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Last week, the Design Happens crew offered a peek at our outdoor living spaces, from Marianne’s party-ready wraparound deck to Jessica’s plant-packed patio. As you can see, we’re working with outdoor rooms of all shapes and sizes – and so can you. If you’re not quite sure what to do with your spatially challenged deck or patio, take a cue from designer Brian Patrick Flynn: He helped a New York family turn an underused 9-by-10-foot covered patio into a full-fledged outdoor living space with comfortable furniture, colorful accents and handy storage space. Inspired by this design, we gathered some products and tips to help you make the most of your small outdoor spot.

Copy the Look of This Small Yet Stylish Outdoor Living Space1. CB2 / 2. Rugs USA / 3. Pier 1 Imports / 4. World Market / 5. CB2 / 6. Wayfair

6 Ideas for a Small Yet Functional Outdoor Living Space

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I just snuck a peek at the Memorial Day weekend weather forecast, and here at HGTV Headquarters it’s going to be all about sun, sun, sun. I prefer to be outside as much as possible this time of year, but all that sun could prove to be a little too much for me (not to mention unsafe! Sunscreen up, people!) You saw my back patio in Mallory’s post, so you can see that we’ve got full exposure if we want to spend any extended time out there. While I love my front porch, I’m dreaming of some ways to work in some more outdoor shade spots in the back so that we can enjoy the fire pit, garden and dogwood tree for longer stretches of time.

So on that note, let’s see how designers and homeowners around the country do outdoor shade.

Covered Porch Features Warm Wood Ceiling Detail

Design by Barley|Pfeiffer Architecture

Deep in the Heart of Texas it’s sunny and warm almost year round, so porches are a MUST. I particularly love this design by Barley|Pfeiffer Architecture for its mix of natural wooden ceiling and stone flooring, which should stay nice and cool with the cover. And as someone who has lived for way too many summers in locations that see 90+ degree days for weeks on end, I can appreciate an outdoor ceiling fan.

Terrace Maximizes Awesome Backyard View

Design by Rise Krag

Northern California may be a bit more temperate than Texas, but the views and California sun warrant the perfect spot for some outdoor shade. With a view like this and an infinity pool to boot, would you ever leave this terrace designed by Rise Krag? I know I wouldn’t.

Raised Stone Patio With Wood Pergola

Design by Beechwood Landscape Architecture

Outdoor shade spaces don’t have to be full coverage. This beautiful stone patio with pergola by Beechwood Landscape Architecture is the perfect spot to enjoy the sun with a little dapple of shade. I especially love outfitting pergolas with hanging plants and climbing vines for pops of color and additional natural elements.

Cumaru Wood Deck With Cedar Siding, Cable Railing and Mixed Seating

Design by Encircle Design and Build

In the cloud-covered Pacific Northwest the sun’s presence can be especially welcome, so you don’t want to overdo it on the shade. I like how the overhang of an upper deck in this home designed by Encircle Design and Build provides modest sun protection for a small, outdoor conversation area. You certainly don’t want to interrupt that view, either.

Contemporary Outdoor Living Room With Pool

Design by Sharp Design Studio

And finally, Florida, where it’s hot and humid for a significant stretch of the year, you’ll find many a home with a lanai attached. A lanai is a patio that’s fully enclosed thanks to a large wall and ceiling of window panels. It’s a great way to enjoy the outdoor son while being protected from the sun, heat and mosquitos. This lanai, created by Sharp Design Studio, is actually two stories with an additional balcony overlooking the pool on the upper level.

Ok, I’m ready for my tiki drink and page-turning book!

What are your plans for the long weekend? Tell us in the comments below.

Like these photos? Head to the HGTV Photo Library for more inspiration.

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It’s here! It’s here! The season of barbeque-grillin’, pool-swimmin’ and patio-sittin’ has arrived. We’ve spring-cleaned everything we can and it’s time to enjoy the fruits of our labor, preferably with a glass of sangria out on a deck or patio. Here’s a looksie at some of the outdoor spaces our editors enjoy at their own homes.

