Articles in: Style Challenge

A Gorgeous Backyard Makeover With an Interior Designer’s Touch

Posted by: on May 9th, 2014 | 33 Comments

Gorgeous Backyard Makeover by Kristin Jackson of The Hunted Interior

What happens when an interior designer turns her creative attention outdoors? You get a gorgeous backyard makeover that raises the bar on backyard redesigns everywhere.

We’re talking about the amazing work of designer Kristin Jackson, who’s the author of the very popular blog The Hunted Interior. We were thrilled that she agreed to take part in her second Patio Style Challenge

In her previous Patio Style Challenge, she focused on the deck on her house. This time, she transforms her whole backyard into a big, beautifully decorated outdoor living room. There’s so much to love–the tree-hugging deck, the ingenious use for a tree stump… and the glam flamingos. 

Get ready to take notes. This backyard makeover is amazing.

After completing last year’s Patio Style Challenge, I had no idea what we were going to do this year. There was no way I was going to redo all the hard work we put into last year’s project, so I proposed a brand new outdoor space to utilize our completely under used plot of land in our backyard. After living in our home for six years and doing nothing with the landscape under four large trees, we made a plan to create an outdoor oasis to entertain, play and enjoy.

As you can see below, not much playing has been going on here folks.This was our before. Granted this was taken in January, so the view definitely improves with some grass, leaves and beauty that spring brings, but let’s just be honest… there is zero curb appeal here.

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This is the Coolest Apartment Balcony in Chicago

Posted by: on May 8th, 2014 | 5 Comments

the Coolest Apartment Balcony in Chicago

Ryan Lange and Emily Belden were, by their own admission, “the weird, artsy kids” when they were growing up. Things haven’t changed so much judging from how they decorated their small apartment balcony.

Emily is a writer and doer of creative things. Her husband Ryan does creative things, too, often with a welding torch or a computer-controlled gizmo that cuts stuff. They pretty much earn their living just making very cool stuff. Check out Handmade America to see what we mean. 

We wanted to find out what they could do to amp up the teeny-tiny balcony attached to their Chicago apartment. So we signed them up for our Patio Style Challenge. We sent them a patio set and a Home Depot gift card and got out of their way while they did their thing.

All we can say is, wow. We never would have thought of using a skate board deck as raw material for a patio makeover, or that we’d see an airplane motif in outdoor decor. That’s what you get with Ryan and Emily, though. And it’s awesome.

Here now, the coolest apartment balcony in Chicago… 


When The Home Depot asked us to be a part of their Patio Style Challenge, we couldn’t believe it. Mostly because it forced us to imagine a time where there wouldn’t be snow on the ground. C’est la vie when living in Chicago, right?

So what exactly did the project include? A sturdy patio set (we selected the color) and some Home Depot gift cards. Other than that, there were no rules. So we went no-holds-barred.

We had one handicap: space. We weren’t outfitting a backyard deck or patio; we were working with our small city balcony.

Even so, we were able to completely transform our tiny balcony and create a very sweet outdoor space.

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This Renter’s Backyard Makeover Took Only Two Weekends

Posted by: on May 7th, 2014 | 2 Comments

Renter's Backyard Makeover

Caitlin Moran’s home was in dire need of a backyard makeover. But since she and her husband hope to move soon, the makeover needed to be quick and easy and as portable as possible.

A quick and easy backyard makeover is exactly what we have from Caitlin, who writes the popular lifestyle and decor blog Style Within Reach. It’s her addition to our Patio Style Challenge–we send talented bloggers a patio set from The Home Depot, and they use it to show off their outdoor decorating ideas. 

Read on to see the simple ways she solved some common backyard problems to make her patio ready for outdoor entertaining. 

It’s always been a priority to make my rental homes feel like me. I go all out with painting and decorating so I have a cozy, comfortable place to spend my days. At the same time it’s hard to put too much effort into a house that is only yours temporarily.

However, we have a huge backyard and big flat concrete patio that we’d love to utilize more this summer! We just needed to make a few easy changes to the yard. It only took two weekends. We also built a portable bar that can go with us to our next home.

I’ve been living outside ever since!

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4 Smart DIYs Make This Colorful Patio Makeover Unique

Posted by: on May 6th, 2014 | 12 Comments

Colorful Patio Makeover

Michelle Hinckley never met a room she couldn’t DIY into something special. That’s why DIY ideas take center stage in her bright and colorful patio makeover.

We’ve been fans of her DIY blog 4 Men 1 Lady for some time now, so we were excited when she agreed to take part in our Patio Style Challenge. We sent her a patio set from The Home Depot and let her creativity run free. 

As you’ll see, her new, improved patio is full of bright colors and bold patterns. Plus, she shares her clever DIY touches that make her patio one-of-a-kind. 

