Classic Design: The Great Outdoors

By: Doug Wilson

Live the great outdoors in style!
Live the great outdoors in style!
Photo courtesy of Pier 1 Imports



Officially we have hit Summer and that means the entertainment season has begun. We have all had our summer parties and outdoor dinners in years past, while trying to recreate a new setting and decor each year on our patio and decks. But let’s think how we can reinvent our annual summer gathering to bring NEW life into outdoor entertainment. As in real estate, we talk...location, location, location!

Ok...we have, in past, decorated our tables with the “new fangled” accessories and floral arrangements recommended by experts like me...but now let’s think “outside (no pun intended) the box”.


You might have some lovely trees in your back yard that are yearning for company. Pick up your outdoor table and chairs and “move” to a location, in your yard, that makes you feel comfy and intimate. So often while on a patio or deck I feel “exposed” and “on stage”. By taking your dining area under the trees and near your shrubs you have immediately created decor and a private setting to enjoy with your friends, family and loved ones.


Now you have your location in your back yard. Yea!

Bring your indoor-out! We all have our place settings for indoor use them outside. Don’t be afraid of indoor plates and flatware to be used outside! They are probably safer outside than inside since they will only fall on the grass under your foliage. Set your table like you would inside for a normal dinner party. Now, bring out a nice lamp that goes with the setting and place in the center of the table or throw an extension cord over a tree and hang a round paper lantern on a branch with a dimmer or very low wattage bulb to give ambient light. Candles are also very welcome, citronella perhaps. Please do not be afraid to bring out your indoor items to create the environment you want to have but bring them in at night as I have left indoor items overnight to get rained on in the bad! OOPS!


Whether you have outdoor furniture you are proud of or something you are getting by does not matter! There are so many choices in color and pattern to spice up any furniture and setting. If your chairs need a bit of a lift, add a great lumbar pillow to update your seating. There are so many choices available for any stylistic choice. Place-mats and napkins can also make a dramatic impact for your own personal style.



Our current design esthetic is a throw back to the fifties, and sixties while currently reinventing the patterns of days gone by. I personally love the “new” colors and patterns that give life and personality to every homeowner who wants to personalize their home!

You Go!!!!

MORE: Check out Doug Wilson's take on closet spaces and summer decor!