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.
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.
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:
All month long we’re celebrating outdoor entertaining and living with four giveaways from Frontgate. Last week, we looked to help you to heat up the night with a copper fire pit. Now we’re lighting up the night with this week’s giveaway — the Lucina Lantern — a sophisticated take on outdoor lighting. One large pillar candle will fit into this solid bronze lantern, but I think a bunch of mismatched candles would lend a stunning bohemian vibe to your next outdoor party.
You’ve got until 12/11c Monday, May 16th to leave us a comment. That’s all you have to do for a chance to win one of these gorgeous outdoor lanterns.
This week’s question: What’s special about the place you spend most of your time outdoors at your home? Is it your favorite fragrant potted plants that surround you on a sunny patio? The vintage glider you refinished that’s perfect for cool evenings spent chatting with neighbors on your front porch? Or the perfect napping hammock you and a loved one strategically placed between two shady trees?
Click for official rules.
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