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You spent weeks narrowing down paint colors for your bedroom. Your living room strikes the perfect balance of comfort and style. So why not devote the same energy and design know-how to your outdoor space? Here’s how to create a seamless extension of the indoor look that’s unmistakably yours.

 

Style of Furniture

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Choose outdoor furniture with a good design relationship to your home’s interior, as well as to its architectural style and natural surroundings. If modern is the style you love, go for a furniture collection with tailored, sleek lines. If your home’s location has a by-the-water vibe, consider furniture made with durable, nautical-inspired teak.

Recent advances in the quality of outdoor fabrics, venting systems and the use of marine-grade woods mean that you can now have fully upholstered sofas and chairs on your patio. They look almost indistinguishable from those made for indoor use, and their plush, cozy appeal makes them a great fit for cottage-inspired patios and extended outdoor lounging sessions. Choose white upholstery for a classic resort or spa feel, or add personality to your outdoor space with a bold color that pops against blue skies and green foliage.

 

Lighting

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String lights have exploded in popularity for a reason. An affordable way to add a dose of cafe romance to your outdoor space, string lights just might be the easiest way to instantly transform a patio, yard or deck.

Another way to amp up the atmosphere of your patio is to use groupings of lanterns to bring candlelight–real or battery-operated, if the wind is a factor–into the equation. You can also find floor or table lamps made for outdoor use, and if your outdoor space is covered, consider hanging a chandelier or pendant lights over the seating area to recreate the feel of an indoor dining room or lounge.

 

Rugs, Pillows and Accessories

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Accessories and decor are where your personal style can really shine.

A patterned outdoor rug is a great way to create a luxe feel for your space and tie together furniture, plantings and other accessories. Not only are outdoor rugs nice on days when the sun is hot and your feet are bare, they’re an easy way to give a wide-open area room-like parameters.

Decorative pillows covered in outdoor fabrics are perfect for introducing new colors to the mix, changing up your look to reflect the season and making the space feel “finished.” If you opted for wood or neutral upholstery for your furniture, use pillows to bring in prints that help make the space feel fresh and different.

Then there are the little things that go a long way toward bringing an outdoor space to life: an interesting bird feeder, a subtle but soothing water feature, planters in unexpected modern shapes–even metal or ceramic wall hangings that can function as outdoor art. Think about accessories you can add and subtract based on the weather and the occasion: soft throws for cocktails with friends on a cool evening, a basket filled with magazines for an afternoon of lounging, a vase of cut flowers for an al fresco brunch.

 

Treat your outdoor space as an extension of the best indoor features of your home, and before you know it, the patio will be everyone’s favorite room.

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