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Do your outdoor living spaces look the same year after year? Here are tips and tricks to update your patio decor using inexpensive accessories in summer colors.
Is your patio decorated exactly the same every year?

Several years ago in our old house, we bought an outdoor dining table with floral printed chair cushions.  It was very pretty the first year. And kind of nice the next few years. But after a while, it got really boring. The same print. Every. Year. And it was too busy to style much else.

So I began to hate it.

If this is you or you’d like to avoid a similar experience, read on. Today I’m talking about how to update your outdoor living spaces with accent colors, particularly what I perceive as the colors of summer.
Now to start off, it certainly helps if your large furniture purchases were bought in neutral colors. Our sectional couch has a rattan frame and natural cushions. The tables are cream and teak wood, which allowed us to go in any direction color-wise.

At first I was non-committal and for each event I chose a completely new palette, allowing the pillows to drive the color direction. Mostly I dragged outside a selection of indoor pillows and needed to put them away when the event was over.

But ultimately I wanted outdoor pillows that could stay out all summer and I made the commitment to go with blue and white. I bought planters to match and eventually added a blue rug to really pull the space together. It looked fabulous and much like an outdoor living room and you can see the result in my  OUTDOOR LOUNGE post.

Still, as pretty as blue and white is, I began to worry that I would get bored with this pairing year after year. When it was just pillows they were easy enough to swap out, but now I had committed to a rug, too.

The simple solution was to find accent colors that could work with my palette and I enjoy picking a color story each year to update the look. Last fall I updated with  BURNT ORANGE accents, but this year I chose to use vivid summer brights in yellow and fuchsia.

Here are 6 ways to add summer color to your outdoor living spaces.
1. Flowers – Ok, this one is the most obvious and, in my opinion, the most fun! It’s also where I start. If you choose a color palette and buy accessories, and then get to the nursery and nothing fits with it, you’re stuck.  So I always pick my plants first and work everything else around it. I selected fuchsia impatiens and yellow begonias, knowing both would look lovely with my chinoiserie pots.
2. Books and magazines – A great way to add color both inside the house and out is with books and magazines. I love to sit outside and read, so this makes perfect sense, and when I’m entertaining I try to find selections that are not only interesting to thumb through, but co-ordinated with my palette.
3. Tabletop items – You’re going to be serving anyway, so why not utilize dishes and drink ware to further display your pop colors? The yellow pitcher is perfect for serving sangria or punch and the pink glass bowls would work with ice cream or fruit. You can also use colorful stemware and patterned plates, plus napkins and serving platters. In fact, the options are limitless.
4. Throw blankets – I actually didn’t receive the throw I had ordered, so I used a shirt for the photo here, but it serves the same purpose as the throw that’s on its way. A dash of color tossed on the seating, throws are also useful for when the sun goes down.
5. Fruit and other food items – Never underestimate the styling benefits that food can offer, whether it be a bowl full of lemons or bananas, or something else that goes with the colors that you chose for your own patio. I wouldn’t limit my actual menu this way, but to make a statement for when guests arrive, a well placed platter of color can go a long way.
6. Pillows – Initially, I wasn’t going to include pillows on the list because I already owned mine, but this is a super easy way to add color. Even if, like me, you already have a group of pillows, there’s no reason not to add a new one or two to work with your expanded palette.
What I haven’t yet mentioned, but also needs to be considered, is the color in your natural setting, from the exterior of your house to the trees and natural elements nearby. If you have a huge red bush, you’re not going to be able to ignore it, so better to work with it as part of your design.  In our case it’s all green trees and natural siding, so it’s not a major issue that limits our styling.
And what if you have floral cushions like I had with that early dining table? 

What I didn’t realize then is that you could simply work the same concept but do it in reverse. Rather than using several colors to add interest to a simple palette, instead pull out one individual color from the pattern for your accent, using a different one each year to highlight in your patio decor.

If you love summer as much as I do and enjoy spending time outside, these inexpensive tips and tricks will keep your outdoor living spaces looking fresh and new year after year!

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