Longer days mean more time to relax outdoors with a cool drink, watching the sun dip below the horizon. Furnish your outdoor rooms in style, from the front porch to the back deck, with the right combination of comfortable furniture and fresh accessories. From beachy to retro cool, here are 10 outdoor spaces that get it right
1. Color theory. Neutral outdoor furniture with white or beige cushions is the most versatile combination — you can change the look from year to year without a big investment. For a polished look, choose one main accent color and one brighter hue to use in a small dose, and repeat these in all of the outdoor accessories, from pillows to flower pots. Here, pale aqua is the main accent color, with just a dash of vibrant yellow.
2. Home comforts. Make your porch or patio feel like a finished room with the addition of indoor details — lamps (look for solar-powered) that cast a soft glow, a mirror atop a console table, a tray, a vase of flowers. If your area gets summer rain, keep a weatherproof trunk handy and toss in the cushions when a storm is brewing.
3. Fresh coastal. Give classic blue and white coastal style a twist with a few bright tangerine pillows on a clean-lined sectional. A fringed throw, rope detail lantern and sea glass-inspired vases bring a beachy vibe without veering into cliche territory.
4. Spa-inspired retreat. Provide a comfy spot for two beside the pool (or in the garden) with a pair of cushioned lounge chairs and large standing umbrella. The sophistication of the subdued palette of cocoa, black and white is enhanced by a few rolled towels on the seats.
5. Mid-mod motel chic. For a playful look, revive the cool poolside aesthetic of a midcentury motel with bright lounge chairs, lanterns and desert-inspired plants like agave and palm. A classic grill and retro cooler would make fun additions for a summer pool party.
6. Private oasis. Create a refreshingly simple hideaway on a back porch or patio with flowing white curtains, a soothing white and pale blue palette and a few comfortable seating options. Highlighting natural fibers and textures like canvas, linen and cotton voile will bring interest to the neutral color scheme.
7. Low-slung lounge. Enhance a small urban patio or rooftop garden with an exotic lounge zone filled with low-slung furniture and extra-large floor cushions. Bring in lots of potted plants for a lush jungle feel, and echo the colors of plant life with chartreuse cushions.
8. Dining porch. A simple wood table and chairs on the porch convey a charming farmhouse feel, perfect for enjoying family dinners outside on pleasant evenings. Wood furniture that’s not designed to be outdoors will deteriorate over time if exposed to the elements, so use your table in a covered area, and don’t place a precious piece outside — flea market and yard sale finds are ideal. You can also limit wear and tear by applying several coats of an outdoor paint or finish to the wood.
9. Crisp nautical. A blue and white color palette looks sharp when partnered with sleek metal buckets holding potted plants. Simple white lattice makes an easy privacy screen, and it can double as wall storage or a display area: Use S-hooks to hang potted plants, decor or anything you might like to have close at hand.
10. Nap-worthy daybed. A protected porch is the best spot for a daybed — somewhere tucked away where you can relax, read or nap to the sound of birdsong and the touch of a gentle breeze. Go for a ready-made daybed or rig up your own using a metal twin bed frame and plenty of outdoor cushions.