Thursday, June 2, 2016

CREATING AN OUTDOOR MOBILE SUMMER HANG OUT PLAY AREA


(How's that for a mouthful of adjectives for a title?  I wasn't sure what to call this space!)

We entertain pretty often in our home.  We have a fairly open layout for housing everyone, an extra play/bonus room, and a big new patio (full reveal coming next week!).  Even with all of those options, more times than not, everyone ends up hanging around in the garage and on the driveway, centered around the ping pong table and basketball goal.

Our garage is definitely not company worthy, but family looks past the craigslist and garage sale hoard to watch the rivalry play out.  As we begin summer, I'm anticipating the kids having friends over often, too, who will be utilizing that space as well.  So, rather than pulling out the camping chairs as usual, I wanted to create a good sitting area for everyone to gather.

However, since all the action takes place around the driveway, I couldn't outfit it with lots of furniture that would permanently stay there.  I wanted some things that would be easy to move around and shift to whatever spot we needed them to watch whatever was going on.  So, the spruce up of the driveway side of the house was on!

As I said, I knew I needed some seating that was easy to move.  Aware of their huge outdoor furniture selection, I headed to my local At Home store to consider my options.  I was looking for a bench, loveseat, or settee that was lightweight, yet sturdy and weather proof.  When not in use, I planned to push the bench to the side wall of the house, where it would be uncovered and susceptible to the weather, so it needed to be able to hold up to wind, sun, rain, hail... I'm in Oklahoma so you never know what you'll get!

After locating several choices, I settled on a fairly traditional wicker settee, but it's the all-weather wicker that won't wear out or be harmed by harsh outdoor conditions.  I thought it was a great value and it's easy to scoot around wherever I want to use it.   At Home has the biggest selection of outdoor cushions I've ever seen (like 10 aisles or so!), but since it would always be sitting where it would be uncovered, I opted to just add a few cute outdoor pillows.  The seat is plenty comfortable enough without the cushion, anyway.


With that selection made, there were several other things I wanted to use to fluff up our driveway hang out spot.  I recently found a vintage hanging chair (score!) on a stand, and a seat cushion matching the settee pillows tied everything together beautifully.


The cute red greek key pillow is from At Home as well (it came with a down insert...bonus!), but it's not specifically outdoor so I'll keep that one inside when we're not using it so it won't fade.  It looked cute on my Memorial Day patio, too!

Just to see how far we came with only a few key pieces...




To finish off the space, I added some flowers and a few other outdoor necessities, like drinks!  Everyone needs an ice cold drink on a hot summer afternoon or evening, and these plastic tubs are the best for holding a lot while being easy to move around if needed.


I've shared these chippendale style planters with you that I got second hand, but I'm happy to report that I can now give you a source for them, because At Home has the exact style, available in 2 sizes!  These are seriously my favorite new planters.  I think I need another pair for the front of the house, too!


I've declared my love for garden stools and their versatility here, so adding one to my space was a no-brainer.  You can never have too many of those!  Everything in my little decorator's heart wanted to add an outdoor rug, too, to pull the "space" all together, but it really wasn't practical for this use.  Wouldn't that have looked so cute, though?  I had to remind myself, the purpose of this space is quick, easy, and mobile seating.


My other treasure from At Home was this brass ginger jar .  I saw it a few weeks ago, and when I went back to the store last week I couldn't leave without it this time (actually, I couldn't resist a pair)!  It's playing double duty and storing some summer outdoor essentials like sunscreen and bug spray.


By adding a few other games and toys, the space is ready for kids of all ages.  The plastic tubs work well here, too, to corral equipment for our play area and the handles make it super easy to transport everything all together.




While we were working on that side of the house, I've been wanting to spruce up the front of the garage by adding some window boxes, and I found the perfect pair while I was at At Home to add some charm to that big brick wall.  Sad little lonely window before...


The 36" size fit perfectly, and with the liners and hanging hardware included, it just took my husband a few minutes to install them (drilling into the brick was necessary).  The flowers I filled them with are just getting a start, but I'm hoping they'll fill out and be spilling over in no time at all.



We got a test run of our new set-up during my Mom's birthday party last week, and I think everyone approved- except that I made them wait for dinner so I could snap a few photos- thanks fam! ;)



When we're not using it for guests, the settee and other key pieces move easily against the house, ready to pull back out when the next friends arrive!


I'm excited to be working with At Home as part of the At Home Inspiration Team for the next few months to share some decorating ideas with you.  If you have a local store, be sure to stop by sometime.  If you're familiar with the store, it used to be Garden Ridge and they have completely re-branded and have great deals on an amazing selection of home decor now!  I've shopped at Garden Ridge since I was a teenager, and I'm telling you, the new At Home is SO GOOD!  I'm positive you'll be pleasantly surprised if you haven't stopped by yet, they continue to get lots of new items in weekly and there's something for every room in your house.


In fact, we have a brand new store in town opening on Saturday, and I'll be attending a special preview tonight (follow along with the fun on Instagram!).  I plan to take some photos and share a little tour with you!  Even if you don't have a local store, you can still check out At Home's webpage and blog for more great decorating ideas and inspiration.



I have partnered with At Home as a member of the At Home Inspiration Team for this post.  All opinions are mine alone.



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9 comments:

  1. So cute!! And colorful and inviting! I'll have that Dr. Pepper please!

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  2. How fun, love the new seating and I need some of those planters too.

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  3. Well, I never, ever would have thought to decorate the driveway area when my kids were young but this is fabulous! I love everything! I wish we had At Home up here in Pa. We have Home Goods which I think is similiar but they do NOT have 10 rows of pillows:( This is a great diea.

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  4. I had no idea Garden Ridge is now At Home! I loved shopping at Garden Ridge in Dallas. We have a newish At Home here in Huntsville and I didn't know what it was and have never visited. Now I will!!! Your driveway is awesome! :)

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  5. Hi Jennifer - I am a new reader here and love your blog already. When I saw the images of this post I immediately knew they were from ATHome. I am a huge fan of them and the products they carry (and also a member of the team). Thanks for sharing your beautiful outdoor space with us. Better go give mine some beauty!!

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