Jessica:

It will probably come as a shock to no one that I don’t have a nightstand or a functional workspace because I spend all my money on plants. One of the first things I bought for my apartment was an old soda crate—I lined it with fabric and turned it into a planter. Other “planters” include a bucket from the dollar store, one of those holiday popcorn tins and a miniature greenhouse from IKEA (I think I’m missing the point of the whole greenhouse thing by filling it with dirt and planting kale in it but oh well).

The lights (they’re solar!) and furniture are recent additions. I realized this morning that the patio set is the closest I’ve come to owning a dining table. My friend/neighbor and I have been calling my patio “The Outdoor Room” and will be eating all of our meals there from now until next winter.

Bonus: My apartment also sits right next to some azalea shrubs that have been an absolute delight after two unreasonably cold winters.

SEE MORE OF OUR OUTDOOR SPACES >>

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Looking to book the perfect vacation without breaking the bank? Instead of paying for five-star treatment, create it yourself! Glamping, aka glamorous camping, allows you to experience the spoils of nature with all the comforts of the great indoors. The best part? You likely have everything you need right at home. So pack up the wineglasses, and set out on your next adventure in style with these foolproof glamping tips.

SET UP A GLAM OUTDOOR LOUNGE SPOT

Image courtesy of Lulu and Georgia | Photo by Monica Wang

Don’t just set up camp; create a cozy, alfresco living area. Lightweight outdoor furniture, throw pillows and a portable area rug can make any trip into nature feel like home away from home. And don’t forget a few decorative accessories to complete the look. Copy this outdoor space >>

Step into these incredible glamping adventures >>

LIGHT IT UP

When the sun goes down, the fun begins. Add chic ambiance with a cozy campfire and lots of lanterns and candlelight. For glampers on a budget, DIY paper bag lanterns are a cheap and easy way to dress up your campsite. String them from tent to tent for a festive look. Other fab lighting options include portable hurricane lanterns, recycled can lanterns or even plain white string lights.

Get these outdoor candle ideas >>

5 More Ways to Camp in Style

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The front door is often forgotten when it comes to redecorating, but an exterior entrance is just as important as the rest of the home. It’s essential to set the right tone before your guests walk inside your home, so we’d like to know: Do you prefer a bold, statement-making front door, or are you all about a classic, neutral entrance? Vote in our poll below, then tell us which design you chose and why.

Pick Your Favorite Front Door

Check back next week to see the final tally.

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Folks, we made it. We survived our first semi-major renovation project with minimal tears, no bloodshed, and only a little bit over budget (spoiler alert: I ended up replacing the drawer and cabinet pulls in the eleventh hour and that pushed me over). After all these weeks since the kitchen “before” video I’m not going to make you wait a moment longer, so go ahead and watch the “after” video. I’ll wait.

YouTube Preview Image

Oh guys, I’m not going to lie: I am in looooove with my kitchen. There’s something to be said for every detail being just as you imagined. The only problem? Now the rest of the house is in my renovation sights. No room is safe!

Marianne's Vintage Modern Kitchen Makeover - HGTV's Design Happens Blog

Read on for my source list and more photos of the finished space.

STEP INSIDE MY BRAND NEW KITCHEN

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Last week I was given the opportunity to be a part of Garden2Blog, a garden blogger meet-up hosted by lifestyle expert P. Allen Smith and his welcoming staff. I attended the event two years ago and made lots of new garden-loving friends, so it was extra special to participate again and reunite with familiar faces.

For two days bloggers from across the country met at Moss Mountain Farm in Little Rock, Ark. to share ideas, soak up inspiration and learn about new trends in sustainable gardening and agriculture.

This time around, I was very inspired by the interiors at Allen’s Garden Home, a historic estate that overlooks the Arkansas River. Inside, a mix of Southern antiques and modern pieces come together to create grand, warm spaces. Every little design vignette paid homage to nature in some way. The floral arrangements by American Grown Flowers were insanely gorgeous. I mean, just look at those peonies (bottom image)! I left Moss Mountain with hopes of one day having an entire porch dedicated to sleeping and a giant bowl of green apples on every surface of my home.

