• Tell Your Friends

Aside from lying, cheating, being unkind, violence, excess noise and the color of egg yolks, there’s nothing I detest more than those bought-on-sale-out-in-front-of-the-supermarket, made-to-look-old-but-really-brand-new, matchy-matchy patio sets. In fact, I’ll tailgate on plastic coolers before I’ll pop a squat on those posers. NOTE: I don’t do sports. Where the hell am I going with this, and why all the ranting? Well, a few weeks ago, my team and I gave a summery makeover to a lackluster patio deckspace in Atlanta. The patio and deck were quite beautiful; the patio furniture was another story. Our mission? To de-matchy-matchy the run-of-the-mill patio set, then set it up for summer entertaining… all in a single afternoon.

In order to make this happen, we stuck with three locations: BJ’s Membership Club, a discount fabric store and a flea market. This unexpected combination works quite well, and let me tell you why: one-stop-shopping and bang-for-your-buck. Membership and wholesale clubs have just about every brand new, buy-it-in-bulk thing you could need under one roof times twenty; flea markets have uber-affordable, that’s-so-cool-where-did-you-find-it type stuff with a one-of-a-kind designer touch. By hitting up discount fabric stores, you’re certain to find excellent outdoor fabric on clearance. Wanna put a new, affordable spin on your own matchy-matchy patio set without an entire weekend of laborious do-it-yourselfing? Then check out my ideas. Perhaps some of them are right up your deck or patio’s alley. Wait, decks and patios can’t have alleys, can they? Oh well, you get the point.

Here’s what the deck looked like after my team whipped it into shape:

Brian Patrick Flynn - After Patio

How do you like the vibrant new blue umbrella, mismatched chair-stool-and-bench seating, a graphic outdoor tablecloth made from discount indoor/outdoor fabric and outdoor tableware from BJ’s Membership Club. Not bad for around $200, three hours of shopping and a couple more hours to set it all up. Next comes the part where I break down what my Decor Demon team did and how. Well, after I show you what it looked like before, that is.

Brian Patrick Flynn - Before Patio

In its original state, the deck space had absolutely no personality whatsoever. We decided to incorporate the vibrant green from the lush landscaping into our color scheme to unite the deck space with its gorgeous, natural surroundings.

Brian Patrick Flynn - Bench

Green made its way over into to the dining area, starting with the seating. We found this white, cottage-style painted bench at Highland Row Antiques for next to nothing, ditched the lame matching set’s chairs altogether, then dressed the bench up by grabbing indoor throw pillows and temporarily using them outside. If you’re gonna pull your own throw pillows out onto your patio space, just stay away from delicate ones that could easily be ruined by water (silk, suede) or a sudden gust of dirt-filled wind (solid ultra-white anything). If you’re gonna incorporate wooden bench seating into your patio space, make sure the wood is pressure-treated. If not, it will rot faster than you can say “Jack-O-Lanterns in the trash pile”.

Mixed Stools

Mixing seating styles is unexpected, original and offers up tons of different configurations. If you decide to mix stools into your table seating mix, make sure they’re adjustable. Grab one too low and your friends will feel punished. Grab one too tall and they’ll grow a superiority complex. Oh, and see the vibrant lime green flatware? Acrylic: a step up from plastic + more practical alternative to fancy silver.

Place Setting

The overarching design hero, color, made its way onto the table scape in many different forms. Our outdoor tablecloth sporting blue and white stripes was made from two-and-a-half yards of outdoor fabric at $9 per yard. Although the plates kinda-sorta look ceramic, they’re actually made of super shiny disposable plastic with a metallic band around the edges which dresses them up. My theory for plastic and/or disposable tableware is to always balance the throw-away pieces with something made of cloth or fabric. In this case, we opted for dishtowels instead of paper napkins. A ten-pack from BJ’s Membership Club was less than $12. The napkin rings and place holders are made from discount bin drapery rings (you can usually find them at fabric stores), paint swatches, stick-on letters and twine.

Drink Dispenser + Mason Jar Glasses

Summer entertaining can be grueling, especially with temperatures upwards of 100 degrees. Two words: acrylic dispensers. They’re ideal for letting guests keep themselves cool, and they add a decorative touch. Much more durable than glass, they pretty much have the same look but won’t be a disaster waiting to happen should a guest sip too much hunch punch at your summer showdown. Mason jars are an excellent way to bring a summer entertaining touch to cold drinks, but if they’re too much of a hassle, colored acrylic drinkware offers a similar, shatterproof look.

