The Difference is in the Details

Take your outdoor space to the next level with these easy design solutions.

You bought some outdoor furniture, placed it on your patio. You step back and look at it, and it just isn’t right. It looked great in the catalog but now, on your patio, it’s not nearly as exciting. It’s missing something, but you don’t know what. Have no fear: that catalog was styled and photographed by professionals. Here are all the secrets you need to get the look at home!

Outdoor Art

Just like interiors, what you hang on the wall can really pull the room together. Art is a great way to express your style and can be used as the launching pad for the colors you use in your furniture and accessories. Here, @AnnaBaileying created a custom piece of art that pulls together all of the colors we incorporated in the rest of the design. The best part? It can live outside and weather any storm.


Touches of light create a space that people are drawn to. Try adding candles, soft string lighting or lanterns. Get creative with how to display the light, like these hanging plant holders that we used as candle holders (from World Market). We clustered three together at various heights for added interest.

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Whether it’s gold, copper, or silver, brushed, aged, or polished, a few strategically placed metallic accents will make your space feel even more like an interior room. I love these copper hammered finish side tables from Target. Not only do they add a metallic touch, they also add visual texture with the hammered finish, a place to put your drink and even open to store items out of the weather.



Pillows are always the least expensive accessory for decorating, so you can really have fun changing them out with the seasons or if your style changes a bit from where you first started. Be sure to look for indoor/outdoor pillows with a zipper enclosure for easy washing and a polyfill interior that resists mold and mildew. For this design, we used grey and blue hues to pull the color from the art and arbor.


As much as any other accessory, choose plants that reflect the style that is uniquely you. For this project, we chose structural plants like twin flowered agave, round cactus and foxtail fern as well as softer, more tropical plants like ‘deja vu’ philodendron and dianella. Plant varieties are available in every shape, size and yes, style, so take some time to consider what plants you love to use in your outdoor living space.

Catherine Arensberg is an exterior designer who specializes in finding ways to create your ultimate outdoor space, no matter the budget. Browse more of her work here:

Text and photos by Catherine Arensberg

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