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GardenSMART :: Mix Master

Mix Master

By T.K. Wismer, Blue Oak
Photographs courtesy of Blue Oak

I recently attended the open house of a 1960's era condo that had been frozen in time. The entire living room was bedecked with matching wallpaper, upholstery, and drapes. It looked like one of those 3D prints where if you blur your vision just right, a dinosaur or a pineapple or some other random object might take shape. The couch looked like it just popped right off the wall and the windows and doors (yes, the doors were wallpapered) were blended away into oblivion because disguising safe exits was apparently a design choice back then. Clever.

The days of matchy-matchy have faded much like the retro wallpaper of that swanky condo. We no longer walk into a department store and outfit our entire home with one collection, one pattern, or one color. The trend has turned to creating a cohesive yet eclectic mix of tones, textures, and color accents. These same elements of style translate to our outdoor spaces as well. The challenge: follow these simple tips to become the mix master of your outdoor design.

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Mixing Furniture

Like its indoor counterparts, outdoor furniture needs to be functional and comfortable first but with an added degree of durability to withstand the elements. Always shop for quality pieces and don't be afraid to mix different collections or styles in one outdoor space. To make it all work together, you can carry a theme throughout with the accessories. By keeping the pops of blues and greens consistent throughout the two spaces, we created a cohesive look that blends furniture from both the Bahamas and Colfax collections.

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Mixing Colors

Working with a few different colors will add visual interest and depth to your outdoor space. Color is such a personal preference so go with what appeals to you most, but consider which colors play well with the overall tones of the house and natural surroundings. The patio has painted ceilings in a cool teal color so I ran with that theme as inspiration for the table-scape. Tone-on-tone, mixing light and dark hues from the same color family, is an easy way to create a layered look that is subtle yet interesting.

Mixing Patterns

Mixing patterns is often the most intimidating of the mix master skills. My best advice is to play with combinations until you get a grouping that you like. Varying patterns in the same tone is an easy way to start mastering your mix and creating visual surprises throughout your patio. You can also blend large and small patterns or just go for a completely random mix with colors that accentuate one another. The trick is just to be fearless and get outside your comfort zone. Pillows and accessories can make a big impact with minimal investment so build on your collection and switch things up from time to time.

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Mixing Metals

There are so many wonderful choices when it comes to metal accents these days. We are truly in a time where galvanized steel, copper, chrome and even brass are all sharing the stage collectively. Like two-tone jewelry, the mix of different metals is a timeless look that sets off outdoor spaces by adding a bit of dimension and glitz. Trays are a great way to incorporate metals and they are highly functional. Metal vases and décor are my go-to for outdoor spaces, especially around pools where it is important to avoid glass breakage.

Now that you have the keys to mix mastery, stop holding back and start shaking up your same old safe bet designs by infusing a little fun into your great outdoors!

Blue Oak Outdoor is aimed at providing stylish, high-quality outdoor furniture at reasonable prices. Launched by seasoned veterans in outdoor furniture making, Blue Oak is a carefully curated collection of innovative designs that exceed the material and product specifications commonly found in today's market. Comfort, quality and durability are built into every piece and the Blue Oak shopping experience is straightforward and simple.

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