Metal Tubs for Drinks or Towels

While plastic coolers are acceptable for college, it’s wise to graduate to something a bit more grown-up once you’re old enough to own your own patio. Metal tubs are an excellent upgrade. They can be used for drinks or for keeping towels nearby and can help carry out the overall color scheme. These cuties were less than $20 a piece, are stackable and are easy to store in a closet when not being used.

Soup Can Vase

Last but not least: repurposing. Leave the good glass vases inside. Instead, get creative with everyday items like soup cans. By simply taking off the wrapper and Goo-Gone’ing any sticky residue, you’ll instantly have a vessel that’s one part vase and one part conversation-starter.

Okay, enough of my summer showboating. Anyone else have success de-matchy-matchy’ing their own patio set and/or try their hand at outside-the-box outdoor entertaining?

Tell me in the comments below.

29 Responses

  1. PFG says:

    You go on liking what you've done here…I find it something I did when I had only a few bucks to spend. So I've been there and done this already, LOL! It's not anything new, it's what we do when we use our mind with all the things we bring into our homes that we can repurpose if we think of it.

    I like the bench, but I like benches and I like color too. There are multitudes of ideas to be had for changing this up nicely, inspiring, cheery & not just matchy matchy as you so fervently state you detest…Ok, I get it. This detesting thing of yours is on "you" and shutting the door on being so rude as is championing disrespectful as given. Your output on this is way overboard, too judgmental, uncooperative & all out unfair to any person that has what they "choose" to like or not like. WOW!

    So many great easy changable selections can be found anywhere. The dollar stores, lots of discount stores, garage sales, anywhere if you put it on an agenda can aid with ease and convenience with simple changes and makeovers to add spark. First off, you have to want to, choose to and if you do how you became judege and jury with telling someone it's well done, not well done, likable, quality, value or has merit???? C'MON take this off YOUR not INSPIRING what so ever with this write up…EDITing required.

    By the way…my personal preference is "comfortable" seating over being uncomfortable as you've chosen here in my point of view. Your off the charts with judging another choice in what they can and want to like and that's so UNINSPIRING, MEAN SPIRITED, and shocked it's even posted.

    I might introduced coordinating colors on all the established patio set. The scrolled work might be painted white, with black trim to look new again, but keep set maintained from rust.

    • TVGrrl says:

      What's wrong with you, PFG? Talk about mean-spirited and judgmental…. you obviously got up on the wrong side of the bed today. The whole point of the article is to get rid of matchy-matchy. If matchy-matchy is your thing, then just go to the store and buy it. I suspect you already have.

      BTW, your grammar is atrocious. "EDITing required."

    • Martha Stewart says:

      Wow, what ignorance!!!

      • PFG says:

        Yo Marth right back at cha! :) <3 Good days, goodness & kindness :) IS necessary and relevant here <3

    • Susie says:

      HGTV SHOULD HIRE ME………I am so ahead of this design curve!

  2. PFG says:

    I appreciate courtesies, and the word "detest' slapped on me probably sets the wrong tone for having a welcoming or listening audience with the way it flows as written for me. Yes, my spelling was on purpose and your probably so right with me speaking out on it not being a friendly read.
    Respect and courtesies…ah, give them away and give them away many. I like all kinds of things and at times I like a match or two or more. I was not getting that from this article as it's written, but that's my interpretation with what's written.

    Thanks for pointing out the obvious and maybe I did rise a little grumpier than ususal. :) Thanks :)

    • PFG says:

      I know I am, I know I can and I know I have learned many views
      Perspectives are, while giving way to a choice that I choose to do
      Choices may be the same, similar or way different from yours too
      I seek inspiration, graces and I found this lacking in my view of you
      It's more than brandishing do's and don’t’s or telling me what not to do
      Give choices and thwart yourself as if your being the only one with a view

  3. NikiP says:

    Design is subjective and you don't have to like everything. I wish the biggest issue pissing me off was a blog post about patios. So much frustration over something so light hearted seems exceptionally unwarranted. Have a nice day!

