Easy, Elegant Outdoor Entertaining with Brittany of brittanyMakes

Posted by: on April 11th, 2013 | 23 Comments
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Outdoor Decorating Ideas: Friends gather for an outdoor meal on an elegantly decorated patio

In our Style Challenge series, we ask some of our favorite bloggers from around the web to surprise us with their ideas for creating a stylish and functional space using Home Depot products as a starting point.

Brittany, of the blog brittanyMakes, held what could only be described as a totally elegant BBQ soiree to celebrate the success of her Patio Style Challenge. From the top of the twinkling globe lights to the edgy black-and-white painted floor, Brittany’s outdoor decorating ideas are simply stellar, and it all started with patio furniture from The Home Depot.

Read on to see how she created this striking outdoor space, including how-instructions for the patterned painted floor.  

I’m an outdoorsy kind of girl. Not of the rock climbing kind, though. I’m more of the sun-soaking, flip-flop-wearing, beach-going, and BBQing sort. Spring is perhaps my favorite time of the year. It’s the moment that seasonal door opens to the brighter and warmer part of the year. Spring marks the beginning of warm weather and long evenings, the perfect formula for outdoor activities and creating spring and summertime memories.

I spent my first job as a teenager working as the BBQ Girl at Sonoma Jack Cheese Factory. Let’s just say I know my way around a big juicy cheeseburger and plenty of singed arm hairs. At our house, the spring and summer months are usually full of BBQ parties spent with friends. We’re just so happy the season is finally changing so we can continue with our BBQing adventures.

 Outdoor Decorating Ideas: Friends prepare a BBQ soiree on an elegantly decorated patio

We own a house with a close friend and my brother, which, obviously, is a situation made of many decision makers and means very few home improvement projects are agreed upon. Sadly, our patio space happened to be one of those undecided areas, that, at the end of the day, didn’t need sprucing, so it was left as-is. The patio ended up serving only one purpose – to house the BBQ. The moment The Home Depot asked me to participate in this Patio Style Challenge, I knew it was this sad patio space that deserved a face-lift. I’m just so lucky the other home owners supported my vision and the project!

Once I knew the Style Challenge was really happening, I began planning the patio make-over. I knew exactly what I had to do, and knowing that my weekdays are always spent at the office, the lack of time I usually have to work on projects was staring at me right in my face. I knew I had to start right away.

Outdoor Decorating Ideas: A drab patio before its makeover

My vision for our new patio space was to turn it into something grand and unforgettable. If you know me, I tend to keep my interior designs along the lines of a more neutral and traditional palette. For some reason I had this excitement brewing in me to design our outdoor patio with more color and risk than my conservative-self ever would have. Designing this space was exhilarating, it felt exactly like wearing high heels for the very first time – that youthful experience of feeling fearless yet edgy.

Outdoor Decorating Ideas: The setting for an outdoor soiree

Our patio transformation didn’t happen overnight; it took some planning to get everything done before the deadline. The first thing I did was sketch out a few patterns for the patio floor on some scrap paper: a simple diamond pattern, a classic chevron pattern, and a few other patterns for comparison purposes, but I had a feeling the winner would be a geometric pattern. Sure enough, I went with a hexagon pattern. I measured and cut out a 24-inch hexagon from some leftover chip board I had on hand. The chip board was about 1/4-inch thick, so I used a jigsaw to cut out the shape.

I stenciled out the hexagon pattern onto the cement patio floor using chalk. I first drew a 2-inch border around the space, then began stenciling the hexagons starting from the top right corner, and worked my way across, then down, measuring 4 inches between each hexagon. My biggest saving grace in making the pattern perfectly symmetrical was using a large L-shaped ruler (a “framing square,” which I bought from The Home Depot). I use this framing square in almost every project I work on! I highly recommend adding this kind of ruler to your toolbox.

Outdoor Decorating Ideas: The steps in stenciling a patterned painted floor

Once all the hexagons were stenciled, I primed each hexagon with Zinsser water-based primer and a 3-inch Purdy brush. I chose water-based primer so that, if I have to, I can lift the paint from the patio without having to use harsh chemicals or paint thinners. I wasn’t too concerned about clean edges during this step, since it’s just primer, but of course I made sure to paint within the lines. I let the primer dry completely for a full day.

