how to make over your patio with color
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I have mixed feelings about the warm weather arriving here in Palm Springs. By warm, I mean 90s in March. As I scroll through my social media and see friends and family back east (where I’m from) pummeled by and covered in unwanted snow and I feel grateful to live in the Southern California desert. At the same time, I feel anxious about the early heat. Those of us who are not snow birds and actually live here year round know that summer can be pretty brutal. Our saving grace: pools and outdoor spaces. Inspired by Change Your Home, Change Your Life™ with Color by Moll Anderson and my colorful surroundings, I’ve given my back patio space a makeover.
Caution: work in progress. Previously, this patio was just one thing, a sectional. While the sectional is great, the space had no personality and no homey, “come hang on me” feel. That all changed with a little inspiration from Moll Anderson and a few (okay 15) shopping trips.
look for inspiration
Inspiration is all around you if you’re looking for it. When I need inspiration, I go to my happy place which is the outdoors. Nature is the ultimate source of color inspiration, even here in the desert. Orange has always been my favorite color, but my inspiration for really running with orange out back is a desert sunset. Here in the desert, we really do have exceptional sunsets. Orange and pink are the primary colors you’ll see, popping off a bright blue backdrop. Gorgeous. That is the inspiration for where my patio choices came from.
Inspiration can come from anywhere though, not just nature. It could be a beautiful dish at a restaurant, an Instagram feed, a well put together store window, a new handbag, a bright cocktail (recipe stolen from Moll’s book)…
Color inspiration can also come from senses other than sight. You can also be inspired by sounds, smells, tastes and textures. Our senses are powerful and often link together. Senses like smell can bring about powerful memories, color-filled memories that you can infuse into your living spaces. There may be colors you don’t like and have no idea why. There could be negative memories associated with those colors and those subconscious memories are holding you back, creating aversions to certain colors. It’s interesting, right?
Making over a space does not have to mean buying all new and spending a pile of cash. Before you buy, look around your home and search for items that could be repurposed into your new space. For my patio, I repurposed a few things. I pulled some firesticks (a succulent) from another part of my yard and potted them in the patio in koi pots I bought a year ago and also in this rusty tub the last owners left.
I also repurposed some patio furniture I had from a previous set. The metal frames were previously black and the cushions were worn out and beige. Ick. They’ve been sitting in the garage for awhile, looking pretty sad and ready for the dumpster. I tossed the cushions, purchased new ones and then gave the frames a few coats of glossy white. I can’t believe I almost got rid of the set – it looks amazing with the new patio furniture!
nail key pieces
First think, “what is most important to this space?” For my patio area, it is definitely seating. I already had an emerald-cushioned sectional, so I purchased two modern, orange lounger sets (chair and slanted ottoman) from a local furniture store downtown. Orange is my pop color to compliment the existing emerald/turquoise. These stack, which makes them super ideal for additional seating or small spaces.
We also needed new sunning loungers, so I found two, also local. Now I really feel prepared for all of the upcoming pool parties and out of town guest visits.
If you don’t need new furniture, don’t buy it. Update your existing furniture, and this will vary, with slipcovers, new cushions, throw pillows, throw blankets, a new layer of paint or stain, etc. My sectional is only a year old, not in perfect shape thanks to the sun and my dog’s shedding hair, but definitely not at replacing point. To update it and bring a little life and overall cohesion, I scored two sets of indoor/outdoor throw pillows in both teal and orange. They add beauty/style + comfort, which is a big win.
Even my new orange lounger sets were begging for a different pop of color, pillows to tie them into the rest of the space. I feel so fortunate to have stumbled across these hand-embellished turquoise poufs just yesterday!
Tabletops are another great place to add pops of color and require no commitment. When I was thinking about designing this patio space, I first chose my colors – existing turquoise and new, energizing orange. Then, I headed out around town to all kinds of stores, solely looking for those two colors. It was actually really fun, a scavenger hunt of sorts. I found all kinds of items to use: candles, vases, pots, books, dishes, lights, throws and other random tchotchkes.
There is always a big focus on walls when decorating, which I’ve yet to figure out on my patio. While walls are super important, don’t forget to look down. The floor is a perfect area to add a pop of color. I found this really fabulous woven recycled plastic outdoor rug locally at a chain. Woven plastic is ideal for outside as you can just hose it down or sweep it off, no other maintenance needed.
My back patio is surrounded on 3 sides by glass doors leading to the inside of my home. It goes without saying that I need outdoor mats at these doors to catch fresh-from-the-pool drips and dusty yard feet. I found these amazing doormats at a local boutique and I’m pretty much obsessed. Again, super easy to clean.
tie in near areas
While every room and space inside and outside of my home has its own identity, rooms that are open and flow into another, I try to make cohesive. The easiest way to help one room flow into another is with color. Using a similar color palette (doesn’t need to be exact) will tie the two spaces together. This applies to my patio space as its view is of a smaller seating area. I decided to put an orange lounger over there, along with my freshly painted side table. The matching chair and ottoman will soon join table once I find cushions for them.
don’t forget neutrals
My patio space is a lot of color. Adding pops turned into an explosion of orange and turquoise because it is just that – an outdoor patio space in Palm Springs. It works, but I haven’t forgotten the beauty of neutrals. Neutrals are colors too! As my patio progresses, I’ve been really inspired by white. White seems to be an amazing patio space color as it is bright in its own right and colors pop right off it. As Moll Anderson says, Neutral tones are the perfect backdrop to allow accessories and art to bring on the wow factor!”
Being March after (finally) a lot of rain and snow, everything is in bloom in Southern California. The bushes that line my outdoor walls are bursting with lovely white flowers, giving my white/orange sunning area a gorgeous, complimentary backdrop.
Are you ready to change your life with color? When I wake up in the morning and open my blinds, I smile. This patio makeover makes me SO happy, I can’t even put it into words. I feel inspired to make every room in my house give me the same feels. Moll states that “color is an amazing source of energy…” and she is right. Looking out over my new, brightly decorated patio, I feel energized and recharged!
“If you knew you could change your life in one weekend and clear out the cobwebs of your past with color and a brush, would you do it?” Moll Anderson
You are the color expert. Take “emotional possession” of your life and home by adding pops of color that make YOU happy. Claiming your space with color is as easy as heading to the paint store or lazily looking through local boutiques and markets. If you’re feeling a bit intimidated or uninspired, I highly recommend your first purchase to be Change Your Home, Change Your Life™ with Color by Moll Anderson which you can pick up at Target in the best-selling non-fiction section (Congrats Moll!)