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a home + living guide for the post-college, pre-parenthood, quasi-adult generation

04.19.2004

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let's take it outside make an outdoor living space by Kelly Beachell Gasner | 1 2 3 4
continued from page 2

Next you'll need furniture. Outdoor furniture is available in a huge variety of styles, colors, materials, and prices. Some materials stand up better to inclement weather than others; plastic, for instance, is practically indestructible, while wood tends to fade and warp when exposed to harsh weather conditions. Consider the weather conditions in your area before you make any purchases.

Outdoor furniture gets a lot of abuse and can seem like a steep investment when you buy it new. Fortunately, it's readily available used. Comb flea markets and swap meets, yard and estate sales, classified ads and market bulletin boards. People will sell outdoor furniture for a song, and unlike upholstered furniture, you don't have to worry about creepy-crawlies lurking in the cushions when you buy it. With a good scrub-down and a coat of paint, used outdoor furniture can look as good as new. Of course, comfort is key -- once you've selected durable chairs, lounges, or hammocks, pad them with upholstery foam covered with weather treated fabric or pre-fab furniture cushions. Don't be stingy with pillows -- layer them on thick. Nothing lures you outside like a cushy place to nap or sip margaritas on a balmy afternoon.

Lighting and climate control are the next big things to consider. If you're using the space at night, you're going to want to be able to see. If you have electrical outlets built into your home's exterior walls, terrific. Otherwise, invest in a few outdoor-use extension cords. Strands of white holiday lights you usually save for trimming the tree in December are incredibly beautiful and romantic threaded through the trees or across the ceiling of your balcony in the summertime. Paper lanterns are another inexpensive lighting solution. If you have a bigger budget, your local home center can help you put together custom outdoor lighting schemes based on your room's design. If you don't think electricity has any place in the great outdoors, citronella candles in small buckets or flower pots provide both light and insect control. Tiki torches are also fun and festive lighting options, and nothing adds more personality to a poolside barbeque!

keep on struttin'



 

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