Mix and match décor elements and add color and playfulness to get an outdoor space that's eclectic and personal.
There are those who prefer perfectly matched furniture and a monochromatic color scheme in décor. But for those who like to shake things up, it’s time to take it outside.
There’s a free-spirited attitude now in outdoor décor, with mix-and-match elements and an easy, colorful, playful charm.
“People are setting up their outdoor spaces just like their family rooms, with a focus on comfort and conversation,” says Better Homes & Gardens editor Amy Panos. “The idea of mixing different furniture styles is coming outdoors. Rather than a matching set, pair different styles. Put a modern sofa with a raw wood table, for example. Pair a teak dining table with brightly colored, molded plastic chairs.”
The range of colors and patterns in durable outdoor materials is greater than ever.
“I like eclecticism,” says Ikea’s creative lead Karin Gustavsson. “It allows you to create an environment that’s more personal, and much more interesting. The different colors and shapes allow you to create a space based on your own mood.”
Gustavsson was inspired by Indonesian prints and colors for Ikea’s new Jassa collection, which includes Cushion Covers ($6–$7), spatterware Plates ($5 each), plaid woven seagrass Bags ($12 each) and rattan Chairs ($59–$79).
Crate & Barrel’s vice president of design, Raymond Arenson, concurs. “We’re living at an increasingly fast pace, bound to a sleek computer that we keep in our pockets. We need relief, warmth and texture to help us relax,” he says. “Eclecticism is a way of helping us slow down to create our own story.”
He suggests using color and contrast to achieve the look. For example he suggests pairing Crate & Barrel’s new indoor/outdoor Dune Sofa ($1,399) — with a powder-coated steel and mesh frame and Sunbrella upholstery —with a couple of white, cast-aluminum drum tables, a variety of concrete planters, and a bold, checkered blue rug.
Consider throw pillows and rugs as inexpensive ways to add eclectic flair.RH Restoration Hardware’s summer outdoor collection has the Javanese-inspired Kerry Joyce Batik Pillow Collection ($119–$159) in Sunbrella fabrics.
Pieces that get the conversation started are great additions to an eclectic outdoor space.
At Anthropologie, British designer Tracey Boyd’s Moussem Ceramic Stool ($168) takes a Moroccan-inspired pattern back to its simple, geometric roots, in a warm palette of cream, ebony, sky and persimmon. Illustrator Alex Sickling’s Wild Alpaca Pots ($18, both at anthropologie.com) are folk-inspired ceramic pots featuring quirky sketches of playful alpacas.
A woven flower patter creates the back of the breezy Pier 1 Imports Swingasan Blue Medallion Hanging Chair ($350). Also here, a hand-gilded Balinese White Wood Umbrella ($350, both at pier1.com) made of canvas, Durian wood and mother-of-pearl.
Include collections if you’ve got them — a bowl of pretty stones or shells; a group of vintage tins or bottles.
And don’t forget lighting: Battery-operated or electric string lights, lanterns and candles put the finishing touches on a welcoming outdoor space with lots of personality.