Tuesday, June 11, 2013

21 June Monthly Challenge: A Plan for Our Patio

One of the questions I get asked frequently is how I go through the design process when working on a space.  Now, to set things straight, designer I am not.  I just like to play with colors and create spaces that reflect us as a family.  I enjoy mixing and matching patterns, purchases and DIY projects.  I never went to school for design, so I am no expert.  But absolutely happy to share my personal process.

Since this month we are creating an outdoor living space from scratch, I thought it would be the perfect example for answering the question.  Our home is often times evolving and I may tweak things by adding a piece of furniture or accessory here or there to create spaces that are lived in, loved and built over time.  But there are times when a room begins as a blank slate and needs a good foundation and vision. 

Since my hubby and family live in our home with me, I like to create visuals, not only for myself, but for them as well.  That way, we can all be on the same page and have an idea as a whole of where the spaces will ultimately end up.  This also helps break down budget and shopping lists and confirms ahead of time if certain patterns or colors will work together.  I do this by creating a Style Tile {a.k.a. mood board, inspiration board, etc...}.

I have shared in the past the process for actually creating these, by simply using Olioboard, you can find that post here.

Again, the reason I love doing this so much is because I can see everything in one place, and how all the elements work together.  I can keep track of what I have, what I need to purchase and what I want to DIY.  But the best part is that it is super simple to change things as needed; if my indecisiveness kicks in, if an item is out of stock or if I completely botch a planned project.  For example, I really really wanted some red garden chairs for our outdoor dining table, but they are a smidge too costly for this project, which is why you see the yellow alternative swapped out above.

You know I love to get super chatty, but I am going to try to keep this short, sweet and simple.  When starting any space, indoors or out, I start out by looking for inspiration, and making a list of everything we want in the space.  I shared those details for our patio in the kick-off post here.

Once I have my list of "wants" and dreams for the space, it is time to put it all together and make sense of it all.

The first really important step, is to determine what you already have that you want to incorporate into the space.  I search Google and online stores for images of our items, or something close enough for the visual effect.

There are items that we already had on hand before starting the project, that needed to be present within the ultimate design.  White planters, a boot tray, a striped market umbrella, indoor sunburst mirror and outdoor cushions.  We also have the bamboo salad servers, I just tossed them into the mix since I like the dipped effect and we plan to entertain.

Now that I have inventory of what we have and plan on using, I try to find color inspiration.  What is a common theme between our existing items?  Once I see color trends within the items we have, I start looking for something that ties all of those colors together.  It may be within one of the objects we already have, a piece of art, a rug, a quilt, a photograph or inspiration found online or an item I spot while out shopping.   It really can be found anywhere.  And just because I am using a specific object for color inspiration, doesn't mean that I ultimately need to purchase it or even incorporate it into the space.  It's just something I use to design around and as a guide for making my choices.  For our patio project, I had seen this platter at World Market.  I didn't purchase it, but I loved every single color in it.  So it is now my color inspiration.

Now that I know what we have, and the colors I want to use, I look back at our inspiration photos/wishlist to pick out things that we could DIY by either building, thrifting, modifying things we have around the home, or purchasing something that we want to tweak/enhance.

When it comes to our patio, I would love to have a grilling/bar cart, and I have the perfect solution already sitting here at home.  Those condiment jars are just so darling, but I know that I could whip something up similar with mason jars I have on hand, along with my Silhouette.  I have a cutlery caddy as well, but it is just plain white, so stripes and gold embellishments would be an oh-so-darling addition.  And although I would need to purchase the different planters pictured above, I could tweak them with the help of some simple paint treatments. 

So now I have selected  items that we have and items that we want to DIY.  The final step is determining the items that we will need to buy.

Some plants, a footstool, a couple of extra throw pillows, accessories and dining chairs, and we have ourselves a plan for the outdoor patio space!

So there you have it.  A look at our plans, and how we got there!  Of course, these visions are always subject to change, and often do, but it's great to have a starting point and to have a plan that my Mr. and I both agree to.

Now... off to do some more of those DIY projects!

How about you?  Any other tips for getting started with a space, and picking colors and items?


  1. I love the colour palette! So fun and multi-season friendly!
    xo Kerri at HollyMuffin

  2. I love the plant containers. I think I will have to make some myself!

  3. This is a great way to organize changes. I'm going to use this in the future. I can't wait to see how your final product looks.

  4. Love the colors!! Love all the ideas!!

  5. I can't wait to see this pulled together! It is going to be so fun and cheery, I just love the colors. I too am obsessed with creating inspiration boards, they help make the vision a reality in my opinion, plus they are fun to make!
    ~ Kimberley

  6. I know you love to shop at Target, as do I, but where else do you shop at? What are your favorites? Do you buy on-line most often? I hate having to pay S&H, but the closest Container Store is an hour or so away, which is one of my favorites.


    1. Hi Kelly!

      I always love to check out HomeGoods {TJMaxx/Marshalls}, World Market, Ikea, Joss & Main and Amazon. Those are my "go to" stores, but I am also a fan of checking out smaller local gems and boutiques to look for unique items as well. I really really dislike paying for shipping, so I always wait for sales and coupon codes, or purchase a few items at once to save shipping costs. We are fairly close to the twin cities though, so I have quite a bit at my fingertips as well.


  7. Such an inspiration! I love all the colors and mood - very vibrant!

  8. Wow! So pretty! I love that you even included the salad utensils, that definitely is a small detail that I would not have thought to include.

  9. Awesome plan! I love the colors.

  10. I very much enjoyed reading your planning process and taking into consideration what you already had on hand is such a smart tip! Excited to see how it all turns out. This is great inspiration for my own little patio, which needs some TLC this summer.

  11. Goodness gracious, I really need to get my landlord to fix our deck -- these are great ideas!


  12. You're amazing. End of :)

    All explained so clearly and I've already set myself up with an account on Olioboard....... let the fun begin.


  13. LOVE all of the color!! I have that same red ikat pouf!


  14. Very helpful. I'm trying my best to branch out and go for more colour in our living room, but I'm finding it difficult! Finding one piece, like the plate, that incorporates all the colours I'm going for is such a good idea.

  15. Cute love the ottoman and bar cart DIY idea :) xo Kristin

  16. It is going to look fantastic! I love all the color. Thanks for sharing.

  17. I love the cart! I would love to get one for my patio, too.

  18. Replies
    1. Here is the link to the bar cart: http://www.zincdoor.com/p/Avalon-Turquoise-Bar-Cart__PTAFDS19101.aspx

      Now you know why it is my inspiration and why I will need to get creative with it! :)



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