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    Start With Patio Furniture to Create an Inviting Outdoor Living Space

    Create a whole new living space in your home by bringing some of the indoors outdoors.

    By arranging patio furniture to invite conversation, adding a canopy swing for relaxing comfort, and lighting and other accessories to set the mood, you'll create an inviting gathering place for family and guests.

    Furniture

     

    Choose the patio furniture style that best fits your lifestyle and budget, whether it's wrought iron, wicker, wooden, or polymer, or an eclectic mix. Just like your living room furniture, your patio furniture doesn't have to perfectly match. That's what makes it interesting.

     

    But it should be comfortable, so add cushions and pillows for comfort, small ottomans to prop up your feet, a small table or two for convenience, and a glider bench for total relaxation.

    Lighting

     

    Outdoor lighting — whether it's dramatic or soft and subtle — will create the mood you're seeking in your new outdoor room. And solar lights make it easier than ever to illuminate your outdoor spaces.

     

    With no need for electrical wiring, solar lights can be placed anywhere they're needed — to light a walkway, brighten and define a patio area, show off a fountain, or accent plants and trees. Use your imagination to create any look you want.

     

    Solar lights can set a mood that evokes elegance and sophistication or comfort and relaxation. They're also not limited to providing just white light. Some models come in different hues, providing splashes of color for holiday or party outdoor decorating.

     

    Solar lights offer many styles, installation nearly anywhere, and easy maintenance. Simply clean the solar panels when necessary to ensure they stay charged. Solar lights also are safe because they don't generate heat or require wiring.

    Shade

     

    A canopy swing offers protection from the sun, but others enjoying the outdoor living area need protection from the sun's rays, as well.

     

    Consider adding a retractable awning (if your outdoor living space is on your back porch), a large umbrella, or a sail shade, which is flexible enough that you can attach it to nearly anything, from the side of a house to a tree. Make sure they're large enough to offer as much shade as possible for those sitting on your patio furniture.

    Enhancements

     

    Think about what appeals to your senses and consider adding those among your patio furniture. A tabletop water feature or a small fountain will provide the soothing, gurgling sounds of water. Like bright splashes of color? Choose cushions and pillows, umbrella, or sail shade in vibrant fabrics or add a small brightly-painted table.

     

    Plants also will enhance your outdoor living area, softening the hard surfaces and adding color. Use varied shapes, sizes, and textures for pots, and consider creating height by either hanging plants from a shepherd's hook or available wall.

     

    Consider including surprising features, such as a privacy screen, outdoor rug, or the ever-popular fire pit, which can be used year 'round. They extend your outdoor entertaining season by giving friends a cozy place to visit in cool weather. Even in warmer months, a fire pit can ward off a nighttime chill.

     

    Fire pits come in a variety of styles including freestanding fire bowls and bowls mounted in the center of low tables that are convenient for guests to sit around. Another style, the chiminea, is an upright fireplace that stands on legs and has a chimney on top. Wood is inserted through a door on the front. No matter which one you prefer, a backyard fire pit adds a special touch to outdoor living.

     

    Indeed, by thinking a little creatively, your outdoor living area will be much more than patio furniture; it will be interesting, colorful, lively, and very welcoming.

     

    By Carol Davis