Here are some of my favorite photos from the event. Take a look:

P. Allen Smith’s Garden Home at Moss Mountain Farm

Explore More of The Historic Estate

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Editors’ Note: Welcome to our new interview series, DH Interviews.  Each week, we’ll ask designers and makers we love to fill out our fun design questionnaire so you can get to know them better. Our first subject? The one and only David Bromstad

Can we talk a minute about how much I adore David Bromstad? We caught up with the original HGTV Design Star winner on the set of the all-new summer series Beach Flip, premiering July 5 at 9 pm | 8c.

David Bromstad on HGTV

David Bromstad Paints a Bright Canvas

Catch David as one of the show’s hosts and mentors (alongside HGTV favorites Nicole Curtis and Josh Temple) as teams of contestants compete to make over run-down beach houses. But first, let’s see how he answered our interview questions below.

David Bromstad Interview on HGTV

Get the latest designs from David Bromstad on his HGTV profile page, and stay tuned for more details about the all-new series Beach Flip.

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Windsor Smith
photo: Windsor Smith

Everyone is familiar with long distance dating (and how those relationships usually crash and burn). Long distance decorating, however, has a considerably higher success rate. Also called e-decorating, online decorating or virtual decorating, this design option is perfect for boosting your home’s style without blowing your budget. With e-decorating, you still work with a professional, but instead of meeting over tea in your living room, you collaborate via email, phone or Skype, or use a web portal. These services are more affordable, meaning you can get genius advice from your virtual designer and still have enough funds left for some non-virtual furniture. But how on earth would someone know how to decorate my room if they’ve never been in it? Should you give e-decorating a chance? Hmm…

Laurel & Wolf
photo: Laurel & Wolf 

How It Works

Many designers now offer e-decorating in addition to their traditional services. There are also websites that focus solely on “decorator in a box” type services. With either, you’ll first provide room dimensions and fill out a questionnaire. What are your goals for decorating? What inspires you? Do you have any special requests, such as kid-friendly storage? Is there a prized credenza that simply must be included in the floor plan? Take photos of the space, furniture and accessories and send them off. Two to six weeks later, voila! You’ll receive floor plans, color boards, detailed instructions and shopping lists. Some decorating services will send you fabric and paint swatches, and samples of tile or carpet. And, psst!: When it comes time to shop, you may be able to get to-the-trade discounts via your decorator.

Is It For You?

If you’re the kind of person who prefers hands-on help with measuring, shopping and making important decisions, an in-person consultation with an interior decorator is the way to go. Plus, a decorator standing in your dining room is going to experience the tiny details—the way light moves during the day, sight-lines and other nuances—that may be difficult to gauge remotely.

InstantSpace
photo: instant/space

E-design, on the other hand, is a great fit if you have a good sense of style and are willing to do some DIY work to put the decorating plans into action. It’s very affordable: One-room designs start around $250, while whole home looks start around $1,200. And since you’re paying a flat fee, you don’t have to worry about racking up the hourly charges. Another bonus? If you’re on a tight budget, you can go step by step through the decorator’s recommendations as time and money allow. Perhaps you’ll start by painting the room and moving around some furniture, and splurge on a swanky new lamp next month. E-design is an innovative way to distill your tastes and ideas, and turn a ho-hum home into a showstopper.

So what do you think? Would you hire remotely for home styling? Let me know in the comments below.

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Editors’ note: Felicia is live from the Chelsea Flower Show! See her favorite photos and recollections from the show’s first day, and follow along with the action on the @HGTVGardens and @HGTV Instagram accounts.

Purple Foxgloves at Chelsea Flower Show 2015

Beautiful foxgloves in bloom

My London trip was off to a phenomenal start when I spent the morning of my arrival learning the ins and outs of beekeeping thanks to an innovative program at my host hotel, the St. Ermin’s where bees have their very own hotel home on a terrace landscaped with ground cover and beautiful containers. There’s nothing quite like donning a full-body beekeeper’s suit and walking with my fellow classmates through the hallways of the hotel up to the bee terrace. Combined with major jet lag, it felt like we were preparing to enter a hot zone, in this case a hive-zone featuring some 300,000 Italian honeybees. Led by the supremely knowledgeable London bee-guru Camilla Goddard, who tends bees across the city, the beekeeping crash-course has a year-long waiting list, though HGTV was lucky enough to snag a last minute spot.

