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Hi everyone! I’m Kris from the blog Driven by Decor where I share simple tips and ideas for decorating homes with affordable style and timeless design. I recently freshened up our tired back patio and am excited to be sharing my six favorite summer essentials that can help you easily and affordably transform your outdoor living space too!


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Path Lighting to Illuminate the Way

Whether you use them to light the walkway leading to your outdoor space or place them around your patio or deck’s perimeter, path lights add instant evening ambience and charm. Pathway lighting used to be an expensive undertaking but now there are wireless light options that cost just a few dollars each (mine were $2 apiece at Target) and are as simple to install as sticking them in the ground.

Tip: Pay attention to the lumens of the path lights you’re considering buying – lights with low lumens are sufficient if you’re just looking to add some ambience but if you want enough light to significantly illuminate an area, chose ones with a higher lumen output.


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Garden Stools That Do It All

Garden stools are hands-down my favorite do-it-all outdoor accessory. My favorite use for them is as side tables but they’re also perfect for extra seating when hosting a large gathering or even as stylish stands for your outdoor plants.

Tip: Many garden stools have slightly rounded tops that aren’t ideal if you’d like to use them as a resting place for snacks and drinks. Look for stools with level tops along with drainage holes that prevent water from collecting inside.



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Decorative Trays to Cut Down on the Back and Forth

When hosting an outdoor party or even just a backyard family dinner, it can take a seemingly endless number of trips back and forth from inside to out to get everything ready. Take advantage of decorative trays that you can load up with food, drinks, or anything else you might need so that you spend less time going back and forth and more time enjoying your outdoor space.

Tip: Wood or plastic trays with handles tend to be the best choice for outdoor use since metal trays can get too hot to handle if left sitting out in the sun.

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Lanterns to Add Both Style and Ambient Light

I’m a little bit of a lantern junkie and love the style they add to homes when used both inside and out. Small or medium sized lanterns are perfect for dressing up your outdoor table. Simply place a plant in the middle of the table (a hanging basket with the hangers removed works great!), flank them with a pair of interesting lanterns and you’ve got a fresh and stylish outdoor centerpiece. Once it starts to get dark, you can light the lanterns on your table or hang them nearby to give off a warm, welcoming glow.

Tip: If you have young kids or are hanging your lanterns near anything flammable, battery-operated flameless outdoor candles are a great choice. I love the ones with built-in timers that can be programmed to turn your candles on and off at the same time each day.


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Pillows and Throws to Soften Your Space and Add Interest

Most outdoor furniture is made of metal or plastic with lots of hard edges so a few pillows and throws can make a world of difference by softening up your space and adding a dose of interesting color and pattern.

READ ALSO:  TripSee: How to Get the Most Out of Summer’s Best Travel App

Tip: Unless you’re going to be bringing your pillows inside after each use, choose indoor-outdoor fabrics for your pillow covers, use mildew-resistant inserts made for outdoor use, and protect them from prolonged exposure to heavy rain

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Outdoor String Lights that Make it Dreamy

Outdoor lights can transform even the dreariest outdoor space into something dreamy! I love the classic simplicity of clear globe lights but there are light options for every design style including a rainbow of options for cord colors along with bulbs shaped like lanterns, mason jars, and other unique shapes.

Tip: Don’t let the lack of an electrical outlet keep you from snagging a few sets of string lights for your outdoor space. With both solar powered and battery powered options available, having no outlet is no problem!


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About the Author

Kris Jarrett

Hi! I'm Kris, a design lover with a passion for room makeovers, DIY projects, stylish buys, and finding the perfect shade of paint. Decorate along with me as I share simple tips and ideas for adding affordable style and timeless design to your home.

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