Celebrating outdoor living, how to add function & style

Celebrating outdoor living, how to add function & style

**I worked with World Market on this post and was compensated. My opinions on the products are my own**

celebrating outdoor living

Hi guys! I am sooo amped for today, I hinted a tiny bit at what I was working on but wanted to keep things a little bit of a surprise. Today is the day I get to reveal all! I redid my backyard outdoor space. Let’s just say, I am in lurve with it! A little back story on why I am so excited to have this project done, I now live in the Midwest, but was born and raised in Southern California. The bright, sunny and beautiful year round weather there allows for indoor/outdoor living. I grew up spending my time outside and treating a patio or porch like an extension of the house. But, here in Wisconsin where we have Elsa loosing her Frozen mind for half the year we only get about 4 months of warm temperatures. I am determined to make those worth it! Today I am sharing Celebrating outdoor living, how to add function & style. 


The outdoor living part I explained, the function part of it is pretty much what I try to do with all parts of my home. I have three young kids, two dogs, one husband, and too much chaos. I always aim to make every inch of my home useful space full of function. The patio area is no different. As you can see, my outdoor space was rough looking. We had hand-me-down furniture that I painted, they looked pretty. But you could not hide the age of the furniture itself, they were literally falling apart and rotting. There is no reusing these anymore.

The patio itself is a massive space. Almost too much space, which is never a bad thing. But it can pose issues in how to situate furniture and combine seating areas.


This is our patio table, this picture is from last year. We actually had three of the tiles break, so we either had to get new tiles, a new table or figure out how to make this one work. I came up with a solution to upcycle this table. The total cost to redo this was only $70 of supplies!


Here is my new and improved outdoor patio space!!!

bright outdoor decor

I had big plans to create new patio furniture from scratch, but time, kids, life, my dog ate my homework…. stuff happened. However, World Market had this 4 piece set that came with a bench, coffee table and two chairs! It has a dark finish and came with the white cushions, which can all come off and be stored when not in use. When I saw this in the store, my DIY plans went out the window. I feel as if I am cheating on my DIY for life stance, “it did not mean anything, it was just a one-time thing…” But, I gave myself plenty of other DIY projects in this patio redo to keep myself happy.

bench seating outside

Ok, these pillow are amazing! When I saw this octopus pillow I knew I had to have it, and honestly planned my colors around this pillow. It was just what I was looking for in this space. Fun, bright and coastal. There are a ton of throw pillow options that all work great for the outdoor living ideas.

coffee table decor

colorful patio

I like the idea of having table sitting around for drinks to be set, food, or in my kids case… books, toys, rocks, leaves and bubbles. The amazing thing about this set-up I have is that this living room sitting area can comfortably seat 10 people. It does not feel too crowded, and setting the bench and chairs up in a square allows group conversations or smaller grouping conversations.

dining room outdoors

This is what I turned my patio table into! I am sooooo happy with how it turned out. I will be revealing the details to this, how I created it and the full steps soon. Be sure to check back to get the full tutorial.

anchor outdoor decorations

anchor decor

coastal outdoor ideas

I went decorating crazy for this pretty new table. I used a few new pieces from World Market along with items I already had. Mixing the two together, and full disclosure, I DO get fresh flowers all the time. Either from my own garden or the store, it is my one guilty pleasure and I am always arranging them into various vases. So this table decor is just an average look for us. I enjoy it so much!

dining table upcycle

buckets for flower planters

Another thing I enjoy so much is adding fresh blooms and plants all over my home, inside and out. I think tiny touches like this help make the space feel cozy. The one difference I notice with people here in the Midwest versus people in California is the amount of decor for the outdoor space. When you decorate your outdoor space fully it becomes natural to sit out there, read, eat meals, or even work with a lap-top, the ease of transition to relaxing outside is simple. Because all of the smaller details make it feel just as cozy as a living room.


Here is where the function I promised comes in. This is what my kids used to store their outdoor riding toys. A tiny alcove outside our home is such an awkward spot, but perfect to hide kids stuff.

outdoor eating area

I made a “kids garage” for this corner. When entertaining it can be used as a place for snacks and drinks to be set on.

kids toy outdoor storage

But, behind the curtain (that is a shower curtain from World Market) my kids have all of their outdoor toys hidden. Out of sight, out of mind. I wish I had thought to make this sooner. I will be sharing the full tutorial to this as well. I have a ton of DIY projects within this patio area, be sure to follow me on social media or subscribe to my email so you can stay up-to-date on any tutorials I share.

outdoor drink table

Here is another of my DIY projects, this serving tray.  I shared the simple way I made it a few week ago.


