When it comes to backyard styling, I approach this the way I do any interior styling job. Let’s take your back deck for instance. The footprint can be considered the same as the footprint of an interior room. Here are some tips on how to bring big style to the outdoors:
1. First, measure out your back deck and draw up a plan to scale. This is not as hard as it sounds, I promise! 1′ = 1″ on a ruler and a 6″ = ½” on a ruler. If you round up your dimensions in 6″ increments, you can easily figure out the right scale of furniture you need to look for. With online shopping, you can easily check out furniture dimensions and save yourself the headache of going in person to measure pieces. If you are tight on space, a good rule of thumb is to always leave 3′ clearance to comfortably move around the furnishings.
2. Just like on the interior, nothing creates a zone like an area rug. There are so many options now with outdoor carpets that you can really find something that speaks to your aesthetic. I love going bolder with patterned rugs, but a loose woven neutral sisal always looks fantastic. Look for rugs that are made of materials that do not retain moisture, as this will allow them to dry properly and preserve the life of your deck.
3. Outdoor furnishings are off the hook this season! I have never been so inspired by what is available from stores this Spring. There is a move towards bringing the interior out, and I am seeing a real trend with boho-chic furnishings and Art Deco-inspired pieces. I love both and I can’t pick a favourite. Look to IKEA’s Jassa collection this Spring and CB2’s Alexandria metal gold chair.
4. When hanging out outside, you want to really be able to lounge. Consider more formal seating for a dining area but don’t forget easy lounging. It’s summer and we only have it for a couple of months in this beautiful country, so soak it up. I’m loving the ready-made floor pillows you can find at stores like Anthropologie and IKEA. They add a great worldly vibe to your back deck, and look best when paired with mixed patterns that look like you have collected them over your travels.
5. There are so many beautiful options when it comes to outdoor dining ware that you are going to want to use these pieces inside your home as well. I do not promote disposable design at all but you can find beautifully designed, high-quality plastic dish sets that will last you a lifetime if you take good care of them.
CB2 Marble Bistro Table, $1199
6. Be bold! Everything can be a bit bolder outside. Think of our fashions and how they change throughout the seasons. The same goes for decor. Don’t be afraid of colour and pattern, everything holds its own outside and this is the time and place to be a bit riskier with your choices. We are not talking about decorating your Living Room here. We are trying to hold our own with beautiful mother nature…and she can take it.
7. Although this isn’t really a styling tip, it’s a tip to keep your back deck stylin’ over the years. When selecting furnishings that come with cushions or adding floor pillows to your outdoor décor, you should consider where you will store them over the winter or even on rainy days if you want to keep them dry. This will dramatically extend the life of your pieces and save you lots of money down the road. Look to furnishings that offer interior storage for cushions or consider building in a storage bench along the edge of one side of your deck. This can provide the much-needed storage away for the elements and if built at a height of 18″, it will also double as bench seating. Voila! Form and function.
8. Lighting, lighting, lighting! Did I mention lighting? When the sun eventually does go down at the end of our long days, this is your chance to really create set the mood. LED string lighting has really come down in cost and is extremely energy-efficient, so you don’t have to feel guilty about over doing it. When in doubt, add more string lighting. I love this look crawling up a tree and weaving its way through the branches. You can also find beautiful hanging pendant lights that are solar powered so they can be hung from anywhere. You don’t have to worry about unsightly cords strung from the roof line anymore.
By following these eight simple steps, you can create a backyard oasis on any scale, to enjoy all summer long!