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July 15, 2011 > Colorful and Comfortable Outdoor Living

Colorful and Comfortable Outdoor Living

With summer in full swing, it's a great time to enhance and enjoy your outdoor living space. Think of your porch or patio as an extension of your home. To provide continuity, carry your color scheme outdoors. For example, in my kitchen I have a cobalt blue glass tile backsplash. I've brought the blue outside with large blue pots of flowers and a blue ceramic fountain. I've also repeated my kitchen color scheme outdoors with plastic dishware and table linens.

As you decorate your patio, arrange furniture as you would indoors. For instance, think of your large rectangular patio as if it were a living room/dining room combination. Arrange a sitting area on one side, with a dining area on the other side. Add cushions and pillows for comfort and color. Your sitting area could be an outdoor sofa and loveseat, or try a grouping of several chairs surrounding a fire pit.

You may also want to create a quiet reading area separate from the living area. Arrange a comfortable lounge chair and table, perfect for curling up with a glass of iced tea and a good novel.

Incorporate a storage area outdoors to make storing the cushions and pillows convenient. A large trunk can serve as storage and also as an additional serving table for parties. Or you can create space in a shed or in your garage.

Lighting can give this space a warm glow in the evening. Try a hanging light fixture or a "candelier" above the dining table. Or how about strings of tiny white Christmas lights? Now you can also find table and floor lamps specially designed for outdoor use.

Consider adding drapery treatments to your patio for warmth, color, softness and privacy. There are many attractive water- and fade-resistant fabrics now that are specially made to withstand the elements. These fabrics can also be used to make coordinating cushions, pillows or table linens.

For ambience, nothing beats a water feature. You can find tabletop fountains, wall-mounted fountains and freestanding fountains in a wide variety of styles and materials. Listening to the sound of trickling water will be instantly relaxing.

Art and accessories add a wonderful personal touch to your outdoor living space. A large exterior wall is a great spot for a painted mural or metal wall art. A sculpture or gazing ball can be a beautiful focal point in a prominent corner of your garden. A long stretch of fence can provide the perfect spot for a collection of birdhouses or colorful ceramic platters.

With some imagination, your patio may become the best room in the house.

Anna Jacoby of Anna Jacoby Interiors is a local Interior Designer. Send your design questions to her at Call or fax her at 510-490-0379 or visit

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