DIY tray

pink flowers

Flowers in vases are a great way to add a homey touch to an outdoor space.

hiding electric box

Here is something I was determined to find a solution for, this electrical box is smack dab in the middle of our patio area. Talk about an eye sore!

how to hide electrical box outside

I created a simple and movable screen, also functional! I warned you I like function, this cute screen doubles as a towel rack for my kids. I have three kids and three adorable surf board hooks.

how to decorate with bright colors

painted tape lines

I will be explaining the simple way I made this, and of course created the details to make this feel like legit decor while being useful.

outdoor towel rack

When my kids are running through the sprinkler, playing with water balloons, or in the pool they now have a place to have their towels. Also, now they have no excuse to no longer put wet towels on seats. That is the worst! No one likes a surprise wet butt when sitting down on outdoor furniture.

surfboard hooks

outdoor storage ideas

I am sure eventually I will make something custom to store all of my cushions and pillows in. But for now this good ‘ole standby works. I put all of the pillows, cushions and blanket away if there is a big storm. They all work and can be in the rain, but we get crazy strong winds around here. I am not OK with my neighbors getting my new decor items because they blow into their yard.

outdoor coffee table ideas

large outdoor patio decorating ideas

outdoor patio table decor

I love the mix of glass vases and the rustic wood of the anchors!

outdoor patio

As you can see in the background, I could only keep my kids locked inside the house for so long while I took pictures.

patio table upcycle

world market chaira

world market outdoor furniture

These chairs were giving me the “come hither” look at World Market, we were pretty smitten with each other. They are full outdoor chairs with a wicker pattern but is a woven plastic. They are super sturdy, really deep seating and my new favorite spot to sit.

simple ways to update outdoor space

DIY outdoor fountain

This water fountain was store bought and I bulked it up, adding the larger base and the flowers on the outside. It was a simple way to get a substantial fountain without the substantial price tag.

pink and purple flowers

outdoor living

Oh summer, you will always have my heart!

outdoor living ideas

nautical decorating ideas

Also, anything coastal or nautical. It is a big obsession of mine and I am proud to decorate with it anyway I can.

how to revamp an outdoor space

yellow flowers

tree view of patio

I know people always talk about entertaining when planning an outdoor space. While I adore our friends and extended family, I always decorate for myself, my husband and kids. This is OUR home after all, so what we want, need, and will use is key. This outdoor patio area is no different, it feels cozy, relaxing, and is all ready for us to spend some time.

towel holder

umbrella view

world market patio furniture

The new furniture is sturdy, can handle getting beat up, the cushions are removable, and it is ready for my kids to roll, cuddle, wrestle and probably color with chalk on. Let’s be real, this is a family home, so all of that will happen in this space.

star fish as decor

outdoor water fountain

patio redo

The nice thing about having multiple seating options is when we do have people over no one is feeling like they have to stand-up. Also, more seating options means less fights with my kids. If they are bothering each other one of them can move.

outdoor living space

how to decorate a patio

functional outdoor space ideas

Let’s call this the “kids corner” of the patio. My kids have also already taken everything out from under the kids garage and proclaimed it a play house. As long as it all goes back at the end of the day, do whatever you want with it!

family friendly backyard ideas

coastal patio ideas


My tiny people came out of hiding, eating my food, drinking my drinks, and making themselves comfortable. They did not care about my Celebrating outdoor living, how to add function & style. I figured with all of my talking of this being a family space for us I would roll with my tiny photo shoot invaders and let you see how we use the patio.

kids biking on patio

The furniture has to be placed on this patio to allow a bike race track, just the facts people. I have many people assume I keep my kids locked away because I decorate my home, but honestly we live in every inch of this home. My kids are wild, crazy, loud, and messy on a good day. Everything in my home has to function, work and encourage this casual lifestyle we lead.

nora reading

We have a laid back attitude to life, and this new outdoor space fits that perfectly. This is Nora enjoying the new blanket I got from World Market. Truthfully, I never thought to have a designated outdoor blanket, but this has been dragged out every day to be used, I wish I had gotten a few more!

