Of all the times of the year, spring in Atlanta is my favorite season to enjoy the great outdoors. It’s also the time to plan for a fun and creative outdoor living space. This week’s article will walk you thru quick and easy ideas to get your patio or balcony ready for the season. To make shopping breezy and easy, I have checked out the best places here in town to buy new patio furniture and accessories. So put on some sunscreen and let’s get going!
New Balcony or Patios - For those that just bought a new condo or home, here are some quick tips for designing a great new outdoor living space. Hopefully these tips will enable you to create an eye-catching look your neighbors will surely envy.
Developing Your Look - as I have stated before, always extend your design style from the interior of your home to the outside. This will give your outdoor living space a larger and more cohesive feeling.
- Traditional - If your interior style is Traditional, give your patio or balcony a cozy comfortable garden look. Your design style will consist of furniture made of wrought iron, wicker or teak. Toss in some colorful floral or stripe cushions, small or oversized hurricane lamps and sculptural potted topiary plants. Accent with colorful potted flowers to give it a rich garden like feel.
- Contemporary - For the Neo style…clean, slick and edgy outdoor furniture made of stainless, powder coated aluminum, high gauge plastic or a wood/metal mix is the way to go. Accent with oversized white canvas umbrellas, solid white or bold color cushions and cylinder style candleholders for a clean hip look. Container plants should be structured and geometric in shape.
Setting Your Shopping Strategy - get yourself prepared with all the planning tools you need before heading out the door (floor plan, space measurements and photos of the area you’re planning for).
- Patio/Balcony Measurements - like you would do for designing new interior space; draw up a quick floor plan with measurements (length and width) of the space you will be shopping for. Include where doorways are on your floor plan so that outdoor furniture does not hinder access into your home. Draw yourself several floor plan layouts of how you would like the furniture to be placed and shop according to your plan and measurements.
- Color Impact - pre-determine your color scheme so that when shopping you have a set plan of what color(s) will blend cohesively from your interior to your exterior. This includes cushion, umbrella and even flower color selection.
- Furniture Measurements - take along a tape measure to get the sizes of the furniture pieces you have selected. In most cases, the retail store will have tear sheets of each furniture item that will include length, width and height of item. Before you buy anything, go home and lay out the furniture measurements in the space you’re designing to ensure everything will fit. This will eliminate the need for returns.
- Accessories - hold off on purchasing accessories until you have your new furniture in position. This will give you the opportunity to step back and see what is really needed, rather than overspending for things not needed.
- Accents - once you have stepped back and evaluated what accents you need to complete the setup, photograph the space and make a list of what will look best to enhance the setup. Then go out and shop.
- Plants - make sure the plants you purchase are adaptable to the new space size, sun intensity and look of your design style. Buying an oversized plant because it was a great buy can turn out to be a mistake you later wished you had not done. Secure the help of your local nursery or home improvement store plant resource for tips of what will work best for your space. Be able to tell them what light exposure you have (how many hours of sun the area gets, is the space a north/south/east/west exposure). A BIG error in maintaining healthy plants is not knowing how often to water them. LAWD… I have seen some healthy green plants go to their grave in a matter of a week by their owner not knowing how and when to water. Also include water saving soil enhancers that help store water more effectively.
- Lighting - for balconies I suggest candle lit hurricane lamps, column style glass cylinders or even battery powered votive candles in glass votive holders. For larger patios low voltage accent lighting is a great way to set the mood.
- Outdoor Dining - make sure that your entertaining resources (placemats, dinnerware/serveware and barware accessories) match your design style look.
- Floor Covering - although there is an ongoing trend to add floormats or rugs to your outdoor living space, they are sometimes difficult to maintain and to keep them looking new.
Existing Outdoor Space - for those that are re-opening existing patio or balcony space, a good spring cleaning is in order to make your extended home a great place to chill. Here are some tips for getting it ready.
- Cleaning - get out the bucket, household cleaner and sponge to spit shine your current furniture and accessories. Nothing is worse than sharing pollen residue on clean clothes and skin. There are various cleaning products to support the surface and finish of what you’re cleaning. My mother Margo always swore that ammonia water for glass surfaces was best. And that a solution of Dawn or Ivory liquid cleaned up metal surfaces “mighty fine.” For wood surfaces, I suggest you use specially formulated wood cleaning products. This will ensure that the wood is cleaned and moisturized properly.
- Updating - give your patio or balcony an update by purchasing new cushions or accessories to give the area a fresh new look and feel.
Furniture & Accessory Resources: listed below are retail locations I recommend for getting your outdoor living space in order. Note: there are many other fine stores in the Midtown/Atlanta marketplace, yet space is limited and I wanted to capture several key locations to visit first. See attached photos of these great outdoor lifestyle locations.
- Kolo Collection / Midtown - 1189 Howell Mill Road, Kolo is a great location for those with refined, structured furniture taste. If you’re looking for cool contemporary style, Kolo is the place to visit for outdoor furniture and accessories. Let the Kolo team help design your new look!
- Design Within Reach / Buckhead - 2451 Peachtree Road, DWR is another location that "STYLE" ranks high in the product they provide. If your looking for quality and cutting edge designer furniture art this is the place to shop. DWR furniture pieces grace the premiere outdoor patios and terraces in town and is well worth the ticket price.
- CB2 / Midtown - 1080 Peachtree Street, for those wanting a hip outdoor feel, CB2 has some great new ideas to get your patio or balcony space looking GREAT. Their style is more contemporary, yet their look will work in any environment. Also, the size and shape of their furniture will work with any Midtown balcony/patio square footage.
- IKEA / Midtown - 441 16th Street at Atlantic Station - WOW…the best bang for your buck is at IKEA. Their outdoor patio showroom is BURSTING with great furniture and accessory ideas. You can find whatever design style you’re looking for and at a price you can afford. Get there now because they have the tendency to sell out quickly and IKEA does not restock these items.
- West Elm / Midtown - 260 18th Street at Atlantic Station, another great resource for patio furniture. West Elm also has a wonderful assortment of accessories to get your patio lifestyle looking on point! Shop quickly because they also sell out fast on the design styles you love.
- DIRECT furniture / Midtown - 1005 Howell Mill Road, as like their interior furniture, they’re outdoor furniture continues to roll in weekly. Check out the great pit groupings and affordable metal and mesh styles DIRECT has to offer.
- No Mas! Hacienda / Midtown - 810 Huff Road & 180 Walker Street / Castleberry Hill, if you're looking for some wonderful clay pottery as well as really cool beehive/cocoon shaped hanging patio furniture…check out No Mas! They also have great hacienda style furniture for covered outdoor porches. Grab lunch at their Castleberry Hills location.
- Atlanta Water Gardens - 2165 Cheshire Bridge Road, now if you’re looking for some unique bubble fountains to enhance your patio space this is the place in town to go. AWG has a large assortment of fountains that fit your budget and style. And if you’re designing an outdoor garden waterscape then AWG is the best place in town to shop.
So, now that you have completed your outdoor living space it’s time to relax, chill and enjoy the season of sun and fun. I think it would be exciting if you, our reader would send me photos of great outdoor design styles you have created to share with other Patch readers. Who known’s we may even have a contest for the best designed outdoor lifestyle and feature it in an upcoming publication. Send photo’s with brief description to: Robertfabianhome@hotmail.com. Happy Outdoors!