Another Decorating Dilemmas Party at Serenity Now - MY FAVORITE PARTY!


I was so excited yesterday when Amanda at Serenity Now told me she would be throwing another Decorating Dilemmas Party!  This is my ABSOLUTE favorite blog party ever.  Where else can you get free, unabashed decorating advice from fellow savvy, "full of talent" bloggers?  And of course, you can give advice on their projects too!  It's so much fun and I hope you'll go over and join the party.  
Okay, here's my current dilemma....

Spring is a comin' and my back patio is in need of some lovin'!!
(sounds like a bad country song!)

Here's what it looks like...

(sorry for the big white space on the right.  I took this photo last Spring before I really knew what I was doing!  Okay, I still don't know what I'm doing most days!)

I stained the concrete in 2 colors, a rust and black.  Then I painted the black border all the way around.

Here's what the patio looked like before...
(that's Mr. FYN in all his glory!  And my mom-in-law's weiner dog.  I love callin' them weiner dogs, instead of dauschands!)
So I think the concrete stain was a good thing, you?  

Okay, so here's where I need YOUR advice.
Goal:  To furnish & accessorize the patio and make it look LESS ghetto and MORE fabulous!

Budget:  Pretty much non-existent, but I'm savvy at cheap treasure hunting, repurposing, spray paint, etc.  Will probably have to buy a few things, but trying to stay as LOW as I can go!

Measurements:  24 Ft x 10 Ft.  (4 ft is not covered and is typically where we put the BBQ pit)

Windows to consider:  There are 3 windows to the left of the back door ( 2 are 3ft wide x 5ft tall & center one is 4ft wide x 5ft tall) and 1 window to the right (little under 3ft wide x 5ft tall)

What we do on the patio: Watch the kids terrorize each other play,  BBQ on the weekends, visit with friends after the sun goes down.  We really don't eat out there much because of the Houston heat & Texas sized mosquitos!

Theme: Anything goes.  My home is beachy coastal but the patio really doesn't have to relate!  I'm open for anything!

Furniture:  We actually have a really BAD aluminum patio set with loveseat, 2 chairs and coffee table out there right now, but I didn't take a pic because I swear it would break my camera!  The straps are so worn out that you almost hit the ground when you sit down.  I think they are bound for the trash, and are not "saveable"!  The coffee table might be saved.  It's just a basic rectangle with the tempered "wavy" glass (sexy!)  I like the idea of something that doesn't look like a set, but it needs to be slightly weatherproof.  Sometimes the rain in Houston is the "blowing sideways" kind!

We've also installed some very wide bamboo shades on the side facing the yard, since this picture was taken, to block the afternoon sun.

I truly appreciate your help and I'll give you my 2 cents on your dilemma as well!



Unknown said...

Oh, gosh Kendall...I have no back patio so I'm useless! I wish I did, tho. Since it's more of a visiting spot than eating spot, I can envision some neat wicker furniture there or a table with a few rockers. Since you want to do this on the cheap, I truly think you could find something unique and cool at thrift shops or GW. Such as an old trunk for your table and an old kitchen table in a farmhouse style along the side of the house to serve drinks/snacks from or to help hold stuff for grilling. It'll be fun to see what you come up with! Oh, and yea...the floor is great stained!


Pam @ bibbidi-bobbidi-beautiful said...

Have you checked craigslist? There will likely be lots of patio furniture being added in the spring.

Here's one option I found...
looks like the seat cushions are still wrapped in plastic!

Angie Holden said...

Take that glass off the coffee table. Cover in plywood and add a cushion/spray paint. BENCH!! :) Find another one somewhere to do the same to it -- instant seating -- on the cheap.

Meg said...

So here's a challenge since you're the queen of thrift. West Elm has the most gorgeous furniture that I think could inspire your outdoor furniture look: http://www.interiordesignideas.net/wp-content/uploads/2009/08/West-Elm_OverlappingSquaresDaybed.png

and there's also this table with chairs: http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/uimages/chicago/2008-05-12-we2.jpg

Definitely way too expensive, but I'm wondering if you could incorporate that kind of geo look into your staging. Maybe cheap outdoor furniture that you can spray paint brown, black or white and then find some fun indoor/outdoor (Waverly has some beautiful prints, holla!) fabric that could cover some pillows to go on that furniture? Then a fun outdoor rug, a couple of pretty potted plants to really set the scene...

And if you're looking for more decor to add that stylish and unique element, West Elm also has wall ornaments with the same pattern that could be cool as wind chimes or hanging up in that area somehow: http://www.decorpad.com/photos/2008/08/07/09ace120fe75.jpg

and: http://s2.thisnext.com/media/230x230/overlapping-squares-wall-art_42608495.jpg

Very specific, I know, but I just love the look and would love to see someone somehow capture it in a thrifty way.

Good luck!

Be Colorful Coastal said...

Well you are definitely headed in the right direction. I am really impressed with the stained concrete. This is something I would like to try on an interior floor in a commercial building. I was wondering if it wears well or fades.

I live in Iowa or lately referred to as The Tundra. I long for days where we can sit outside again. We moved in with ratty old patio furniture that I finally took to the curb - but hey somebody did pick it up so that still makes me green I think. :) Then we went without anything for four years. Our friends knew to come over with their soccer parent chairs.

