Summer Staples of Patio Decor


July 1, 2021


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John McClain is an accomplished interior designer, speaker, writer, and on-air contributor who has turned his lifetime passion for interior design into an opportunity to do the same for others.

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outdoor patio sofa with side vine table
Photo Credit: Stephen Allen

Create a patio vibe that conjures up the perfect summer oasis this season. Stick to decor that encapsulates your idea of what summer means to you. Perhaps sipping a Mai Tai while meditating on the tropical island breeze puts you in the summer mood. Send off ocean vibes with an ode to all things nautical or appeal to the senses through vibrant colors and geometric patterns reminiscent of the country of Morocco. Start by simply building a themed look around our top five patio necessities at John McClain Design.

conversation pit with elegant loveseats
Photo Credit: Emily Followill

1. Throw Shade.

Keeping cool is of utmost importance in the hot summer months. Our favorite way to keep cool? Sheer white drapes evoking the luxury of ancient Roman thermal baths, with the added benefit of extra privacy. We like to hang them as curtains around a pergola or from the roof overhang on your home or patio. Aside from permanent roofs, other optimal shade fixtures to consider include gazebos, standalone off-set umbrellas, pop-up canopies, pavilions dressed in fabric, vine-covered pergolas or lush cabanas. If you really want to take the covered patio to a luxury level, many companies now offer louvered coverings for your outdoor space that can be opened or closed with the push of a button!

minimal design wooden outdoor dining table and chairs
Photo Credit: Askar Abayev

2. Light It Up.

Summer brings to mind the daylight hours but adapting patios for after-sun fun is just as important. Cue statement lighting fixtures and chic string lights! To inspire the Moroccon look, for instance, opt for lantern-style string lights and tabletop lanterns with intricate geometric patterns. Edison string lights are perfect for an industrial look if you’re going for a more masculine appeal. For every summer treat, there are string lights to match your style! Tip: Match your lights to whatever event theme you are creating — and have fun with it! They’re just lights after all and can easily be changed out. 

swimming pool side relaxing chairs
Photo Credit: Stephen Allen

3. Find Furniture.

Seating options are limitless when it comes to the outdoors. Outdoor furniture and materials are evolving more and more these days. Many companies are realizing that your outdoor space and indoor space are almost one and the same. To that end, outdoor upholstery looks just like indoor upholstery, including lush fabrics. Chairs, tables and even lighting are taking on the same aesthetics as indoor products. Expand your mind past the typical wicker or rattan; the options are endless now! As long as the product is outdoor rated, you are good to go. Bottom Line: Treat your outdoor space with the same care you would for laying out the furniture plan of your indoor spaces. The only limit is your mind.

backyard pool dock design ideas
Photo Credit: Maria Orlova

4. Go Au Naturel.

Work the room by incorporating natural elements. Add greenery for not only aesthetic appeal but also the added health benefits of improving air quality and mental well-being. You can even turn this step into a hobby by growing a garden. Not ready to garden out? Try an herb garden instead. For smaller spaces, greenery in vertical planters and hanging plants make gorgeous space-saving accents. If you’re going for a minimal look, opt toward incorporating stones that create a grounding effect while also increasing wellness.

backyard grid lounge chairs for relaxing
Photo Credit: Uneek Photography

5. Make Moves. 

Increase the vibrancy of your patio by adding features like a water fountain or fire pit. These elements serve as added attractions to amp up time spent on outdoor leisure. Outside features can come in all types of space-saving shapes and sizes, like a tabletop fire pit, so no size patio is left out. A super fun find? A cascading water wall! Another unique way to quite literally add movement is to incorporate a butterfly garden or even add a projector for outdoor movie night. 

Till Next Time,
Happy Designs!

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John McClain is an accomplished interior designer, speaker, writer, and on-air contributor who has turned his lifetime passion for interior design into an opportunity to do the same for others.

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