  4. Molly Marler says:

    Niki, I couldn't agree more! Fabulous job, BPF. Per usual! I love getting ideas from your posts, here and on the blog. I also find your down-to-earth, tongue-in-cheek sense of humor wonderfully refreshing! Too often are there articles written/spaces styled with a completely homogeneous point of view. There is no way to please everyone–hell, why would you want to?!–and I'm glad for the unique perspective. Great work, team.

  5. claudia says:

    WOW PFG, I didn't get ANY of that reading the article……..maybe a nap and spell check would cheer you up….and talk about a run on sentence……I mean,, REALLY? how does an article about the Congo affect you? I'm still laughink…..LOL

  6. CplusE says:

    That deck was definitely in need of a color injection — the patio set is almost camouflaged against the deck flooring! White was a great choice since the railing was already painted that color, and I love the bright pops of blue and lime green in the accessories. While I am not in to the shabby chic look of the chair on the left, I adore the old school chair in chrome and blue hard plastic (or whatever that molded stuff is — I never was sure!). Takes me back to my childhood school days (ahh, the sixties!), although our chairs tended to be a dull mustard color back then!

  7. mac says:

    Geez, I just came upon this article & these responses ~ Before I even read PFG’s comments I was feeling her point of view. The blog was over the top shame of chosen matchy-matchy sets. And, although the solution is nice in some ways (color), it is not a brilliant paradigm shift. Stop patting yourself on the back for reusing can goods for flowers; it’s been done for decades now! As for your switch in seating – not impressed. I want guests comfortable and able to stay around awhile. Yours does not look practical or inviting… Now let’s all step away from the all- too -strong -of –an-attitude and take in NikiP's point” … I wish the biggest issue pissing me off was a blog post about patios. So much frustration over something so light hearted seems exceptionally unwarranted. Have a nice day! "

  8. JBC says:

    Love your shear curtain idea. I also LOVE the wrought iron patio furniture, if the owner doesn't want it, I'll take it in lieu of the shabby chic furniture the designer came up with. I can brighten that wrought iron right up with some bright colored cushions for the seats and backs (to honor Mr. Flynn's flair for the unmatchy-matchy… perhaps a floral for one chair, stripes for another, geometric design for the 3rd and a solid for the 4th chair all in the same color pallet), outdoor floor mat, vivid colored place mats and settings, vase centerpiece with fresh florals and papier mache tchotchke's sprinkled around the deck. Voila, keep the beautiful patio set and accessorize my daaling :-)

    • Suzanne Donzero says:

      I just LOVE yer thinkin',JBC!!! I, being highly motivated financially, would tend to simply add colorful and dramatic (and VERY inexpensive) accents to this already lovely (and probably quite expensive) patio set! While my favorite pieces of furniture happen to be "lucky finds" I do like the co-ordination a basic set of the matchy-matchy stuff brings to the table. Pair it with a few unique accessories and you've got a winner that you can seasonably update. You can also break up a patio set and make smaller "unmatched" groupings using different furniture placement. Why waste perfectly serviceable furniture (and money) when you can re-use something you already have as a great starting point…no use to buy sumthin' else! Use whatcha got and go green!

    • Renee says:

      JBC, I totally agree with your take on the existing patio set – dressing the current, COMFORTABLE chairs with cushions of various patterns and a bright tablecloth with fun placesettings would be more to my taste. Would not be looking forward to sitting on any one of the uncomfortable, hard seated chairs that were exchanged for the original set. Accessorize, indeed…and paint if you must to "pop" the furniture out from the deck.

  9. AZk says:

    My biggest pet peeve with this article is the throw away attitude regarding the homeowner's existing patio set. HGTV touts itself as being green and sustainably oriented, and if so, this article flies in the face of that. I agree with those suggesting that one find a way to USE WHAT THEY HAVE and find cools ways to update it, rather than continuing with the "throw away" society attitude. Shame on you HGTV.

  10. Guest says:

    I am in complete agreemant with AZk…
    OK, so if we are using what we have and being "green" but trying to brighten up the scene, then lets use the sturdy comfortable chairs that came with the table by adding colorful cushions that are on sale everywhere right about now. If you do not want matchy-matchy then, try different colors. A well made, interesting umbrella is a good investment and any colorful fabric for the table can work including a table cloth you might already have. A can for flowers? Not my taste or style but, I think there are plenty of items in our kitchens, cupboards cabinets and recycling that will work. Think different use of familiar things and just have fun!

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