kids friendly patio decor

family outdoor eating

Yes, we eat out here All the time! I have dreams of getting my kids to school then having my morning coffee and breakfast out here. Enjoying the morning and sunshine. Then I remember I am a hot mess in the morning and have to recover from the tornado that is three kids getting out the door to school. But, lunch and dinners are had out here almost nightly in the summer. Gotta love that extra square footage in summer!

patio before and after

In case you forgot what this space looked like, here is the before and after of the Celebrating outdoor living, how to add function & style. Along with my advice and ideas there is also Sabrina Soto who has some 6 ideas to decorating an outdoor space.

how to create an outdoor space

The colors of it all make me do a coastal decor loving happy dance. Pretty sure that is a thing, look the Macarena was big at some point. There is a dance for everything!

celebrating outdoor living

I hope you enjoyed my outside space as much as I did making it! I wanted to share that a fully decorated space does not need to be overwhelming. And also encourage others to take advantage of the outdoors in the summer months. It can become your new living room for the season! Now, I have a few surprises for you! With me working with World Market for this Celebrating outdoor living, how to add function & style I also get to share a crazy exciting giveaway to you all!

 Celebrate the Outdoors Sweepstakes, all you have to do is enter here for a chance to win!

Enter for a chance to win a Trip to Maui with Cost Plus World Market.

Grand Prize Package:

  • Getaway for 4 to a beach house in Maui, Hawaii
  • (5 nights/ 6 days – airfare and accommodations)
  • $1,000 World Market gift card
  • Plus, 5 First PRizes: $500 World Market gift card

Whew, I am ready to enjoy this outdoor patio of mine, relax, kick my feet up, and enjoy the next few months of summer! What is your favorite part of summer?



  1. Robin Masshole Mommy says:

    It looks great. I would want to be out there all the time!

  2. Such a pretty space, Emily! Way to go!

  3. It’s stunning! I love all the practical-for-you features you’ve built in, and the new pieces are gorgeous, of course!

  4. Looks like your backyard is ready for a nice, big get together. Looks so inviting! Great set from World Market. Love that place! Enjoy your backyard!

  5. It looks beautiful! The toy garage is my favorite part!

  6. The outside window table that covers up the bikes is genius. I adore World Market and am gonna have to head over to grab some of this n summer stuff. They always have the best pillows and entertaining items! Such a fun space I know yall will enjoy it this summer!

  7. This is one of the most gorgeous setups I’ve ever seen! We have a World Market on the way to our beach house and I’ve always wanted to head over. We need a toy garage!

  8. What a gorgeous space Emily you have given we lots of great ideas.

  9. I really love your use of space and color in the design of your outdoor area. It makes the area seem bright and inviting! I wish I could hire you to come help you do my yard!

    • Thank you so much! I would love to start decorating other people’s homes. I will eventually have mine all done and still have the bug to decorate!

  10. Oh, I love that waterfall planter! That is so neat! I also love the beachy vibe. I am so jealous of you right now.

  11. These are some beautiful ideas! I’m determined to use my patio a lot more this summer. We did the fire pit the other night, and it was awesome…and inspiring 🙂 Thank you for sharing

  12. Your outdoor space looks great, I love everything you did with it! Of course the World Market decor is beautiful, they really have the best stuff.

  13. “Elsa loosing her Frozen Mind…” BWAHAHAHAHA!!! Love that!
    Can I just come over and live in your backyard? It’s just gorgeous!

  14. Emily, I don’t know where to begin on this one, it’s all so awesome! I LOVE what you did with that fountain, great idea!! And covering the electric box-genius! The pillows, the accents, the furniture-all beautiful. And I love your adorable kids!

  15. What a fantastic space. I love the colors and all your great little touches. I may have to steal an idea or two!

  16. I am in love with your space! I also grew up in Cali (Sac and northern) but it was never ever as cold as it gets here in Northwest Iowa. I want to spend as much time as I can outside as well. My space is not as nice as yours but it is pretty cool when I get the flowers planted! Enjoy this lovely outdoor time!

    • Ah, a fellow Cali-person! I am always confused how people do not just want to hang out outside all day. It confuses me, it seems so natural to me.

  17. Love your space! Building our deck is on my very long to do list, then I can make a perfect outdoor space like you.

  18. This is such an awesome style. I love it! I love outdoor tables like that.

  19. This is such a beautiful outdoor space! I love all the blues and turquoise!

  20. Those white chairs from World Market are great! Love them! Your striped bench is adorable, too — and I love the idea to hide the bikes.

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