You mentioned that you don't want a set look. Love that. If think a couple of adirondak chairs would be cool. If you can't find wooden ones in your budget then buy some plastic ones and spray paint them a fun unexpected color. Then maybe a table and side chairs. I think it is fun if the chairs are all different.- that adds character. The table could even be wooden if it is painted and poly coated it should with stand the weather. Fill in with potted plants, maybe a potted tree or two.

alanna rose said...

I like the stain, way better than a cement slab :)

I'd look for an indoor/outdoor rug to anchor a seating area. And I'd haunt the GW until I found enough chairs/benches for all of my friends to sit on. Then I'd start painting and sewing up pillows. Someone mentioned a drink cart/sideboard - I think that would be a fab addition.

Good luck!

Amanda @ Serenity Now said...

1. I am wondering now if you live in my aunt's neighborhood b/c everything looks suspiciously similar (although I know a lot of the neighborhoods in Katy have the same look). ;)

2. You and I must have very similar taste...you're just better at applying it. ;) Before I scrolled down to read about your bamboo shades, that's exactly what I was thinking of. :) I bet they look fab!

3. I bet you could find a neat metal tea cart or something similar to use to hold plates/cups/serving pieces when you entertain, or for the "chef" as he is grilling.

4. I love big galvanized buckets for drinks. Maybe you can find a neat metal art piece to hang on the brick. You can buy special screws that go into the brick.

5. Hit the Salvation Army soon and I bet you'll find something you can fix up if your other stuff is not worth saving. I *might* be in Katy around June 4-6ish for the cousin's wedding. We should meet up for coffee and you can show me where the bestest stuff is.

6. A few large pots of herbs or easy to maintain plants will brighten things up.

7. A table/station/area for some outdoor games to keep the kids busy??

Thank you so much for your sweet words!! :) I'm so glad you linked up!

Kim said...

Let's see. I'm a huge fan of mismatched furniture. I see some outdoor wicker with lots of pillows (for outdoor use of course) in many different patterns and colors. A table, not wicker, cause that would match, and an outdoor rug in a polypropelene (sp?) with a dark border. Then LOTS of plants in lots of different planters. All yardsale finds of course. So, good luck!!!

southerninspiration said...

I don't know but I'd be willing to help you look...I'll keep my eyes open in Sugar Land and let you know if I see anything that would be great, ok?


Kathleen said...

Great suggestions above. AND I was at Hancock fabrics today and they had a TON of outdoor fabrics on sale for 70% off - it might be worth a look??? Can't wait to see what you do!

Jessi @ Yankee Belle Home said...

Everyone has made great suggestions! I have to add a firepit! One of those stand alone ones. That's the first thing I envisioned when I saw your patio. I love the staining you did!

FrouFrouBritches said...

I love the stained concrete. GORGEOUS! I love the whole mis-match thing. I love the mix of wicker and iron stuff together, but that's just me. I definitely would go for the outdoor rug, even though it would cover your stained concrete a little bit.

Xazmin said...

Okay, first - LOVE the stain...it really makes a huge difference!

I don't really know where to begin, because wow - what a great space to work with!

Did you say you hae a fire pit? Because that rocks!

And I think ther might be room for a littl couples porch swing?

I think any form of furniture honestly is going to look great...like I said, what great space!

All Things Cherish said...

What a beautiful blank slate!!! I love the stain and border you added, that is gorgeous. I think a porch/patio swing would be great. Also, since you have the fans maybe go w. a coastal/beachy theme. Maybe an outdoor rug and a sitting area on one end? Check Craigslist, in my area I've noticed a ton of patio furniture for sale right now bc its off season and its not in use so people are wanting to get rid of it. Good luck, this is going to be quite the oasis when you're finished!

Shellbelle said...

First, run to your local Home Depot! Last weekend I went in to buy lightbulbs and walked out with a $179 resin wicker 48-inch table for $37. They were selling off the floor models of last summer's patio furniture to make way for the new. My plan is to repaint some of the mismatched wood chairs I've bought at garage sales for as low as $1.00 to go with it. The table is gorgeous! You can also find an old table at a sale and do what I did here:

What I did with my old hideous one last summer, was to layer it with tablecloths. I used a plastic one on the bottom and covered it with a pretty cloth one set on an angle. That way I could switch out the cloth one when needed and just wipe down the plastic one.

Look for sturdy, old wooden crates that have been "weathered" and clean well, apply a wood preservative, turn upside down and voila — you have little tables to scatter around with chairs for an informal gathering. Top them with a pretty serving tray and a candle in a jar to complete the look.

To make a candle in a jar, use any nice size jar with a lid. Fill partially with sand, add a few shells and a votive candle (in glass container). Cheap, easy and pretty. I store them with the lids on when not in use.

Hope this helps!

Pamela said...

Loving the patio! Also loving your moms wiener dog. We have one next door. Her name is Zoie and every now and then she manages to follow The Hubster in the house after work. He never realizes it until I point out he has a friend!:)

Krista said...

Everyone else has great ideas about furnishings and where to get them...so I'll let those suggestions stand. But be encouraged! You have a lovely porch that looks great with that fab, hot stained concrete! I'm a big fan of outdoor planta to soften spaces, so if I were you I'd start with plants, planta, plants! Hanging, plants that sit on the ground, plants that are on tables. I love em! I've seen succulents in decor mags a lot lately, and they are eye-catching, low-maintenance, and some can be really pretty.

Search my archives for more great ideas!