MORE FROM THE CHELSEA FLOWER SHOW >>

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I love a good chair. What makes chair rehab projects a bit more exciting to me than other furniture DIYs is that more often than not, a chair gives you the chance to play with colors on the chair itself and by using fabrics. Oh, the combinations! The possibilities! Chair makeovers can easily be one of the cheaper furniture projects you can take on, as Marianne showed us earlier this week in her chair upholstery tutorial. Let’s see how all of you handy DIYers have given your chairs new life.

Instagram user @designs_by_me2 gave these midcentury-style teak chairs a fun, modern update with fresh fabric. The shiny sheen of the fabric adds a luxe look.

Photo courtesy of Instagram user @designs_by_me2.

Turquoise spray paint and some light sanding was all that @ournestof5 needed to transform this darling little piece. It pops perfectly against that dark armoire, don’t you think? And those hydrangeas…swoon!

Photo courtesy of Instagram user @ournestof5.

Turquoise and red is one of my all-time favorite color combos, so you know I love this retro set from @vitanovadecor. The bold, striped cushions are super fun, and now I’m craving a shot of espresso.

Photo courtesy of Instagram user @vitanovadecor.

Instagrammer @kaylita20 gave us a double dose of chair rehab. This art deco-style chair now looks like it came straight out of a Fixer Upper episode. Below it, a bold, geometric black-and-white print goes a long way to update a chair that once looked like it belonged in a doctor’s office. The chair itself only cost $5! Well done.

Photo courtesy of Instagram user @kaylita20.

Photo courtesy of Instagram user @kaylita20.

For even more fabulous furniture DIYs from fellow readers, check out the #HGTVmakeover hashtag on Instagram, and keep tagging your projects for our upcoming posts. 

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Wedding photography typically accounts for a huge chunk of the budget, which means that you want your investment to yield amazing, beautiful, photos to share with generations. So, how do you get the biggest bang for your buck? Listen to your photographer. Take their advice on everything, including things you might not think they know about, like what color uplighting to choose (white, always white) and which way your ceremony should face during a specific time of day.

Straight out of the mouths of three top wedding photographers in New York City, keep these six tips in the back of your mind on your wedding day. From logistics to beauty, Amber Gress Photography, Judy Pak Photography, and brklyn view photography, spill their secrets learned from shooting hundreds of weddings.

unplugged wedding ceremony

1: CONSIDER AN UNPLUGGED WEDDING

A lot of wedding photos come with an unwelcome guest star: Brightly-lit smartphones. To combat this digital-age downside, consider asking your guests to stow their phones during your ceremony or reception. “It’s inevitable that you’ll be greeted with a sea of LCD screens instead of smiling faces as you walk down the aisle,” Judy Pak. “Sadly, the photos from your ceremony show likewise. Try an unplugged wedding to have guests enjoy the present and let the photographer capture the moment.”

invitations

2: MAXIMIZE THEIR TIME

You hired your photographer to take photos, not to gather all of your belongings. Make their job easier and more efficient by getting everything ready before they arrive. Judy Pak says, “Have all your details ready for the photographer to shoot on arrival (your dress, shoes, invitations, signage, heirlooms, flowers, etc.). This can help maximize the time your photographer has to take beautiful pictures, rather spending time gathering everything together.”

blonde bride

3: AVOID THE DREADED DOUBLE CHIN

You are going to feel silly, but you’ll look great! Jaine, from brklyn view photography, has a special trick to make your chin look smoother: “…stick your head out (like a turtle) and keep your neck back and straight. It feels awkward, but looks great on camera…trust me!”

3 MORE WEDDING PHOTO TIPS

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One of the cool perks of this job is that I get a chance to see some of the cool, new things designers and architects are doing to shape the future of home design. Case in point: I’ve had to privilege to get to know Cavin Costello, one half of an architect-design team who I think will have a big impact on the home design community for years to come. Cavin and his wife, Claire Costello, together own The Ranch Mine, a Phoenix-based design development firm whose motto is, “We design solutions that honor the past, challenge the norm and inspire the future.”

