Patio Furniture

How To Make Your Outdoor Living Space Fabulous And Timeless with Décor that Will Last Beyond this Season

Keep your outdoor space simple, fresh and trendy for years to come.


You’re thriving this summer, but is your outdoor living space keeping up? Or is your decor stuck in 1997? It’s hard to find the perfect look that will last throughout the seasons, but similar to your favorite pair of jeans, it’s possible to find timeless pieces that never go out of style.

Principal and interior designer Summer Thornton of Chicago-based Summer Thornton Design has taken the Windy City and the rest of the country by storm, being coined the “it girl” of design. Her advice? Stick to neutral furniture and take risks with accessories.

“While I think it is important to always have a stylish space, I actually try to stay away from trends when it comes to furnishings,” Thornton said. “When something is trendy, it oftentimes looks dated in a year or two, and I think furniture and decor should last longer than that. That’s why I prefer more timeless looks. The one place I’ll make an exception is with decorative pillows. You can do something fun with them and not feel bad if you want to replace them in a few years.”

Thornton recommends having fun with your accessories—that’s the part of outdoor decor where you can take risks and make your space pop. But if you want your accessories to last, stick to materials that age beautifully.

“There’s nothing worse than a plastic table with faux wood grain,” Thornton said. “Real, natural materials typically age well and gain more character over the years, but plastic decor always looks like plastic décor, which isn’t a great look.”

Designer Rae Duncan of Chicago-based Rae Duncan Interior Design says keeping a timeless patio or deck is all about the greenery. Fresh flowers will never go out of style, and will always bring a level of warmth to your space.

“The pop is in the plants. Use flowers to create a bright and lovely space,” Duncan said. “Emphasize your plants and greenery instead of a bright-colored couch.”

Pick out some deep containers that can showcase a big variety of greenery. Pots and vases can be your chance to get wild with colors, too. Both Thornton and Duncan agree that when you’re searching for your accessories, the brighter the better.

“Tangerine is the outdoor color. It’s lovely,” Duncan said.

When designing your space, don’t forget about lighting. Duncan advises staying away from anything harsh. Try and keep it simple and dim. Hanging lights, for example, will add a romantic vibe to your space.

“Lighting is so important outdoors, and it doesn’t have to break the bank. You can buy Italian string lights for affordable prices that will last year after year. They’re timeless.”

By sticking to neutral colored furniture, taking risks with accessories and highlighting any greenery, you can create the outdoor living space of your dreams. And if you follow these timeless tips, your décor will last from season to season.