Simple Furnishings Do Double-Duty on the Patio

This entry was posted on September 27, 2016 by Jeniffer Bello.

Any "plain Jane" shelving unit can be turned into an attractive accessory and integrated into patio furniture sets on a patio or deck. A bookcase may be used to store party supplies, games and outdoor toys or towels for the pool. That's just one example of a plain piece of furniture that can do double-duty outdoors.

While shelving has a functional use, it can be as stylish as the patio decor in which it's situated. In keeping with the casual look of outdoor living, a simple fabric skirt can be attached to cover items stored on the bottom shelves, while the back wall of the unit is decorated with wallpaper to coordinate with other furnishings.

When choosing a pattern, Better Homes and Garden recommends keeping it simple so there's no conflict with other colors or prints used for soft furnishings, such as patio chair cushions or patio table umbrellas.

Adding shutters to the front of the unit - covering a couple of shelves or along the full length of the bookcase - hides clutter in a country-style look that goes well with wicker patio furniture. Painting it white or off-white is in keeping with traditional cottage decor.

Transformed Potting Table
Another piece of outdoor furniture that can serve two purposes is a potting table. With some imagination, this functional piece of equipment can be a useful and attractive addition to an outdoor living space. In addition to serving as a place to handle gardening chores, it may turn out to be a true focal point.

A potting table can be painted or stained to match other furnishings or decorated in a bold color to offset neutral tones. By attaching a back panel of lattice wood, it becomes a place to hang useful items with peg board hooks. It can also serve as a backdrop for a piece of artwork that complements the patio design scheme. suggests using a low-lying shelf to hold a tub of ice for canned or bottled beverages, while the top surface becomes a rustic sideboard. Some potting tables, like one featured in This Old House Magazine, include a cut-out section for a basin that can be filled with ice.

That doesn't mean it has to give up its livelihood as the potting center. If it has cabinet doors or slide-out bins, the watering cans, misters and clippers are easily accessible, but out of sight at other times.

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