What I love about The Ranch Mine is that they are finding ways to use sustainable building practices at an affordable cost. The duo just received a Future of Architecture Residential Design Contest and Showcase Award for Innovation, given by The American Institute of Architects and Houzz, for a home they designed and built as part of an urban-infill project in a historic north Phoenix neighborhood. Check it out:

Modern Home Exterior With Bright Orange Door

Design by The Ranch Mine

The Costellos were tasked with designing a home that fit in among the neighboring homes built in the 1930s and 1940s while still looking like a home created for current times — all on a tight budget. Under a long list of historic design restrictions, Cavin and Claire created a house at the cost of $138 a square foot using simple building materials in thoughtful ways. One such example is the half-wall in front of the home made concrete shaped by the texture of raw wood — a much more affordable and sustainable option than the use of actual wood.

Living Room With Fully Retractable Glass Walls

Design by The Ranch Mine

The living room is framed by a set of glass walls that retract to open the room up to the front and back yards, expanding the footprint of an otherwise small space. The Phoenix climate is conducive to indoor-outdoor living for much of the year, and the overhang of the roof limit the amount of light and heat that enter the room during the hotter summer months. The walls and ceiling of the living room are clad in affordable walnut plywood, and the room is lit by LED lighting strips.

Modern Kitchen With White Ikea Cabinetry

Design by The Ranch Mine

Cavin and Claire used Ikea cabinetry in the kitchen to keep the design affordable but added custom touches like a back-painted glass backsplash. The island is topped with a single slab of quartz. The island was sized to fit the slab so that it would not need to be cut, minimizing waste.

Modern Bathroom With Floating Vanity

Design by The Ranch Mine

The pair also used Ikea cabinetry in the bathroom but floated it above the floor and added details such as wall-mounted fixtures and a countertop edge finished with walnut tape for a custom look. They found the triangle-shaped tile and decided to lay it in a pattern with alternating orientations and colors to create the cool detail that runs the perimeter of the room. The shower is located in a corner of the bathroom, and the floor there is sloped toward the center, eliminating the need for a shower enclosure.

After debuting many of these innovative details this stunning home, The Ranch Mine has found that their clients’ interest in them has skyrocketed, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see some of these smart features popping up in home designs all over the country soon.

Interested in learning more about this home? Read more about it and see the rest of the photos.

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You don’t have to have an elaborate outdoor space or a spacious backyard to enjoy the benefits of alfresco entertaining. All you need are a few key items to turn your space — big or small — into a festive and stylish space everyone can enjoy.

Outdoor Entertaining

Design by Brian Patrick Flynn

ILLUMINATE THE NIGHT

Outdoor Lighting

Design by Charlotte Jenks Lewis

Glowing string lights — there’s nothing better. If your gathering goes into the evening, add some ambiance with outdoor lighting. You can have the tiniest patio and a strand of string lights will add the perfect glow. Strands of small globe lights look especially beautiful woven through trees and fences or strung overhead. Get more ideas >>

COZY UP YOUR UNDERFOOT

Outdoor Area Rug

Design by Brian Patrick Flynn

Stylish and durable all-weather rugs can make any outdoor space feel more like an extension of the home. So cozy up your deck or patio with some chic underfoot that beckons you to toss of your shoes. Get more ideas >>

SET UP A MINI BAR

DIY Wine Rack

Design by Brian Patrick Flynn

Mix up refreshing summer cocktails at a mini serve-yourself bar filled with nuts, olives and cheese varieties. Get more info >>

Take the Party Outside

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It’s officially show house season! This week, I had the pleasure of touring this year’s Kips Bay Decorator Show House, located in the Arthur Sachs Mansion in New York’s coveted Lenox Hill neighborhood.

Originally built in 1909 for Arthur Sachs of — yep, Goldman Sachs — the townhouse has five floors and boasts 9,600 square feet of amazing architecture and design. The 43rd annual show house features the work of 22 top interior designers, each leaving his or her stamp on their chosen space. The result feels like a luxurious but comfortable home for a chic Manhattan family. Oh, and did I forget to mention that it’s currently for sale? Yes, it can be yours for the cool price of $35 million.

