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Southern Style with Rebecca Masters
Develop the ideal back porch
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    Now is the time to plan an outdoor living space to enjoy as the nicer weather is upon us. Whether it is a spot under a shady tree near your back door, a back porch, or poolside area, outdoor living spaces can be planned and arranged as if they are an indoor room. Many fabrics and decorative items are now available that can withstand the outside elements. Evaluate what your family enjoys doing outside, then continue your decorating theme from the inside of your home so that spaces flow together nicely. Many people enjoy dining outside in the morning or evening. Some may need seating to watch their children play. When making purchases and arranging your space, keep functionality in mind.
    A traditional home deserves a traditionally decorated outdoor space, while a contemporary outdoor space flows nicely with a contemporary home. Think about a comfortable table and chairs for outdoor dining. Will you need an umbrella for shade and comfort? Umbrellas in solid colors tend to look more visually pleasing and allow the eye to focus on other things in the space. Choose cushions and pillows to continue your home’s color scheme outside. Placemats, napkins, pillow and cushions are an inexpensive way to make your out door room seem complete. If wind or weather seem to be a problem, keep these things gathered together in a basket or cabinet so that they can be accessible and quickly and easily put out for use.
    Maybe an outdoor sitting space is what works for you. Chairs, rockers, or sofas can be fitted with coordinating pillows and cushions also. Provide side or coffee tables just as you would for a room indoors. Table or floor lamps are now made specifically for the outdoors. These help create an atmosphere that is warm and inviting. Outdoor rugs can help anchor this space and come in many colors and patterns. Other decorative items can be added such as coasters, candles, baskets for magazines, pottery, and plants that flow with your décor. Large potted plants on each side of a furniture arrangement can provide symmetry that makes your space seem planned and anchored. If wall space is available, consider hanging wrought iron pieces, if this matches your décor, or plants on sconces to provide a three dimensional look and add more interest to your space.
    If you have a poolside area, there are many creative things that can be done to decorate this space.  If you have lounge chairs, provide large towels rolled up and placed at the foot of each the lounge chairs. If you are purchasing poolside chairs, consider buying all of the same type. This will provide a cleaner and planned look. Set chairs in some type of order or row.  Small tables placed between each chair are functional and serve as a place to set snacks and beverages. Guests often forget sunglasses, sunscreen, or children’s toys. Show your guest they are welcome by having a basket with these items inside and ready for their use.
    Study your home and your family’s activities. There are many directions to choose from in decorating and outdoor space. Maybe your home lends itself to an elegant coastal décor that includes many textures, large shells, palm plants, or candles in a glass hurricane of sand and shells.  Maybe your porch needs an old world décor with stone-like planters, statuary, heavy metal furniture, and rich colors for pillows and cushions.  Many traditional homes look complete with an “old Savannah” décor with wrought iron furniture, and similar decorative pieces. Hurricane globes with candles and live ferns add to this look. A fun beach look can be created with bright colors, fish nets, and tropical plants.
    Whatever décor you choose, let the indoors flow to the outdoors. Create a comfortable outdoor living space, have the sweet tea ready, and enjoy your out door space with family and friends. It’s a southern thing!

    Rebecca Masters is a teacher who enjoys working in her design business, gardening, and entertaining.
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