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A few days ago, while rafting down the Chattahoochee River in Atlanta, I thought to myself, “Wow, pool and beach stuff is damn ugly.” I guess I’d never really thought about it before, since I’m usually focused on having something called fun while enjoying the summer sun. Plus, there’s really no space plan for me to critique or fine tune when the space I’m staring at is a large blue body of water and infinite sky. “Shooting the Hooch” isn’t as fast paced and rowdy a journey as the Alan Jackson song makes it out to be, so after roughly three hours staring at ugly blue rubber tubes, towels sporting slogans like “Life’s A Beach” and primary colored beach balls, I figured I’d search for fun poolside stuff that’s as pleasant to look at as it is to use.

As it turns out, there are some purdy upgrades out there to give your pool (or lakeside) sun soaking that designer touch without breaking the bank. From towels to tables, beach balls to beach blankets, here’s an assortment of good lookin’ summer fun accessories available online. So the next time you are floating in the pool on a styrofoam lounge blazoned with a beer logo or eating summery snacks on a jagged rock, just remember that I tried to help, and you didn’t listen. Speaking of not listening, you know what I wish I would have listened to? The weather report before deciding to go rafting. Two words: Afternoon thunderstorms.

Lacoste‘s cotton “Court” towels from Macy’s sport the graphic lines of a tennis court and come in bold colors such as kelly green, red and orange. Once folded up, they look just as good with that timeless alligator emblem. Or is it a crocodile? Dammit, I always mix those up.

Nautical Striped Beach Ball

Ditch the juvenile red, blue or yellow beach ball for this doozie, the Bud Beach Ball Nautical Stripe Inflatable from CSN Stores. It’s got a sophisticated navy/white color scheme with a bold graphic anchor front and center. The swim ring is sweet, too.


I’ve been following Thom Filicia’s career for about nine years. Now, we can all follow him right outside to a space delineated by his indoor/outdoor rugs available through Overstock.com. These come in a variety of colors and patterns and don’t sacrifice style for durability. They’re also a chic alternative to beach blankets and/or they can dress up your picnic space and keep that nasty wet-sand-between-your-toes feeling from happening while you throw back beers. And by beers, I mean sandwiches, of course.

Floating Pool Lamp

If you’re nightswimming, here’s a great way to add some ambience to your adult swim, the Floating Swimming Pool Lamp Ball. They’re rechargeable for up to 12 hours of illumination and can also be used outside the pool.

Folding Table

Collapsible picnic tables have always been cool but not necessarily chic. This folding picnic table from Overstock.com sports a modern look with stained wood slats. Even better, it’s so lightweight and easy to transport, you can stick it in your raft, then enjoy lunch in style once you pull up to a sandbar. If a shark swims up looking for a bite, you can just kick it from your sturdy seat and tell it to learn some manners.

Pool Float

Bye bye college/beer logo float. There’s a new sheriff in the pool that looks hella better than you, and it’s called King Kai. It’s basically a bean bag upholstered in Sunbrella fabric that floats. It’s more of an investment piece at $249 but just think of how popular you will be at the community pool next summer. There’s room enough for two bathing beauties.

Did any of these make your must have list? What stylish finds are you loving this summer?

Tell me in the comments below.

8 Responses

  1. Hilary@HGTV says:

    That beach ball might be the cutest beach accessory on the planet!

  2. CplusE says:

    Get ready to cover your eyes, because if I am spending a day on the water lots of eye-popping color is coming with me! This pixellated beach umbrella is the perfect start:


    A couple of these Missoni towels will add even more color:


    Instead of stripes, my beach ball will be covered in many-hued circles:


    The stripes will be on my beach tote:


    And also on my pool float:


    Of course I wouldn't dream of going near the water without this colorful Big Kahuna beach chair:


    I guess I'd better pack a few of these neon-colored sunglasses for anyone who finds my colorful accessories too visually overwhelming:


    Bright enough for ya? Don't worry, I'll save you a pair of those sunglasses! B)xD

  3. anna@HGTV says:

    Being deathly afraid of jellyfish…but being a lover of playing in the ocean…I must have a Kai. Great recommendation Brian!

  4. Briana@HGTV says:

    Oh, great. Now I want to construct a pool just so I can use those gorgeous floating lamp balls! (Think they'd work in the bathtub?)

  5. anna@HGTV says:

    All about that Sundance beach tote and rainbow pool float! But the Missoni towels, mod beach ball and umbrella are fabulous!

  6. anna@HGTV says:

    How big's your bathtub, Briana? ;-)

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