Take a look around.

Kips Bay Decorator Show House Kitchen

Design by Christopher Peacock, Photography by Rafael Quirindongo

The huge galley-style kitchen designed by Christopher Peacock features a mix of painted cabinets and hand-picked English Wych Elm accents. Expansive Silstone countertops and brushed brass hardware tie the kitchen together.

Kips Bay Decorator Show House Dining Room

Design by Mark D Sikes Inc., Photography by Rafael Quirindongo

This formal dining space designed by Mark D. Sikes was inspired by a beautiful Italian home and introduces a fresh take on an uptown townhouse dining room. Red gingham fabric walls, silk trims, regency mahogany antiques, gilt mirrors, modern art and a 19th century, director-style crystal chandelier bring it all together in the formal dining room.

Kips Bay Decorator Show House Staircase

Design by Philip Mitchell Design, Photography by Rafael Quirindongo

The stair hall designed by Philip Mitchell is so grand it deserves to be considered another “room.” With each step you take, you’re surrounded by a wonderfully curated art collection that spans various mediums and eras. Looking up, the spiral staircase frames a skylight that brings light all the way to the ground floor.

Kips Bay Decorator Show House Office

Design by Thom Filicia Inc., Photography by Rafael Quirindongo

A work day in this home office would feel like anything but. Designer Thom Filicia says he wanted to create a space that was subtly sophisticated, elegantly easy and playfully purposeful. He accomplished that and more with this appropriately named “Study in Style.”

Kips Bay Decorator Show House Rooftop

Design by Rottet Studio, Photography by Rafael Quirindongo

Not to be forgotten in this urban jungle, the roof terrace designed by Lauren Rottet and her Rottet Studio team is a welcome escape from the bustling New York City streets. Though it’s not the only outdoor space in the home, it is the highest — and it features stunning views of what Rottet calls “the world’s best city.” (Lauren, I totally agree!)

Want to see it for yourself? The home is open to tours through June 11. As if the stunning home or inspiring designs weren’t enough, the event is hosted by the Kips Bay Boys & Girls Club and marks the organization’s 100th year of service. Proceeds will benefit the club, which provides after-school programs for thousands of local kids.

What’s your favorite space in the home? Tell me in the comments below.

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George Miller’s Mad Max: Fury Road reboot is one of the most anticipated action films of the summer. (It opens in theaters nationwide tomorrow!) Miller made his name with his ultra low-budget indie and original Mad Max in 1979, but has a mite more money to play with to the tune of $100 million this go around.

George Miller’s thrill ride with a message, Mad Max: Fury Road opens May 15 in theaters nationwide. Photo courtesy of Warner Bros.

Super-stylish, often deliciously tongue-in-cheek and with an eco-feminist message to boot, Miller’s film marries environmental cautionary tale with cool explosions, bloody mayhem, rock ‘n’ roll costume design, muscle cars and monster trucks. There’s very little not to like in this action-packed adventure with a soul.

Step Inside the Film

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Last week, we asked if you preferred a private outdoor dining experience, like designer Jamie Durie’s lush and secluded spot, or an open and expansive dining room, like designer Sarah Richardson‘s cottage-style patio with a view. Sarah’s coastal outdoor space won with a 72 percent of the votes!

Sarah Richardson's Summer House Patio

Design by Sarah Richardson

HGTV fan kjg loves Sarah’s design because “it is light, airy and seems so comfortable. I think it does a great job of highlighting the view!” We couldn’t agree more, kjg! Follow our tips below to get the same inspired look on your outdoor space.

TAKE ADVANTAGE OF SURROUNDINGS

If you have a lush backyard or a great view, take a cue from Sarah. She surrounded her outdoor dining area with wide-open, floor-to-ceiling windows so guests can bask in the glorious view.

Patio With a View

Design by Preston Lee

PROVIDE A LOUNGE AREA

After eating, it’s time to relax. Provide additional seating near the dining area, so guests can continue conversation in a more comfortable setting. A collection of outdoor pillows is a budget-friendly way to change the look seasonally.

