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Design and Style

The patio is designed to become another room of the house during the spring, summer and fall. This must be an inviting and functional area, like any other room in the home.

Decide how the patio will function for the family, and plan the space to allow for the maximum number of people, activities and aesthetics.

Add a little bit of color. Paint the door, add flower boxes below windows or use shutters to frame the windows. Be daring with color and remember that it can easily be changed or repainted for fall.

Add the eating area by using a functional-size table or two and comfortable chairs. Now add a colorful tablecloth and special table settings. This should be as inviting as possible, as the food will surely taste even better.

Check the lighting on the patio for evening reading or entertaining. Strings of lights in trees, wrapped around the railing or under an umbrella will look terrific at night. Tiki torches and hurricane lamps also add ambiance to an outdoor setting.

Use a lot of plants in decorative or unique containers for added color. Bring in a bookcase or bakers rack from another room to hold interesting outdoor things as well as to add height.

Add some sound to the patio. Bring out speakers from the stereo or a small radio. Even just hanging wind chimes or a bird feeder will add pleasure to the patio.

Color can brighten decks, patios and porches. Use dishes and linens in bright hues, and dye baskets with fabric dye to match warm weather color schemes. Hand paint wood or papier-mâché trays to match, and grow colorful container flowers on the deck or patio area.

Candles are appropriate on the patio. Fat, skinny, tall, round or even square candles can be tied together with raffia or set on a bed of stones.

Spiff up outdoor retreats by surrounding patios or porches with citronella candles to ward off bugs and pests. Soften evening sounds by hanging melodic wind chimes from ceiling or posts.

Where space is limited, make outdoor dining easy by using a small "bistro" style table and chairs. Serve meals on inexpensive bamboo lap trays or spread a quilt on the floor, picnic style.