It is so lkj;sdlijf;alkejf; cold outside, and there is a foot of snow outside my doors……and I am being asked for a blog on being outdoor ready???????????what?  but yes…………..

We are talking about outdoor spaces.  This year more than ever we need to have something to look forward to and we have just the thing. 

We are so excited to share our outdoor ready area in Omaha, don’t get in the car just yet, for its debut will be in early March. ur design teams are excited and are already preselling, so pay attention. If you see something you like, let us know as now is the time to order as lead times are getting longer. Here is a sneak peek.

Outdoor Sectional

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Close your eyes and see what I’m saying – picture trees budding, birds singing, flowers blooming, the smell of backyard barbecues, friends around the fire, a long outdoor table of seafood boil and glasses clinking……. it’s spring.  Not only is it spring, it is spring 2021-We are so close to vaccines, vacations and verandas (I had to think of 3 things that started with V). 

Vaccines are coming and I am grateful to the people who are working tirelessly to make it happen. 

VacationsI just want to be on a plane with a Bloody Mary in my hand before takeoff, is that too much to ask?

VerandasSo what is that, a veranda is a roofed, open-air gallery or porch, attached to the outside of a building.  Bottom line …………. it’s outside.  So, this post is all about outside and what we have done to prep for it.

Here are my 24 tips to be outdoor ready look designer done!!  Why 24 you ask???????? Because as of the posting, there are 24 days until the first day of spring and my birthday is the 24th (of October- please note, I am 39….again). 

Tip #1. Think about how you will use your space and plan. Is it just you and coffee, you and your partner, your family, or party after party all summer long? 

Tip #2. Design your outdoor like you would your indoor. Think floor plan, connect the areas with traffic flow patterns, plan the materials for use. My back door opens onto a bluestone courtyard and our indoor spills easily to our outdoor-this makes for easy entertaining. 

Tip #3. Pay attention to the sun and surroundings. Do you want to sit where the sun rises or sets?  When we built our home, we did a sun study so the angle of the house was going sit just right. You don’t have to do that, but at least pay attention. If you already have a home, place the outdoor in a way to benefit what you want to see. 

Tip #4. Use your trees, hedges, and plantings as your walls and ceiling.Trees for shade and bushes for creating boundaries. Adding great outdoor pots with vertical plantings will take your eye straight up and define the space.  In addition, adding vines to an outdoor wall and make an actual “living wall”.  A backdrop of green or gorgeous clematis vines running up a pergola is purpose as well as art in and of itself. 

Tip #5. If you don’t have trees for ceilings- make one by adding a veranda, pergola, an awning or even an umbrella. This can define a space as well as add a beautiful extension to your home. 

Tip #6. Create your floors, they should lead you out to the soft grass and define your spaces for furniture, tables and heels (Don’t you hate sinking into the ground at outdoor parties?). If you have a pool, separate your other areas from the pool with paths, tile, gravel, stone… think of it as the hallway from room to room, there should be a travel plan. If you have or are building a new deck or patio, think about adding outdoor floor tiles, natural stone tiles, or materials to set your apart from everyone else’s floor. At a minimum, add an outdoor rug to ground your space and add interest. 

 

Tip #7. Make sure you buy quality furniture for outside. A good Nebraska wind will take that cheap chair right across the road to the neighbors. Pay attention to the practicality for weather and outdoor use. And whatever you do, mix it up.  Mix up both your frames and your fabrics. When it comes to the furniture, find pieces that are interesting and comfortable. Do not waste money on big box store sets-it’s like buying a bed in a bag (and it should be against the law).  Find furniture that works together but is different, approachable but design forward, and kick back but well dressed.  A concrete table and rattan side chairs just could not be better.

Don’t have design paralysis, jump in. Just think pattern, color and scale. If you like abstracts, add a geometric to create some order, or if you want a floral add a stripe if you’re going monochromatic add a fun image piece. In terms of color, make them relatable and when thinking scale think the opposite. If you have a large-scale pillow, it’s companion pillow wants to be a tight print, not another large scale that competes.   

