Take it outside: Stylish elements for outdoor living - The Buffalo News

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Take it outside: Stylish elements for outdoor living

For some, it’s enough to have a comfortable spot outside to eat, sit, check out the neighborhood. For others, it’s also about creating an area that rivals the inside in terms of comfort, design and personal style.

Fortunately, one good formula for decorating your outdoor space is not so different than the one you may use indoors: Go with neutral-colored seating and pop it up with pillows, pots, flowers, accent pieces and other accessories.

This season, as always, there are some trends and news. Shades of blue are popular on cushions, pillows and other accessories. Outdoor-fabric ottomans and ceramic garden stools are determined to find a place on your porch, patio or deck. And one passion simply refuses to fizzle.

“Fairy gardening still sparks a lot of interest,” said Mark Chudzinski, manager of Faery’s Plant Market in Lockport. Local greenhouses and nurseries continue to offer fairy figurines and decorative accessories for these miniature gardens that add plenty of charm.

Here’s a look at some of the new things in outdoor furnishings and decor to check out this spring.

Bigger dining tables

There’s good news for homeowners with the space, the desire to dine outdoors and the cast of characters to join them.

“I’m seeing a trend in bigger tables – a 54-inch square that easily fits four benches around it rather than a 48-inch round table with four chairs,” said Guy T. Berberich, home and garden decor manager at Menne Nursery and Garden Artistry, 3100 Niagara Falls Blvd., Amherst.

That same square table can work with four chairs – two on a side – and two benches; you can always squeeze an extra kid or two on a bench. The table and four benches shown above cost about $2,500.

Another option: “One of the new and exciting things weve found this year was a cast-aluminum extension table. It goes from 72 inches to 104 inches so you can go from six to 10 people,” said Wendy Bailey, from Arthur’s Home Furnishings, 4288 S. Buffalo St., Orchard Park.

This works nicely for people who need the extra space only when they entertain.

Accessories galore

It should come as no surprise by now that there’s an outdoor version of almost any accessory you use inside. Weatherproof rugs made from recycled plastic or polypropylene. Pillows and poufs in outdoor fabrics – stripes, geometrics, florals, birds and insects. Shade-providing umbrellas, of course. And tableware in an array of colors and patterns to echo any color scheme you dream up. Even the color of your birdhouse, watering can, gardening tools and gloves can pick up your theme.

The starting point for your outdoor palette may be the cushions you use on your furniture. While there are many colors from which to choose – red, lime green, orange, neutrals or whatever else suits your decor and preferences – some colors do take a front seat this season.

“We’re doing quite a few different shades of blue – aqua, which is on the blue side; royal blue, even the gray-blues. Navy is a nice change because it is so traditional. We haven’t had it for years,” Bailey said.

Blue, which also has made a comeback in interior design, is well suited to popular outdoor furniture finishes as well.

“I think a lot of people like a driftwood color on their furniture, and a lot of the blues go with that,” Bailey added.

Unique fire pits

Whether propane, natural gas or wood-burning, fire pits continue to gain in popularity and unique styling, often becoming the centerpiece in the backyard. Flip through catalogs or walk through local stores that sell them and you’ll find the choices range from rustic to contemporary, with some quite sculptural.

“A fire pit extends the season. You can get out there on cool spring and fall nights,” Berberich said.

Among the options: A fire pit that comes in a choice of table-top materials, including granite, burner designs and artistic glass colors that fill the center area disguising the burner. Berberich noted that this line of American-made fire pits, which are coffee-table height and begin at $1,500, also are portable. If homeowners have to move, they can take it with them, as opposed to built-in styles.

Also on the flame front: Lanterns in a wide range of colors, finishes and sizes might just be the accessory of the moment. They’re everywhere. But candles, including flameless, are just one option. Lanterns also can be displayed or hung just decoratively. Pier 1 shows a candle-less one transformed into a terrarium.

Outdoor art and finishing touches

No space has to be left untouched. Chudzinski pointed out that cocomoss fiber wall planters and hanging bags that have annuals planted right in them can be hung on a fence or the side of a garage. Clocks, wall hangings, metal sculptures, statuary and birdhouses can be part of your decor. Decorative paper lanterns, such as the ones shown here from Pier 1, always look festive. Outdoor curtains and screens create privacy.

Then comes the lighting: In addition to lanterns and landscape lighting, including solar choices, other options include string lights, table lamps and chandeliers designed for outdoor use.

No one wants to be left out in the dark.

email: smartin@buffnews.com

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