We are so lucky to have a really spacious outdoor patio right off our great room. But during the winter it becomes a huge, ugly eye sore where miscellaneous stuff gets thrown and stored. It feels like more of a junk yard then a beautiful outdoor oasis I’d rather it be.

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Try These Simple Decorating Ideas for an Awesome Small Patio Makeover

Posted by: on May 5th, 2014 | 17 Comments

Try These Simple Decorating Ideas for an Awesome Small Patio Makeover


Decorating a small apartment balcony comes with its challenges. But Amber Kemp-Gerstel, the creative mind behind Damask Love has the small patio decorating ideas needed to make her tiny outdoor space beautiful, comfortable and great for entertaining.

This is Amber’s contribution to our Patio Style Challenge series. We send terrific design and DIY bloggers patio sets from The Home Depot, and they come up with amazing patio decor and easy solutions to some of the problems we all face with out outdoor spaces.

Amber truly made the most of every inch of her Miami apartment balcony. We love the coral and turquoise color scheme she used. She also offers up some very simple decorating ideas that would work on any patio, including a darling framed chalkboard vertical garden. And the grass is so inviting!

Yes. Grass. On an apartment balcony. 

Ringing in at a whopping 60 sq ft., our balcony is small but mighty.

Well…I take that back.

Before the Home Depot Style Challenge, the balcony was small and sad. So very very sad. It housed a dead lemon tree, a pair of dirty sneakers and a plastic Adirondack chair that my husband loved – but I wanted no part of.  Basically, it was 60 sq. ft of concrete dying for some attention. Home Depot came in to save the day.

The goal with this makeover was to extend our living room room and design an outdoor entertaining area that can hold even more guests this Spring. Mission accomplished.

My first assignment was to gather up some inspiration for color…and the Behr paint sample wall gave me all the inspiration I needed.

Simple Decorating Ideas for an Awesome Small Patio Makeover: Color Inspiration

Next up – replace the Adirondack chair…with something a little less reminiscent of a prison yard…although they probably don’t have Adirondack chairs in prison. But you know what I mean.

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Urban Backyard Decorating Ideas: Small Space With a Modern Aesthetic

Posted by: on May 2nd, 2014 | 10 Comments

Urban Backyard Decorating Ideas: Small Space With a Modern Aesthetic

Not all backyards are made the same. For city dwellers living in apartments or condos, the outdoor space can be pretty small. Decorating a tiny patio space can be a bit of a challenge. So we turned to Ashley Rose, author of the Sugar & Cloth blog,  for her urban backyard decorating ideas. 

It’s her contribution to our Patio Style Challenge series, in which we send talented design and DIY bloggers a patio set from The Home Depot, and let them work their decorative magic.

As you’ll see, Ashley made the most of every inch of her townhouse patio without making it cramped. We absolutely love the way she created a soothing modern look with with smooth grey stones contrasting plenty of leafy green plants. She also offers some very practical DIY solutions to some common challenges in small patio decorating.


Living in a townhouse in the middle of Houston, backyard space can leave a lot to be desired. I wanted to create a space that carried the modern, urban aesthetic to the outdoors so that it flowed seamlessly from the first floor. The Martha Stewart Living Franklin Park Dining Table was the perfect starting point. I loved the way the light blue, bistro-style bar chairs brought a feminine touch and let that inspire me from there.

Urban Backyard Decorating Ideas: Small Space With a Modern Aesthetic

I’ll spare the lovely Home Depot Blog my awful before photos of my backyard (which you can see them here if you’d like), but I already had the cement squares down and some stone. It was quite the eyesore if I’m honest, but not a terrible starting point.

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DIY Ideas for a Loud, Laid-Back Patio Makeover

Posted by: on May 1st, 2014 | 12 Comments

DIY Ideas for a Loud, Laid-Back Patio Makeover

Design blogger Mandy Pellegrin describes her patio makeover as “loud and laid-back”. We weren’t quite sure what that meant until we saw the photos of her newly styled deck. It’s an exhilarating explosion of pink, yellow and blue in big, vibrant patterns. And there’s plenty of space to put your feet up–a hallmark of any good patio.

She also came up with some terrific DIY ideas for this contribution to our Patio Style Challenge series. She shows us the clever and colorful DIY ways she added seating, serves the cold drinks and rolls away the cooler. Her blog Fabric Paper Glue is full of great DIY and craft ideas, so that shouldn’t be a surprise. 

Read on to see how her brash patio makeover came together. 


DIY Ideas for a Loud, Laid-Back Patio Makeover

Last September, my husband and I moved from a DC-area condo to our very own little house in Nashville–complete with the most delightful backyard. We both love to entertain, so as we embark on our first spring with our very own outdoor space, we wanted to transform our patio into a relaxing–but decidedly fun–entertaining area.

