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Jazz It Up

Here are five steps to a new, inviting look to your outdoor spaces.

With all of us spending more time at home these days, and summer just around the corner, it’s time to jazz up our outdoor spaces so that we can shake off the cabin fever and enjoy our castle grounds. Here are 10 steps to get you there.

1. The easiest way to jazz up your outdoor deck or patio is by using splashes of color. Sometimes it only means investing in a few accent pieces that make a bold statement and your outdoor living space perks right up. You don’t always have to buy new; with a little elbow grease and some creativity you can make second-hand items look brand new. Here are some ideas to help get you started.

2. Before you begin, clear everything off of your deck or patio and give it a good pressure wash. If it needs staining, all the new furniture in the world won’t help; bite the bullet and give it a new coat of stain or paint. This is actually a great place to get started with colorful accents. Try painting your fence posts a bright, coordinating color such as teal. Or paint a pattern or border around the edge of your deck.

3. Decks are for socializing, so show that you are ready for company. The addition of metal furniture is inexpensive and comes in lots of great colors. Place a colorful bar cart in the corner and load it up with bright acrylic glassware.

4. Give your old wicker furniture a facelift by painting it in bright sunny colors, or if you’re feeling adventurous, use a stencil and add flowers or other patterns. Just use acrylic paint, but seal it with varnish to protect your paint job.

5. Get a hold of a galvanized bucket or oblong container, paint it bright blue or orange and add a vine pattern on the outside. Voila, now you have a fancy ice-bucket for all your coolers. Remember, unless you’re using a food-safe paint, the surface should not come in direct contact with food.

6. Use themes such as the seashore, by incorporating fish, sea shells and beach balls in your accents or stencils. A citrus theme works well by using pale greens, oranges and yellow as colors for chairs or bistro tables. Try painting a slatted table top with two or three different corresponding shades.

7. Who says garden sheds have to be brown and boring. Add colorful window boxes, gingerbread trim and some wild stripes on the walls.

8. Funky lighting goes a long way to perking up a patio area. Colorful lanterns or strings of lights can be hung from overhanging trees or beams to provide a fun, economical source of lighting.

9. What to do with the white vinyl furniture that’s still in great shape, but you hate to get rid of? Not to worry. With paint specially formulated for vinyl furniture, and some new cushions, you can make your old chairs look brand new.

10. Use color wisely by tying everything together with your accessories. Take four chairs each painted in a different primary color and add a cushion in a common color such as red or green, and place them around a neutral table top.