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Designing a Beautiful Outdoor Space Doesn’t Have to Be Complicated

Photo: Courtesy of radovan on Unsplash

Interior designer and influencer Emily Henderson breaks down how to create beautiful outdoor living spaces without breaking the bank.

Emily Henderson

Influencer and Interior Designer

When it comes to designing a beautiful outdoor lounge and living space, where would you start?

Just like any room, you should first look for inspiration, so you don’t go in blind without a plan. That is the easiest way to end up with a space you aren’t in love with. Then create a design plan with a designated color palette and decor options. Be sure to create “zones” when wanting both a dining and lounge area. It will make the space feel more defined. Rugs are a great way to achieve that.

As the summer approaches, more people are spending time outdoors entertaining and having BBQs. What are some tips you can provide to help design an outdoor kitchen and dining area to entertain?

I haven’t designed a lot of outdoor kitchens (I am very soon though) but I have designed a million outdoor dining spaces. So, I would say first and foremost think about comfort. The last thing you want is to be too uncomfortable in your dining chair to sit and fully enjoy the warm summer nights (FYI backed chairs are the way to go). Then I would say to mix up the dining set. Don’t feel like you have to buy everything from the same collection. I like to have my captain and side chairs different, but complimentary style-wise, whether that means color, material, or both. The same actually goes for my indoor dining chairs too. 

Are there specific outdoor kitchen and dining products that you recommend?

I am the outdoor bar cart’s No. 1 fan. They can be used for almost anything. Of course, the obvious is that it can be a drink station, but it can also be a snack car, dessert cart, craft cart — and if you are in a really small space, could potentially even double as a side table. 

Are there simple and easy ways to find and create outdoor décor on a budget?

Creating an outdoor space doesn’t have to be expensive. You can always give new life to a decor piece with some paint (my personal favorite and the easiest) but you can also go more budget by simply replacing your cushions and not all of your furniture. Or you can just add in some really affordable new decor. Don’t feel like you need a whole new setup for your space to feel new. A couple of outdoor throw pillows and string lights can do wonders. 

How can people who already have some outdoor décor design a cohesive outdoor space with what they already have?

Color palette is everything when it comes to creating a cohesive space. I like to choose between three to five colors and then really stick to them. However, they don’t need to be the same shade. If you pick blue as one of your colors then throw in some navy, gray-blue, and a super light baby blue. They all count as one. This will give the space dimension without it feeling crazy. So, use what you have, choose your color palette and get rid of whatever doesn’t work in the design. 

For more information, please visit Emily’s official website.

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