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Outdoor Decor Ideas

Outdoor Decor Ideas

Outdoor Decor Ideas: 6 Ways to Elevate Your Space

Your outdoor space needs to be versatile, and it needs to throw some shade as well. There are plenty of solutions and showstopping outdoor decor ideas that mix both function and finesse to elevate your exterior spaces. Pergolas, canopies, cabañas, shade sails, awnings and umbrellas are all good shade solutions. Then it’s on to designing and living in that space! Be the envy of your neighbors with these ideas to start transforming your outdoor spaces:

1. First, designate areas for outdoor lounging and dining—and make them easily accessible from interior rooms.

Think about the best way to use your space to entertain family and friends, from cocktails to grilling to pool parties. Use outdoor furniture, tables, planters and fabric panels to help delineate zones for each activity—from al fresco dinners to casual barbecues and weekend wind-downs. A fire pit begs for cushioned benches or chairs to entice guests to linger longer.

Look for outdoor furnishings that feel like an extension of your interior rooms. Approach decorating exterior spaces in the same way, with a visually compelling mix of textures, patterns, shapes and colors.

Outdoor Dining Ideas

2. Soften up the space with custom cushions.

Make a hard exterior space feel warm and inviting with custom cushions that fit your furniture like a glove. Although the best outdoor fabrics are fade-resistant, they are not fade-proof, and will eventually need replacement.

Your old cushions are probably too misshapen to use as a template, so we recommend making a paper template (one for each size and shape cushion, seat and back). Chairs that appear to be the same size or shape may not be—especially with rattan and wicker—so check your template on every similar frame.  If preferred, Calico can create the templates for you (for a fee). 

Choose your new cushions from 700+ outdoor fabrics—a huge selection compared to catalog offerings. Enjoy your chic new cushions as long as the good weather lasts!

Watch how Maryal Miller, of Love + Specs, surprised her sister with an outdoor patio makeover.

Quick tip:

For a more bohemian look, consider creating large floor cushions or pillows in a variety of fade- and stain-resistant performance fabrics – taking advantage of the expanding palette of colors and patterns now available in these fabrics.

3. Choose outdoor fabrics that will weather well.

When creating cushions for your deck or patio, make sure to use outdoor performance fabrics that will stand up to rain and soil and resist fading from sun exposure. Most are also easily cleaned with soap and water—or even bleach for stubborn stains.

Quick tip:

For new cushion filling, we recommend using quick-dry Marine Foam, which has antimicrobial and antifungal additives that help prevent mold and mildew. Calico workrooms can create new cushions with regular foam or Marine Foam.

4. Create vertical height with drapes.

To really elevate your outdoor space, use different elements to bring height to the area such as wooden screens or dividers, large potted plants, or even a walled herb garden.

One of our favorite outdoor decor ideas for creating vertical height is to hang drapery panels on a deck, porch, or trellis. Outdoor drapes instantly draw the eye upward and make a space feel pulled together and refined. For an eye-catching look, consider outdoor fabrics from Sunbrella, Bella-Dura, Inside Out or Fortress, and find a beautiful selection of jacquard patterns, stripes, geometrics, ikats, canvas and solid textures—even velvets and sheers.

5. Play with fabric patterns.

Don’t shy away from bright color and interesting design on your outdoor furnishings. This is a great place to go bold! We love to mix patterns to create an eclectic look. The key is to coordinate colors to make everything feel cohesive.

Another way to make patterns work together is to vary the scale. Pair a mid-scale lattice pattern with a large floral or a chunky texture with an oversized animal pattern. Let one pattern be dominant and incorporate some solids or small designs to give the eye a place to rest. Not sure how to make different patterns go together in decorating your home? Vern Yip has a designer tip for you. Watch the video below to find out.

Once you find your favorite patterned fabrics, use them to create outdoor pillows, cushion seating, or table accents to bring personality and style to your outdoor decor.

Want to try something bold? Read how pattern on pattern is on trend, plus three other trends that stole the spotlight at High Point Market. MORE »

6. Dress up your dining table.

Create an outdoor tablecloth and add colorful napkins and dinnerware. There are lots of great dishes in melamine or tin to complement your table setting. A parade of glasses or small vases can show off flowers from your garden or a local farmer’s market. Add plenty of votive candles or glass hurricane candles for an air of elegance. Afterwards, all that’s left is to invite friends and create a make-it-ahead menu!

Want more inspiration in taking dining outdoors? See how to entertain with style with fresh Spring tabletops. MORE »

Calico Tip

Quick tip:

Put a bar cart outside and fill a tub with ice so that guests can easily refill their drinks without having to run in and out of the house.

Looking to get the patio livable for Summer, but not sure how?

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