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When given the choice of being indoors or outside I will always choose to be outdoors. Is there anything better than a simple meal of wine, a crusty baguette, and some cheeses spread out on a blanket either in Sheep Meadow, Central Park, or under an umbrella on the beach? My answer is always the same – absolutely not! Food seems to taste better; I inherently feel more relaxed and at one with the world.

One positive aspect of the last two years when our focus and thoughts shifted from going places to things closer to home is that we started experimenting and recreating our environment. We’re probably all better cooks and I, for one, certainly learned to make interesting new cocktails during endless virtual happy hours with friends while on Zoom calls. So, it is natural that we’ve shifted our thoughts to more home entertaining and creating spaces to have friends and fun times. Subconsciously I feel we’re all craving a better outlook and conditioning our brains to think more positively – surrounding ourselves with things that make us feel happy, inside, and outside. Let’s talk about our outdoor spaces.

As we spend more and more time in our patios and backyards, the emphasis is on:

1. Spaces that are less formal, more comfortable. We live in a world where we’ve abandoned wearing ties and swopped our heels for trainers. There’s a reason rattan/wicker is so popular and why we are relying on it to decorate our outdoor space. It brings up images of blue skies, blue water, and sunshine – an overall feeling of warmth and comfort  It elevates the porch décor vibe we’re all seeking, and you can choose everything from comfy sofas to plush beanbags. Wickerwork is everywhere! (Have you checked out Home Goods recently)?

2. When you think lighting, think luxury! “Lighting is so important in outdoor environments as it brings that all-important ambience after dark,” Kelly Hoppen, Celebrity Cruise designer says. “There is so much choice, from gorgeous sculptural floor lanterns to intricate pendant lights, ideal for adding warmth and elegance.” The Italian outdoor design specialist ETHIMO have come up with the Lucerna Lamp which is chic, contemporary and fully on board with the new luxury vibe.  It encompasses a little of both the past and the future.  (No, you won’t find these at Home Goods but there are floor lanterns in every shape and size).

3. Balancing out bright tones by contrasting them with neutrals.  Bold and vibrant colors add interest but are better in small doses.  Patterns using wide stripes are tough to beat because they already have that balance. Outdoor fabrics are such excellent quality these days (think Sunbrella) that they will endure bright sunshine as well as afternoon showers – especially important in Florida.

4. Choosing plants that work well in containers. Low-maintenance plants with beautiful leaves like Monstera, Bird of Paradise, Philodendron are hard to beat as are ferns and grasses. To ensure a lush green outlook from your patio year-round, opt for mini evergreen trees such as olive and eucalyptus, and for a statement, create a live wall of jasmine – the fragrance is subtle yet so inviting. Try it – I did.

No matter how you choose to decorate your outdoor space, just make sure you enjoy the serenity and tranquility that it brings, especially important in today’s upside-down world. We’re so fortunate here in South Florida that the weather is conducive to being outdoors and that we have access to some of the best sandy beaches just minutes away from where we live. That’s my happy place, what’s yours?

PS Thanks for hanging in there with us.  We truly couldn’t do our jobs without you.