I was thrilled to see that this month’s issue of Elle Decor features the East Hampton garden of cooking celebrity, Ina Garten. I happen to love Ina Garten’s cookbooks, Food Network t.v. show and recipes and, as a fellow Long Islander, I always enjoy catching a glimpse of the beautiful estates on the East End. This magazine spread included page after page of stunning photos (if you haven’t seen the article, you can check it out here), which inspired me to take another look at my own backyard and to consider ways to make this space more cozy and inviting. After doing a bit of research and perusing lots of photos of beautiful outdoor living spaces, I came up with the following 11 ways to create a cozy outdoor living space:
1.Furniture: There are almost as many options for outdoor furniture as indoor furniture. Consider what pieces you want (dining table and chairs, loveseat, armchairs, coffee table, etc.) and what style appeals to you. Then select the material you prefer (teak wood, wrought iron and wicker are just a few of the options). Pinterest is a fantastic resource if you’re not sure what you like. Like indoor furniture, this is an investment so you want to be clear about the look you’re going for.
2.Cushions and Accent Pillows: This is a great way to create a color palette for your seating area and bring some personality to your space. From playful florals to sophisticated geometric patterns, there are plenty of options that will allow you to create a mood and some visual interest.
3.Outdoor Rug: There are some beautiful outdoor rugs which go a long way in creating intimacy and the feeling of being indoors. These rugs are able to withstand the elements and come in an array of colors and patterns. Be conscious of working with your aesthetic and choosing colors and/or patterns that complement your cushions and pillows, rather than compete with them.
4.Lighting: Lighting instantly adds cozyness to a space and it’s a necessity if you plan to use your space at night. Depending on your space, lighting might be strings of overhead lights, sconces mounted on the wall, solar lights on stakes around your seating area or simpy some candles. There are many lovely options so assess what your needs are and proceed from there.
5.Plants/Flowers: This is one of the cheapest and easiest (and in my opinion, one of the most fun) ways to cozy up your space. Keep track of how much sun your space gets, as it will affect your ability to grow certain plants/flowers. If you’re not sure which ones will work best, visit a garden center and inquire. It is also helpful to snap a few photos of your outdoor space to show them. That will help them guide you toward the plants that will be best suited to your space. Confession: I am someone who often becomes so enraptured by all of the gorgeousness at the garden center that I tend to buy too much. My advice: start with a just few key plants. You can always buy more and build on it later, once you’ve had a chance to “live in” the space.
6.Wind Chimes: Wind chimes can be a wonderful addition to an outdoor space if, like me, you find the look and sound of them appealing.You can find wind chimes made of bamboo, metal, and crystal, among other things and the material affects the sound of the chimes. If you’d like to add them to your space, shop around to find the look and sound that you prefer.
7.Hammock or Swing Chair: If you have a nice shady space, this can be a true invitation to relax. Hammocks can be mounted on trees or on posts. Add some comfy pillows and a good book and you’ve got yourself a little slice of heaven!
8.Bar Cart: Bar carts are great for entertaining, inside and out. Whether you’re setting it up to serve tea in the afternoon, cocktails, or hot dogs with all the fixins’, bar carts can be a great way to keep everything you need organized and close at hand.
9.A Fire Pit/Outdoor Fireplace: A luxury indeed, but how can I discuss creating a cozy outdoor space and NOT mention this one?! Nothing like snuggling up to a fire to create ambiance and intimacy (not to mention, smores!). Some are built into the patio and some are stand alone units. Like patio furniture, this one is a bit of an investment, so shop around and be clear about exactly what you want/need in your space.
10.Speakers/Docking Station for Music: Whether you’re enjoying your space alone, or entertaining, music almost always enhances the experience. Some speakers can be wired into the wall or mounted overhead (and will most likely require an electrician to install). There are also battery operated speakers disguised as rocks and other garden elements. Find what suits your space, then get busy creating your playlists 😉
11.Bring the Inside Out: You’d be surprised how many indoor accessories work well outdoors. Candles, trays, mirrors and statues, to name a few. As you’re enjoying your space, consider what decorative pieces might be appropriate and then have fun repurposing some of your indoor pieces.
With the beauty of nature all around and a little attention to decor, your outdoor space can easily become a beautiful sanctuary.
Have a wonderful, Wellegant™ week!