The second round of stenciling required drawing out the diamonds between each hexagon. I trimmed off an edge of the hexagon stencil which happened to make one-half of a perfect diamond. I used this trimmed piece to chalk out all the diamonds, then primed each diamond.

Outdoor Decorating Ideas: Illustrations showing the steps in creating a patterned patined floor

While the diamonds were drying, I began taping off the hexagons and boarder using Frog Tape. It’s true, taping requires a lot of time, but it’s completely worth the extra effort to get those crisp, clean lines. For the paint, I chose two classic colors of Behr’s Porch and Patio Floor Paint: black and white. I painted the hexagons white since the visual impact would be more compelling against the dark patio set, whereas if I had painted the hexagons black, I feared they would be visually consumed by the black dining set (as in, they wouldn’t photograph well!).

Outdoor Decorating Ideas: The patterned painted floor is complete 

I was jumping for joy once the dining set arrived. I picked the Woodbury 7-Piece Patio Dining Set, and it was love at first sight once I saw its hardy X-base table adorned with six beautiful French-inspired wicker chairs. I accidentally got to see it in person during one of my shopping visits to The Home Depot. That day, I texted pics of the set to my fiancee with messages like “this is the one!” and “I can’t believe this is for real!” It was perfect, and I knew it would be the greatest centerpiece to my bold and whimsical vision of an everyday patio.

Outdoor Decorating Ideas: Bold patterns and colors combine to create an elegant outdoor space

Outdoor Decorating Ideas: Hydrangeas, bold patterns and elegant dinnerware combine to create a beautiful outdoor space

This bold and whimsical theme was no accident. I was already working on a few table setting ideas for my wedding this summer – also black, white and gold. I decided to bring some of these ideas to life using the new patio set and some vintage and antique items I’ve been collecting over the years.

First, I cut up some fabric to make the black-and-white-striped table runners and tied off the ends with ribbon. I designed the throw pillows using the same striped fabric as the runners and added contrasting polka dot fabric for the reverse. The gold ice bucket I found at a local antique fair, and the ironstone pitcher I found at a local salvage shop. I picked up some black-and-white-striped paper straws to coordinate with the table settting, then tossed some pale blush flowers and cilantro sprouts in a few enamel buckets. My favorite flair that I added specifically to this space is definitely the adorable Swiss dot napkins. Finally, I paired everything against classic gold chargers and simple gold flatware.

Outdoor Decorating Ideas: A beautiful black and white outdoor table setting with flowers and gold cutlery

Pale blues, oranges, and pinks are perfect colors for spring, which I brought to this space with flowers and ribbon. I strung multiple strands of ribbon across rows of mini frosted globe lights. I bought the flowers from The Home Depot; pale blue hydrangeas, white roses and pale pink carnations, and you wouldn’t believe how long they lasted! The flowers were so fresh, even the hydrangeas lasted almost three weeks! The Home Depot has now become one of my go-to places for fresh cut flowers.

Outdoor Decorating Ideas: Globe lights, an oversized frame chalkboard and a bold, black and white painted floor

I have to admit, there’s no better way to welcome home a new patio set than to throw a BBQ party! And that’s just what we did. We invited some of our close friends over and partied as we normally would, with bread and cheeses and meats and salads. The only difference this time was that we had a dining set where we could sit and feast!

Outdoor Decorating Ideas: Gorgeous outdoor patio with painted floor and dining set

Outdoor Decorating Ideas: Meats, cheeses and salad prepared for an outdoor party on the patio

 Outdoor Decorating Ideas: An elegantly set table with a meal ready for guests

Outdoor Decorating Ideas: An oversized frame chalkboard and a lemonade jar

The oversized framed chalkboard menu was a DIY project for this space. It’s over 6 feet tall, and all materials, such as the crown moulding trim and chalkboard paint, were purchased at The Home Depot. I posted a full tutorial on my Oversized Frame Chalk Board on my blog. Take a look!