Tip #8. Add the ahhhhhh with fire or water. Fountains, ponds, fire pits…are both good and bad. Good because of the ambience, bad because people never leave.  There is nothing better than sitting by the fire on a chilly night. 

Tip #9. Add light and sound. Add artificial light so when the sun goes down you don’t find yourself, and your guests, lighting their way with their cell phone. Use great outdoor lamps, overheld bulb strings, lanterns with candles. I love our remote candles for outdoor use. They are the best!

Tip #10. Outdoor dining is so fun, find a place for a table and create a dining space that can be dressed up for a formal dinner or kept causal for a happy hour.

Tip #11. Use areas beyond your defined area for conversation pits. For example, I have a swing on a tree outside my outdoor dining area. Tuck a bench away for private conversations or a couple great outdoor chairs and ottoman under a tree.  Areas like this are inviting and interesting.

Tip #12.  Do not be a slave to color and try to match but have an impact color that you can tuck here and there to bring all the pieces back together. I have cobalt as my impact color. I use it my outdoor Chinese porcelain pieces, a solid stool here and there, an accessory that peeks out and my margarita rimmed glasses? 

Tip #13. Add planters stands, wall planters with succulents, sculpture, outdoor art, fragments etc. to your walls as art. Don’t overdo or underdo- there is a balance. Adding the right touches to your outdoor walls suddenly turns it into an outdoor room.

Tip #14.  Throw in some throw pillows, throw blankets and accessories. Adding texture to outdoor furniture adds interest and fun.  Swapping out your pillows is a great way to upgrade your patio each season without spending a lot.  Accessorize and edit. Too much tchotchkes outside can look cheap and forced -both inside and out, but especially out.  With the sky so high, small pieces look out of scale. Think big outside. If you have a small piece you love, tuck it into a planter, not on an outdoor end table.  

Tip #15.  Adding sound seals the deal. Adding some outdoor speakers creates the feel you want for the party.  

Tip #16.  Think small by adding a bistro or small top table for intimate conversation, or a nice cup of coffee in the morning. Adding in spaces such as this is a great way to show your sense of style.

Tip #17.  If space allows, hang a swing bed and elevate your seating. How fun is it to crawl up on an outdoor bed for casual lounging. Outdoor fabrics are available in softer more durable and fading resistant options so layer that bed up and jump in.

Tip #18.  Add draperies on patios for shade, temperature control and to get the WOW. Our outdoor dining table is perfectly placed for sunsets – translation, I am blinded when sitting on that side.  Being able to pull a drape across can save an event. 

Tip #20.  Add a breeze! I placed corner outdoor wall mounted fans at the ends of my outdoor dining and what a difference that makes. When it’s a hot muggy day, a subtle breeze can be all that is needed. I ordered mine in black, but we can find your perfect finish.

Tip #21.  Add a bar….duh. Making a place to grab a cocktail makes everyone settle in at an event. Make it self-serve for smaller gatherings and add a bartender to keep everyone safe for larger events. 

Tip #22.  If you have the room add a full-on outdoor kitchen. The only extended tip I have about basement and outdoor kitchens is this………..if you are not going to stock it, don’t bother. Running up and down, or in and out for the right utensil or platter makes it messy. If you do it, stock it and hang there as you’re cooking. 

Tip #24.  Don’t make your outdoor design a complete departure from your indoor design. Think of it as an extension of the inside and bring it out, or at least make it look like you did.  When you do this, you can capitalize on your furniture. A fun thing is to add indoor furniture for an outdoor soiree. Bring out your armchairs, a loveseat, bench or a console for gathering.

There you go, 24 of my best tips-now make me a Bloody Mary and send me the invite! Happy Spring!

Lorele

 

 

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