Hi guys — Sarah here. I just wanted to pop in really quick and introduce a new contributor to the blog, Caroline!

caroline barr - contributor

I meant to introduce you guys last week, but I’ve been caught on the phone and getting really behind as usual (and, as always, I’m doing other things behind the scenes that are both gross AND fun AND leading up to a long-awaited reno! Jeez, how long has it been since I tore out my master bathroom? I am going to have a confession all about that later this week as well as what inspired me to start remodeling it again). But Caroline used to write for my team when I worked for an online magazine called Society South, and she’s assisted me in a few articles since then when I do freelance work. Over the last few months, I realized that there are giant chunks of time where writing a post to update you feels like ages (even if it’s only a week, I fondly remember the days where I used to post more frequently), and you don’t see my busy little legs kicking below the surface (the quote of the duck on a calm surface is incredibly apt in my situation!). So, I asked Caroline if she might like to contribute to the site every once in a while for trend-spotting and decorating ideas, much like I used to do a few years ago on Saturdays, but with a little more substance. I like her eye and her writing style, so I’m happy to have her adding some of her own content to the site. Here she is with her first post all about decor for outdoor spaces! I love some of the items she’s found, and each month she’ll be back with themed new finds I hope you guys will enjoy. Thanks, and welcome, Caroline! ❤

Hey y’all, I’m Caroline and I’m so excited to join The Ugly Ducking House team! I love that I’m getting the chance to combine two of my passions — writing and design — for Sarah’s blog, and can’t wait to share more of my ideas with everyone. Even though the summer solstice isn’t for another few days, we’ve been lucky enough to have had such warm and beautiful weather early this year — which means extra time to enjoy being outside with friends and family (or just to get working on that tan). That’s why my first post features some of the coolest and handiest outdoor products to enhance your outdoor spaces — enjoy! *contains affiliate links*

stylish decor for outdoor spaces 2017
Clockwise from top left: chair / lamp / feeder / table torch / hammock / bean bag chair / lawn mower / tunic / bug spray / fire pit / table / coolerrug

June: you step out of your office to a burst of hot, humid air. You get in your car and nearly every surface burns to the touch. A pop song about fleeting vacation flings is playing on the radio. Ahh, yes, summer has finally begun. But before you get caught up in a day dream montage of grilling burgers poolside, waving sparklers with the kids, and eating too many popsicles, ask yourself — are you, or rather, is your backyard, actually ready? If you’re picturing pollen-covered, half-half broken lawn chairs; a pile of dusty, deflated pool floats; and a grill that’s near rust-damaged disintegration, then no, you are not ready for summer, my friend. Whether your backyard needs a total rehaul or just a little sprucing up, these outdoor products are guaranteed to upgrade your outdoor space and add a pop of fun just in time for summer to really get into swing.

Natural Wicker/Rattan Furniture — The light, natural wood look as been a popular minimalist interior design style for a while, but now it’s moving to the outdoors again. Retro-vibe rattan furniture gives your patio space a funky twist while still remaining neutral and inviting.

Inside Lighting Brought Outdoors — Bringing the indoors out is often achieved by incorporating comfy sofas or pillow accents into your patio seating design — but have you thought about doing the same with lighting? This solar-powered floor lamp brings the coziness of the indoors outside for an unusual, antique-like lighting effect.

Modern Bird Feeder — Bird feeders don’t have to be reserved for winter and certainly don’t have to be strictly utilitarian in style. Opt for a sleek geometric shape made of glass for a feeder that doubles as yard art.

Decorative Tabletop Torch — If tiki torches feel a little too cheesy-luao-birthday-party-backyard-barbeque to you, opt for a much chicer alternative to keep the bugs away. Fill this copper tabletop torch with citronella oil for a stylish way to stay bug-free without invoking a single hawaiian shirt vibe.

Hammock in a Trendy Color — Bright yellow is one of this summer’s top colors for decor, but think outside the box of throw pillows and pool floaties. A yellow hammock adds a touch of whimsy while still being functional, and the color will pop against a green backyard backdrop.

Creative Outdoor Seating — No more wooden Adirondak chair splinters for you! These outdoor beanbag chairs offer a casual, comfortable, portable seating option perfect for parties and catching some sun (just try not to fall asleep — no one wants an embarrassing sunburn!).

Robotic Lawn Mower — Also known as the “Roomba for lawns,” this little guy is perfect for those who hate cutting the grass in the heat and sun. Personally, I’m extremely curious what kinds of lawn striping or patterns this would create.

SPF or UPF Clothing — Whether gardening, grilling, or beachside, protecting your skin from harmful UV rays is a must. Give your sunscreen a hand by wearing some breathable SPF/UPF proof clothing that’s cute, as well as functional.

All Natural Bug Spray — Reduce the chemicals you put on your body and into the air with a tried-and-true, natural citronella spray. I discovered this awesome product a few years ago while on an annual family vacation in South Florida — let me tell you, this stuff really works! Added bonus: no stickiness and it smells great!

Copper Fire Pit — Upgrade your backyard fire pit to the on-trend metallic version that is sure to make any night-time soiree on the deck feel a touch more elegant.

Mosaic Tile Accents — One of this summer’s biggest trends also happens to be a great opportunity for a DIY project. Entertain yourself or your kids by decorating an end table, plant stand, or bird bath with colorful mosaic tiles.

Retro Patio Cooler — Coolers seem to always get the short end of the stick when it comes to design, which makes sense considering the wear-and-tear of countless tailgates and beach trips we put them through. With these retro and brightly-colored standing coolers, you don’t have to sacrifice an ounce of style for your outdoor space or the convenience of an ice-cold beverage. I recommend the turquoise color to continue the theme of bold and bright!

Bright Outdoor Rug — Drab, stained concrete; faded, weathered wood…this does not have to be the fate of your outdoor flooring. Add a colorful, textured outdoor run to create just as an inviting outdoor entertaining space as you have inside. Can y’all tell I like bright colors yet?

Even something as simple as adding a little color or testing a new product to make the sticky days more bearable (lookin’ at you, bug spray) can really make a difference when it comes to revitalizing and enjoying your outdoor space. So, I hope this list has inspired y’all to take your backyard swag up a notch — what’s your outdoors summer-fun must-have?

The post 13 Must-Haves for Outdoor Spaces appeared first on The Ugly Duckling House.

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