Turn Your Home Into a Summer Retreat

Even if you can't get away for vacation until August, you can turn your home into a summer retreat that's perfect for long, languid summer nights and playful weekends. Follow these tips to see how.

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Hide CaptionShow CaptionChoose outdoor furniture that blurs the line between in and out. Designer: Pamela Berstler

All About

Indoor/Outdoor Furniture

The sun is shining, the garden's in full bloom and the grill is beckoning you from the patio. Even if you can't get away for vacation until August, you can turn your home into a summer retreat that's perfect for long, languid summer nights and playful weekends.

When the warm weather comes, entertaining friends and family naturally follows. You can extend your entertaining space — and your living space — by blurring the line between the indoors and the outdoors. Furniture is a great place to begin creating this seamless indoor/outdoor look and feel.

Wicker is an old standard, but you may be surprised by some of the other options. "Just in the past few years, furniture manufacturers have introduced outdoor lines with fabrics and designs that you would traditionally see indoors," says Felicia Bushman, a Los Angeles interior designer with high-profile clients such as Jenna Elfman and John McEnroe (www.feliciabushman.com). "People are creating patios that look like an extension of their indoor living room."

While patio furniture used to be restricted to plain colors and simple stripes, now you can find everything from embroidered fabrics to floral chintzes. For example, Sunbrella, a popular manufacturer of outdoor fabrics, offers over 100 striking and vibrant solids, stripes, linens, textures and jacquards to choose from. These acrylic fabrics have a soil- and stain-resistant finish that also resists sunlight, mildew, rot and atmospheric chemicals.

Design options are broadening as well. Moderately priced lines of outdoor furniture that include everything from sectional sofas to ottomans to big comfy armchairs are available from Crate & Barrel, Restoration Hardware and even Target.

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