Outdoor Decorating Ideas: Bold patterns play against the natural shapes and colors of flowers

Outdoor Decorating Ideas: Friends enjoy a meal together on a beautifully decorated patio

We had a terrific time welcoming our new patio set to our home. I’m sure you can tell. I can’t thank The Home Depot enough for asking me to be a participant in this Style Challenge. I hope everyone can see just how easy it can be to transform an everyday patio into a space to hang out, relax, and enjoy the company of friends and family. All it takes is a bit of paint and a dining set. Thank you, Home Depot!

Brittany is a fierce accountant by day and a zealous DIYer by night. brittanyMakes is where Brittany journals her adventures in DIY projects ranging from everyday home decor to handmade jewelry, from tips in photography to stories of bulldogs, and everything else in-between. She says her main mission is to inspire her readers to do what they love, take risks, and above all, to exercise their creative muscles!

To create her outdoor space, Brittany used the Hampton Bay Woodbury 7-Piece Patio Dining Set as her jumping off point.

For more outdoor decorating ideas, see other Patio Style Challenges, as well as our Style Challenge pinboard on Pinterest.

Style Challenge is a series of posts from guest contributors who aim to bring you fresh inspiration and ideas for your home and garden using a single Home Depot product as a starting point. Brittany received the outdoor dining set from The Home Depot and a gift card, but The Home Depot provided no other compensation. The opinions and ideas Brittany expressed are her own.

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  1. [...] and elegant aren’t two words often used together, but in this flawless outdoor entertaining space, Brittany of brittanyMakes shows us that elegant actually can be easy. All you need to achieve this [...]

  2. [...] to inspire a colorful and lively palette. Try a pink, yellow and orange plan that pops, or a blue, black and white collection that [...]

  3. [...] and writes about decorating, cooking and lifestyle on her blog brittanyMakes. Read about how she turned a drab patio into an elegant space  in a previous Style Challenge [...]

  4. [...] Last spring, Brittany of the blog brittanymakes joined us for our Patio Style Challenge, and we’re thrilled she’s back for another round of DIY and decorating. See her patio space here. [...]

  5. [...] you know from my Home Depot Patio Challenge, I actually don’t have my own outdoor space – we live in a loft, and I borrowed my [...]

  6. [...] cool is Brittany’s painted floor?? ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ And while I’m on the [...]

  7. Christina cramer says:

    This is genius! Next time you are over, we need your consult on our patio. You should be proud of what you are able to create and don’t ever stop creating.

  8. [...]  Brittany of Brittany Makes  - see her Style Challenge post here – Why I Love It:  I’m very inspired by her use of string lights and ribbon, her floor [...]

  9. [...] We primed the entire patio floor, which was originally a colorful mix of different cements and concretes.  Painting it one color completely transformed the space.  We took it a step further by painting a 2′ chevron pattern across the entire floor, which I think turned out a thousand times better than I imagined.  In painting this chevron pattern, we followed the same process I used on our hexagon patio floor from the Home Depot challenge. [...]

  10. [...] believe someone is trusting me to help make over their space, but I suppose after busting out the Home Depot Patio Challenge, you can think of me as a patio makeover master! [...]

  11. That is an amazing dining set!! You made your outdoor space look gorgeous!!

  12. Michelle says:

    I just absolutely LOVE this makeover! Dying over it, really.

  13. Wow! What an amazing transformation! I love all of the little details and the little pops of color here and there. Dinner looks delicious too ;)

  14. Bethany says:

    Wow! What a beautiful transformation! I love the way you painted the floor, just fabulous!

  15. This is awesome! I love the painted patio. Beautiful! xo Kristin

  16. Perfection! Every detail is amazing. That floor is just stunning!

  17. Brittany!!!!!! I totally love this! I knew it was going to be fabulous girl! You knocked it out the park with this one!

  18. Wow, Brittany! Such a gorgeous before-and-after. I love the graphic design choices and that amazing table and chair set. Beautiful project!

  19. Jamie says:

    Wow wow wow!!!! I love every detail of it! So amazing and chic!

  20. Love every detail Brittany! I’m flying in for the party next time…

    xoxo-Kristin

  21. This is absolutely gorgeous, Brittany! What an incredible before and after!

    Only wish I could have joined in on the party!