First things first! Start by laying a foundation for your outdoor living and dining areas with a pretty, weather-proof rug. By choosing a rug made of hearty polypropylene or other plastic-based blends, you can rest easy knowing your investment won't be dulled by the sun or rain. Instead, you can focus on that welcome dose of color and pattern.
Where to look: Dash and Albert and Wayfair both offer a huge variety of indoor/outdoor rugs that can withstand anything mother nature throws at them. Take your pick and then kick off your shoes to indulge in barefoot comfort outside all spring, summer, and early fall.
Infuse your outdoor living area with the type of polish and warmth that only a coordinated furniture set can offer. These days, you can easily find a soft set that's just as cozy and beautiful as your indoor upholstered versions.
Where to look: Scope out your local Walmart, Lowe's, or The Home Depot for the best bang for your buck. Looking for more upscale scenery? Frontgate carries luxurious furniture collections that are proof of your timeless taste.
Take your pick of bold ceramic seats, concrete perches, and wooden benches. These versatile summertime staples suit even the smallest of outdoor rooms and gardens, and since they are mobile, they can be rearranged to suit your changing whims and needs from year to year.
Where to look: Best Nest and One Kings Lane provide you with all types of gorgeous garden seating options in just about any style and color. Whether your taste leans towards modern or traditional, you're sure to find an outdoor seat that's just right.
Break up what might otherwise be matchy-matchy seating with a thoughtfully curated collection of weather-proof pillows. Try your hand at mixing up those with tight patterns alongside solid-color pillows and large-scale designs. This trick offers a quick and affordable update that packs major impact.
Where to look: Lulu & Georgia stocks a huge line of indoor/outdoor pillows that look as though they were pulled right from your designer couch inside. For a slightly more budget-friendly option, try popping in to your neighborhood Target store or Big Lots.
Instantly add pep to your patio with colorful accessories, such as classic iron lanterns, sweet-sounding water features, and pretty wind chimes. These pieces make your outdoor setting feel complete and can be happily used year after year.
Where to look: Plow & Hearth carries all sorts of outdoor goods, offering solar-powered lawn accents, fire pits, and more. Another place to seek out all-weather accessories is 1-800-FLOWERS.com. Although traditionally thought of as merely a floral retailer, the brand also carries birdhouses, hanging mobiles, wreaths, and more!
Imagine an easygoing Sunday afternoon, lying back on a gently swaying porch swing packed with pillows. You can easily make the daydream come true by purchasing an all-weather swing and installing it under your porch's roof with heavy-duty hardware. Post-install, you'll be wondering why you waited so long to add one to your outdoor area.
Where to look: Ballard Designs is your one-stop-shop for classic porch swings. They come in dozens of patterns and colors, and each can be customized to suit your particular needs and budget. Looking for a free-standing version for your yard? Try checking the inventory at Sears.
If you plan to use your living and dining spaces outside in the evening and on into the night, a quality lighting plan is key. Waterproof electrical connections ensure safe relaxation and lounging, and LED bulbs reduce the hassle of having to invest in and replace traditional bulbs every season.
Where to look: Check Lee Valley Tools when thinking about outfitting your patio with lighting that will last. This brand comes stocked with motion-activated varieties and other LED options that can withstand all types of wet weather. True Value also carries everything you'll need for an outdoor lighting scheme, including overheads, luminaries, string lights, and lit fans.
Outdoor Food Prep
Once you have your patio or porch decorated and ready for welcoming friends and family, it's time to turn your attention to food-prep appliances and entertaining pieces. Having a plan and all of the necessary accessories in place guarantees a party that everyone will enjoy.
Where to look: Hayneedle is another store where you can get everything on your list in preparation for your next alfresco fête. While browsing their collections, you can stock up on your grilling tools, tableware, and serving pieces. If you're looking for serious appliances for your outdoor kitchen, check out the line of natural gas options from BuildDirect.