Red and White Outdoor Dining Room

Design by Katharine Webster

KEEP THINGS LIGHT + AIRY

White furnishings instantly open up any space, so it’s a good option if you have a small outdoor space. This light color doesn’t last too long against the elements, so choose materials that are easy to clean.

Outdoor Table Setting

Design by Chip and Joanna Gaines from Fixer Upper

How do you add comfort and style to your outdoor space? Tell us in the comments below.

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Guys, our kitchen reno is in the home stretch, and now we are down to my favorite part: all the pretty finishing touches. I’ve been organizing our pantry, styling book shelves, and I decided to give the two chairs in the homework/breakfast area a little update. Watch the video to see how you can easily update a simple dining chair with a little spray paint and some new fabric:

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Update an old dining chair with new upholstery and spray paint
What a difference, right? I’m in love with that pink grapefruit color paired with the indigo fabric. Suddenly my little $5 chairs look like a million bucks!

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Ever since I saw The Royal Tenenbaums (and this Tenenbaums-inspired room from Domino), I’ve been obsessed with the idea of having a gallery wall. Together, my husband and I have more than enough posters and art prints to fill our space, but there’s one thing stopping us: We haven’t framed any of them. And we’ve had them all for years. I’d feel more sheepish if I thought we were the only ones in this predicament, but I spotted this exchange in my Twitter timeline and I think Emily sums up the dilemma nicely:

Then, serendipitously, a colleague sent along an email from the folks at Framebridge. It was like we all collectively willed the service into existence, The Secret-like, with our powers of visualization! We’d all been waiting for a solution to the framing problem that was low-hassle, attractive AND affordable, and it seems like Framebridge is the answer.

LEARN HOW IT WORKS + GET ARRANGING TIPS

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I’ve cut back my coffee, try to exercise once in a while, and keep my trips to the donut shop to a minimum. It turns out, however that the worst thing I do for my body has nothing to do with honey-glazed pastries … according to research, sitting is the new smoking. Since reading about all the dire effects of spending my days sitting at my desk (I’m bringing on heart disease, a permanent slouch, and shortening my life expectancy?!), I have jumped out of my chair and vowed to change my ways. So even though it seems a bit foreign  – and a bit awkward, design-wise — I’m checking out standing desks.

Here’s the ergonomics 411 if you’re contemplating taking a stand: Your desk height should be at or slightly below elbow level. Your screen should be about 20-30” away from your eyes, and you should be looking straight ahead at the upper half of it (if you’re looking down, it needs to be additionally elevated.  This means that, if your’e working on a laptop, you’ll need to have a separate keyboard and mouse by your hands, and prop your laptop screen up by your eyes.

Okay, let’s get down to business and see the first option!

Jarvis standing desk
Photo credit: Collin Ferry

The Jarvis desk— yep, this is pretty much what I thought all standing desks looked like. Yeesh. This doesn’t exactly ring bells in the design department. But in terms of standing desk features, this guy is optimal. It can adjust 26” up via electric control, with it’s top height at 51”, so tall standing workers will be comfortable. It can lift 350 pounds of monitors, hard drives or cinderblocks you choose to put on your desk, and it has collision detection technology, which means it won’t size-down and crush your chair (or cat). Best of all, an LED panel means you can adjust your desk from sitting to standing height with one touch, and it even has pre-set memory settings so you don’t have to guess on height each time. Not pretty, but very functional… and at $700, standing doesn’t come cheap.

Mint Design Blog DIY Standing Desk
Photo credit: Ellie Snow

 Next stop, the DIY route. There are no shortage of DIY standing desk projects online, but I like this one from Mint Design Blog that uses some Home Depot sawhorse brackets, 2x4s cut to size, a little paint and an IKEA countertop. Seems like it couldn’t be simpler, and I think it looks beautiful. But you’ve got to commit, or at have the real estate for both a sitting and standing option, because this baby doesn’t move up and down at all. I’m not sure I could permanently toss my sitting desk in place of this solution, but hey, at least you’re not making a major investment.

MORE STANDING DESK OPTIONS >>

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