the full post here: Autumn Charm on Our Townhouse Patio.
The second summer I was determined to add accessories that would lend a hint of French character to the patio. I used grain sack pillows and chambray accents, a galvanized tray and lavender plants. I also added the white drum side tables to hold the planters.
For serving I used shellfish plates and vintage soda bottles, and the effect was very cute, but the net result was more New England beach cottage than French farmhouse.
Find the details here: Preparing The Patio For Summer Entertaining.
Later that summer I added a small bistro table and chairs to the opposite corner of the patio. I wanted to have a proper table for having our coffee outside, as well as small meals. Again I went neutral with the furniture pieces so that I could dress the table any way I wanted for a given event. Here it’s set for a feminine tea or lunch in pretty pinks.
See more here: Dining al Fresco on the Patio
The third summer I was still wrestling with the identity of the patio decor and tried some new accessories in another color feeling. Inspired by lilac season I played with lavender and buttery yellow with white vintage linens. I used some chippy serving pieces and antique bottles. I loved this color feeling, but when the serving pieces were put away, there wasn’t much left to tell the story.
For the rest of this look and source info see: Adding Summer Style With Outdoor Accessories.
This was the summer I finally realized that to truly finish my outdoor spaces properly, they needed to be treated like outdoor rooms. I needed to commit to more than just a throw blanket and a few serving pieces. I talk about the one piece that finally pulled it all together in this post: How One Piece Can Pull Your Patio Decor Together.
Once I was committed to the blue and white, it became a matter of using different pop colors when the seasons changed. That fall I added rust as a pop color in pillows, flowers and a throw blanket. In Outdoor Fall Decorating Ideas: Serving Hors d’Oeuvres on the Patio you can see how lovely this outdoor room turned out.
This past summer I added fuchsia and yellow pops to the blue and white patio, for a vibrant and refreshing touch. It was both pretty and very upbeat. (See it here: Updating The Patio With Summer Color)
But I also felt I moved further away from the French vintage look I so love. So here I am approaching another summer and I’m ready for a fairly big change. I’m grateful my furniture pieces are all neutral so it won’t be a huge expense to make changes. Yet I do want a significantly different look and my challenge will be to transform the space without changing the majority of the furniture. I’ve already started shopping…
Outdoor Rooms Resource List
To get the look, click on the items below for direct links to the products. Where actual items were no longer available, I’ve provided similar options.
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