Wednesday, May 5, 2010

New Apartment: Making Over the Back Deck

I know, I know... it's been a while since the last "New apartment" makeover story. To reward your patience, I've think I have a good one laid out here. At least I hope. It took me forever and day to pull together. So sit back, grab your coffee, and read on...

As anyone who lives in a city can attest, outdoor space is an absolute Luxury, with a capital L. How Nate and I found a place with a deck still baffles me. How we found a place with a deck as big as ours is even more astounding. So astounding, in fact, that the likelihood of having any outdoor space in our next place is slim to none. As you can imagine, furnishing a 'room' we might not have at our next home was a bit tricky and needed to be done for next to nil. Fortunately a bit of Ikea + Craigslist + Pier 1 + West Elm sale items did the trick.

There is ALSO this sunroom off the kitchen that leads to the deck. Our landlord recently finished off these walls after many pleading emails from me: "The insulation says, 'Warning: insulation is extremely flammable and should not be exposed.' Pretty pleeease cover it?" He finally agree, and yes I am aware it looks like a sauna. Hey, I'll take what I can get. This narrow space is primarily used for storage, but I'm hoping that will change and this will become an extension to the deck/outdoor living area.

Anyway, point of these photos is so you can see the deck! It makes me very happy.

PHASE 1: buy the main ingredients
After what seemed like endless scouring on Craigslist, I found a black foldable bistro table (similar to the Target table shown below) and two metal chairs with textaline fabric (similar to the West Elm version below) for $40. Amazing deal considering this Target bistro table is currently selling for $59 and the West Elm chair is on sale for $101 per chair! And considering most balconies I see on city buildings only fit a grill, I wanted to go with a small table in case our next place lacks this Luxury.

Nate and I had already bought four yellow Ikea Nisse folding chairs on sale for $6 a piece back when we moved in in January so those provide extra colorful seating. And when I saw this turquoise water-resistant outdoor rug on Pier 1's website, I rushed to the store to pick it up. It was pretty inexpensive at $30.

I also brought the West Elm white ceramic garden stool out from the living room along with an Ikea lantern I bought a few months ago. The yellow Fabricadabra pillow is a temporary accent, also from the living room.

It's cute and practical, and I like it. But not quite finished.

PHASE 2: now pretty it up
Now that the main pieces are in place, it's time to complete the space. Here's what I'm thinking...

...and here's why I love Photoshop:
flower box image via

Now we're talking! See why I LOVE flower boxes?

I've already bought the twinkle globe lights (mistakenly from Pottery Barn - Target is selling the same thing for three dollars less and you get twice as many bulbs on a strand! Silly, Alaina). Pier 1 has this matching turquoise umbrella that will be perfect for blocking out the intense morning sun; it's currently on sale for $69.99. I'd love to add something like the West Elm Jute Cube to double as foot rest for the "comfy" chairs and an extra rug for under the bistro table. A few flower boxes later, and we'll be good to go! Thanks to our recent house guest, Nate's dad, we now have a grill in the far right corner near the door by the table and yellow chairs, it's just not pictured.

Of course, Nate and I - and our three house guests over the past week - have all been enjoying meals, too much wine, and this beautiful weather even without the flower boxes. : )
Excuse the crappy Blackberry photo.

So, class, what have we learned today?
In summation.

So that's that! Thoughts? Suggestions?


  1. What a great area for entertaining or enjoying a glass of wine after work. You did a great job! I can't wait to see the final product!

  2. You've created such a happy outdoor space! I love the pops of yellow :)

    I bet you will enjoy endless summer nights out there with some wine.

  3. That looks so great. What a difference a rug makes?! You've created a great spot! Enjoy!

  4. So colorful and fun! You scored some great bargain finds. Love the West Elm footrest. May have to look into that myself!

  5. How lucky are you to have both a nice large deck and a sunroom! Those yellow chairs are so cute and the with the turquoise rug, the colors together are really happy looking & cool. AND your Dog! Love the dog. :O)

  6. SO cute! Love the yellow and Turquoise...and I think the flower boxes and string lights will finish it off quite nicely. Can I come join you for a cocktail one of these beautiful summer nights??

  7. Great finds! And please do the twinkle lights. Love how they look in outdoor spaces.

  8. Just one question. When am I invited over for a glass of wine on your beautiful summer space.

  9. Love love love the yellow pillow/chair and aqua rug! Very very cute overall look!

  10. Turquoise on shade and outdoor rug are perfect for summer! Enjoy!

  11. I love the flower boxes! Where did you get those?

  12. Very cute! You are so right ~ outdoor space in Chicago is hard to come by, and when you have it, it can be the gem of your home ~

  13. Love everything you have done. Looks like Tucker and Fionna love the area also. Maybe they would like something comfortable to lay on.

  14. First of all, I'm so jealous you have a deck/patio. I think what you've done looks incredible and I love your ideas for the future.

  15. May I move in?! It looks absolutely gorgeous! I can't wait till we have a cute place to decorate! Hopefully San Francisco will be good to us...

    XX katie

  16. Love what you did with your outdoor space! The rug and pillow are my favorite :)

  17. Oh my goodness, I love it! Our twinkle lights broke in the move ~ thanks for letting me know where we can buy some new ones!

    LOVE the turquoise rug. It's the perfect addition to the deck! :)

  18. Okay, I'm officially inspired! Love every bit of it. I just said today that we need a bistro table, and what great little IKEA chairs. You are just too good. If nothing else, I'm definitely getting flower boxes! Love it!!!

  19. Looks like you already have a lovely little footrest there. ;p What a cute doggie!



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