The centerpiece for this awesomely laid-back space is a set of patio chairs from The Brown Jordan Collection that literally lay back. No kidding, these suckers really recline. Then, I made the space all mine with the brightest, boldest outdoor fabrics that I could get my hands on, beautiful potted flowers, enough seating options to make you dizzy, and a healthy dose of DIY.

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Simple Patio Decorating Ideas: Throw Pillows and Spray Paint

Posted by: on April 30th, 2014 | 8 Comments

Simple Patio Decorating Ideas: Throw Pillows and Spray Paint

Creating an appealing outdoor space doesn’t have to be complicated. Sure, it’s great if you can build a split-level deck with a gazebo and a water feature. But that’s not for everyone, and for people who rent their homes, that might not even be an option. So let’s keep it simple. 

Anna Lisemeyer, the very creative mind behind In Honor of Design, is a renter. She has some simple patio decorating ideas that anyone can use to create an easygoing and inviting outdoor space. It’s her contribution to our Patio Style Challenge series.

Take a look at the simple ways she gave her patio a makeover. All it took was some colorful throw pillows, an outdoor rug, a little spray paint and some good decorating ideas.


Simple Patio Decorating Ideas

Simple Patio Decorating Ideas


Simple Patio Decorating Ideas: Potted canna lilies in a pot stand


We have a smaller fenced-in back yard with a flat cement patio. Since we rent our home, we also had the challenge of creating a new space without any permanent changes. We wanted to create a space that was conducive to entertaining and enjoying with friends, as well as relaxing with family. The set we were sent to style was the Hampton Bay Raynham Patio Seating Set, which really went along so well with what we were hoping to achieve with the space.

I have to be honest, my husband Gabe is the main rockstar behind this patio makeover challenge. Not only does he have the better understanding of how to make plants and flowers live and thrive, but he also has a knack for working with wood. So I took care of the overall plan of action and layout and Gabe helped to execute all the details. It was really fun to tackle this project together!

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Creating Privacy and Sparkle with a Backyard Makeover

Posted by: on April 29th, 2014 | 35 Comments

Backyard Makeover


Kristen Whitby’s backyard was a little awkward, shall we say, before she signed up for our Patio Style Challenge. As you’ll see, the issues she faced were pretty common–lack of privacy, a less-than-ideal layout for the yard… that sort of thing.

She’s a very creative decorator, DIYer and doer of awesome things, which she writes about on her blog Ella Claire, so we were quite interested in seeing how she solved some of the practical and decorative issues with her backyard makeover.

You will be amazed. Just look at the before and after photos of Kristen’s backyard and patio. It has plenty of privacy, comfort and the vintage charm she is known for. It’s a great spot for a party, in fact…   


I can hardly believe the progress we made in our space, chock full of DIY projects, and I am so excited to share it with you! In fact, we will just have a little Summer Soiree to celebrate!

Backyard Makeover


Backyard Makeover

We decided that this summer was going to be the time to reclaim our outdoor space as well as create some much needed privacy for our home. This was no easy task! Our home is in a neighborhood on a corner lot, which presents a few challenges. First, our backyard is very narrow and our side yards are wide. This means that our backyard is very close to the side of our neighbor’s home where they have a huge camper trailer parked. They also installed windows on the side of their house last year. The majority of the rooms and main living area of our home face out this direction, so creating privacy was a must.

We set out to construct a free standing privacy lattice to grow vines along. I could see what I wanted to build in my head, and with the help of J at my Home Depot store we were able to come up with a plan. I also convinced my dad, husband and brother to help with this big fun project. Well, it was probably more “fun” for me than it was for them!

It almost pains me to show you these before pictures….are you ready for this?

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Furniture Refinishing Tutorial: Bringing a Thrifted Patio Set Back to Life

Posted by: on April 29th, 2014 | 5 Comments

Kristen Whitby definitely has a knack for seeing the possibilities in thrift store finds. Take a look at her blog Ella Claire, and you’ll see she definitely knows how to bring old, damaged or overlooked pieces back to life.

She refinished a thrifted patio set as the centerpiece of the patio makeover she did for our Patio Style Challenge series. Here is her furniture refinishing tutorial, showing how she restored the old wooden patio set. For the full Challenge reveal, visit Kristen’s Backyard Makeover.

This Craigslist patio set was in desperate need of a little TLC when we got it. My husband actually wanted to haul it to the dump after I brought it home, but I knew it could look pretty again with a little elbow grease… ok, a lot of elbow grease.

Kristen Whitby Refinished Patio Set 1

The finish was flaking off pretty badly and the chairs were pretty rough, but they were very nice and sturdy. That is always a requirement I have when I buy thrifted chairs; they have to be sturdy. This poor patio set looked even more sad after a whole winter of abuse out in the Idaho snow. Oops.

Kristen Whitby Refinished Patio Set 2

I was up for the challenge though. I don’t give up very easily. So, once the weather warmed a bit, I set to work.

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