With a tease of warm weather and signs that the winter snowfall just might be over, spring cleanup and garden plantings are well underway. Spending more time outside inspires creativity in decorating our porches, patios and decks with furniture. Planning your outdoor living oasis early in the spring will assist in executing the actual plan when the stable summer weather arrives.

Outdoor furniture doesn't just have to be the basic practical plastic chairs. Let's think outside the box. Visiting Greece a few years back, I noticed that my European relatives utilize their upholstered furniture outside. Granted, their weather may not be as harsh as ours in New England, but when it comes to decorating, I'm not opposed to trying anything.

Why not take that old floral chair and put in on the porch; especially if it's not being used inside and is taking up valuable floor space. Of course, the obvious question will arise: how to protect the indoor furnishings from the outdoor weather.

Purchasing a can of Scotchgard fabric protection will aid in the preservation of the fabric from the elements. Using removable vinyl patio furniture covers will also help in keeping the furniture dry.

Creating your outdoor oasis can be accomplished just as you would inside your home. Choose pieces from your home that are not getting the decorating love they once did and repurpose them for use in your outdoor living space. Rugs, furniture, tables, mirrors and paintings can all be considered for this space.


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Gather an area rug that isn't being used or stored in the basement. Painting some of the pieces to work with that old floral or striped upholstered chair gives new life and purpose to the piece. Use a vintage linen table cloth to tie around an unused footstool or ottoman with a piece of twine. Adding roping will provide texture and a natural element to the space.

How about that old dining sideboard that never gets used? Utilize this piece as a serving station on the porch or deck.

Store entertaining pieces such as candles, dishes, napkins and paper products here. If the space allows for hanging of fabric, add broadcloth fabric panels to the sides of the deck where the porch is attached. These can be drawn for protection from the sun on those hot summer days.

Debbe Daley, owner of Debbe Daley Designs and RAW Furnishings, is an interior designer with more than 25 years of experience as a professional interior redesigner, stylist, stager, trainer and project manager. Follow her blog at blogs.lowellsun.com/daleydecor. She also blogs at debbedaley designsllc.blogspot.com.