Decorating and Defining the Outdoor Spaces

By on August 25, 2015, in Soft Surroundings

Whether it’s a wraparound Queen Anne porch, a breezy southern veranda, a portico, pergola, patio or poolside terrace, outdoor spaces are extensions of the home. Think of them as outdoor living rooms.

They are the places where we welcome guests and bid them adieu; the last thing we see as we leave the house and the first thing that greets us on our approach toward home. We entertain, read, laze around, and contemplate within their wide-open walls. They are the hybrid of home and garden. It’s only apropos they reflect our personalities and tastes in function and décor.

The first step to defining and decorating any outdoor space, no matter the size or style, is to treat it like an open-air addition to the home. Even if you only use it six months out of the year, furnish it with comfortable, soul-soothing essentials and the memory of those sunny six months will warm you throughout the winter!

15328Start from the bottom up. All you need to soften a patio’s clay tiles or lighten the look of a porch’s wood flooring is a weather-resistant rug or mat. One of our favorites (and our customer’s too) is our vibrant Veranda Mat. It’s made from recycled plastics so you can feel good about it’s durability and resilience. Plus, it’s soft on bare feet. The colorful motif calls to mind Oriental rug designs, and can inspire a variety of furnishings and accents. For example, pull out the turquoise, cobalt or saffron color and lacquer a side table or the patio door with shiny paint to match. Add a vase of wildflowers from the garden picking up the same color and you’ve redecorated in a few easy steps.


Our Andalusia Quatrefoil Mat is perfect poolside with its cheery aqua color and Moorish graphic design. It’s easily swept clean, or hosed down. And it’s reversible. Flip it over to change things up a bit mid-season or whenever the mood strikes. This mat is also constructed of reclaimed plastics, so it resists water, fading and mildew. Toss our Crewel Quatrefoil Pillow on the chaise or wicker settee nearby to complete the classic look beautifully.

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Two more favorites with our customers are the Bahia Suzani Mat and the Salamanca Chevron Mat. Their rich, fade-resistant colors will cast a bright and tropical tone on a lanai or in a solarium and they’re stunning in combination with our Polynesian or Le Printemps Pillows. Casually elegant al fresco areas always manage to blur the line between in and out. A fail-safe way to do this is to bring weather worn statues like our Little French Girl or the Medici or Fountainbleu Urns onto the porch or patio. Filled with ferns, fruit, topiary, or one floating flower, these types of accents add character and charm without taking up much space. Don’t be hesitant to move a rustic sideboard or console table to the porch to support these treats for the eyes. Our Marble Top Bistro Console would be an exquisite choice with its polished top and blue iron base. We brought it from France on a recent inspiration trip and there are several people on our staff who wish they could take it home with them!

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If you use your outdoor space for a few precious moments of solitary reading or sipping your morning coffee, our Montmarte Garden Table and Chairs might be just the thing to transport you to that quiet spot at a French sidewalk café. We love the naturally distressed green paint on the top and the whitewashed iron pedestal with paw feet. The slats of the chairs are painted an alternating turquoise and emerald green for a playful touch. Just imagine these pretty pieces placed on our turquoise Veranda Mat. Pure fun!


In colder climates, outdoor pergolas and rooftop patios transform into summer kitchens in the warmer months. Grilling outside can be a nightly affair. Dress up the patio area to add to the fun and the function. Scatter clay pots with bushy, fragrant herbs near the grill and sprinkle these fresh spices on whatever is cooking. Place a Veranda Mat under the grill master’s feet. No worries if it catches a splash of barbeque sauce. You can simple hose it off.



Dress the table with a vintage cloth and anchor it with smooth river rocks here and there. String an open-weave drapery panel or two on a clothesline to curtain off the eating area as a romantic table for two. Bring a floor or table lamp out from inside to shed some light and romance when the sun sets. Pop a few of our safe, flameless candles along the edge of the patio or in the garden for a magical evening.


Most indulgent and nostalgic of all is the outdoor space called the sleeping porch. If you’re lucky enough to have one of these, or you can move a daybed outside to create one, equip it with cozy comforts like our Positano Quilt and Bed Shams and our Leather and Hemp Rug underfoot. What could be better for an afternoon nap or a night sleeping in the cool breeze?

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More than anything, porches and other outdoor spaces are made to engage the senses. This is where we sit, swing or simply feast our eyes on the world outside. Within the open arms of our terraces and wraparounds we sip lemonade and face-to-face socialize. In the comfort of our verandas we inhale the scent of fresh cut grass, listen to the rain, or the laughter of our lingering guests. And over the years, this is where homecoming and prom pictures will be snapped, books will be devoured, card games will be played and dogs will dream.

We hope your outdoor living spaces are the source of much happiness and comfort for years to come.



  • Sharen March

    Veranda Mat Item #15328 -$88.95 IS IT REVERSIBLE? Description says Versatile and Reversible.

    • Soft Spoken Soft Surroundings

      Hi Sharen,

      The Veranda Mat is reversible and the other side is a more muted version of the colors on the side shown on our website, with gold being the main color. If you would like, I can have our customer care email you images of the reverse sides.

      Thank you!

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