Drool-Worthy Backyard Ideas for Your Summer Inspiration

We're just about one month into summer. The weather is warmer and the sun stays out longer. It's the perfect season to enjoy spending ample time outside. So why not make your backyard a dreamy retreat? Here's some of our favorite ideas to help get you started:

1. Sun Shades

Also referred to as sail shades, these giant pieces of fabric are a great, easy way to create a backyard cover without a lot of time or investment. Swedish retail giant Ikea currently has some for $24.99!

You can even enhance the space with some ambiance lighting for longer nights or a mister to keep you cool on those extra hot August days.

2. Patio Furniture

Summer is the time to invest in new patio furniture. From conversation seating, to dining tables, to bistro-style furniture - the options are varied and the styles are practically endless. You can buy furniture as individual pieces, or buy a whole matching set. (Just make sure you also invest in some furniture covers, or have extra storage, to keep them out of the elements in the Fall and Winter.) You can also wait until the end of the season to get some great clearance deals on patio furniture for next year. 

3. Privacy Walls

If you want to hang out on your front porch, but don't want your neighbors to be able to watch you, it might be worth investing in (or DIY building) a privacy wall. The Garden Glove has lots of great DIYs to keep your outdoor living area secluded, as does The Home Depot Blog. These ideas can be transfered to the backyard as well, to create separate areas within the space, or even to hide eye-sores like your HVAC unit.

4. Stone Paver and Pebble Pathways

We've seen this patio trend popping up all over the place! When laying out your pavers to make that path from one area to another, lay them a little further apart than you would think, and fill the gaps in with small pebbles. There are all sorts of beautiful variations on this theme (like using glow-in-the-dark spray on the pebbles). Just scroll through Pinterest. To get you started, check out these helpful DIY tips from The Home Depot.

5. Fire Pits

Fire pits are a classic way to add furniture and activities to your back yard. They offer a communal area to gather and enjoy those long, gorgeous summer nights with friends and family. Fire pits can be in-ground or above ground, DIY-ed or purchased off the shelf, and come in just about any style you can imagine. Just look at these gorgeous modern fire pits in Relocated Living's roundup. Or you can scroll through Wayfair and look at hundreds of different styles.

6. Outdoor Lighting

Adding lighting to your backyard is a great way to extend its use year-round, but especially in the summer. Christmas Lights, etc. has this great tutorial for planning your patio lights. You can incorporate lights in many different ways, such as these paver lights that fit right in with the rest of your pavers.

7. A Pallet Bar

Pallets are being turned into all kinds of furniture and decor. Turning a few pallets into a bar space is a great way to start an outdoor kitchen in a small space. Plus, stick a mini fridge out there, and you don't have to keep running back inside to refresh your guests drink every half hour. You can build your own with pallets, or buy one that suits your style straight from Wayfair.

8. Giant Games

Besides lounging on your new patio furniture, or roasting marshmallows over your new fire pit, you have to have activities ready so when friends come over for a summer BBQ, they won't forget that you've got the coolest backyard in town. Giant games are growing more and more popular. This is another one that can be DIY-ed or purchased. Little House of Four has a great collection of DIY games, or you can get them already made from places like Home Depot.


What are you doing with your backyard this summer. We want to hear your ideas!


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7 Subtle Ways to Incorporate Pantone's 2018 Color of the Year into Your Life

On December 7th, renowned color company Pantone released their pick for the 2018 color of the year, Ultra Violet:

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Executive Director of the Pantone Color Institute, Leatrice Eiseman, says Ultra Violet will "[take] our awareness and potential to a higher level ... [it] lights the way to what is yet to come."

Purple signifies creativity and imagination, as well as introspection. It is a luxurious, thoughtful color, stimulating the problem solving area of the brain. (You can read more about the color theory of purple here.)

While you may not be ready to run out and paint your entire home the luscious shade of Ultra Violet, here are 7 subtler ways you can incorparate the color into your life for 2018.

This gorgeous frosted glass lamp. It's just under two feet tall and is the perfect addition to any side table in your living room. Add some cute coasters, a candle, and some of your favorite trinkets, and your side table is all set! The Taylor Lamp is available at Chown Hardware.

Aromatherapy and essential oils continue to grow in popularity, so what better way to introduce Ultra Violet into your life than through all of your senses. Mr. Steam Aromatherapy has several steam head options, and the violet nirvana essential oil is available at Chown Hardware.

Schoolhouse Electric & Supply Co. has this super adorable Woodland Meadow sheet set and matching quilted pillow sham. It's available in twin, full, queen, and king sized sets, and offers the perfect subtle pop of Ultra Violet. The Woodland print is exclusively made for Schoolhouse by Austin-based artist Leah Duncan.

Subtly incorporate the color into your kitchen with this chicken-print tea towel from Portland-based shop Budd + Finn, named for the owner's rescue dogs, available in a variety of colors, including Ultra Violet.

The Galligaris Amelie chair is a sleek and comfy addition to any room. It's designed and manufactured in Italy, and comes in a variety of colors and fabrics. You can purchase the Amelie at Hip PDX.

McMinnville home decor shop MD Haney currently has this linen apron, (shown in eggplant), available on their website. An apron is the perfect way to start wearing Ultra Violet without much comitiment since you don't wear it out of the kitchen.

Last but definitely not least, you can get this James Ward china plate at Budd + Finn. The design features a bulldog in an Ultra Violet mask, to protect his identity after he finishes off the whole plate of cake. The plate is eight inches in diameter.

If you are ready to add more Ultra Violet into your life, you can find lots of great products at Wayfair.

To learn more about Pantone and Ultra Violet, check out their 2018 Color of the Year page.


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Beyond Subway Tile

Subway tile is one of the most popular backsplashes for kitchens and bathrooms right now. And why shouldn't it be? It's cool and chic and lends itself to practically every style of decor. But with its radical rise in popularity, perhaps it's time to look beyond subway tile - afterall, you don't want your kitchen or bathroom to look like everyone else's.

Maybe you still love subway tile and aren't quite ready to move on yet. One way to ever-so-slightly change things up is by changing up the orientation of your tile. Check out this wall where the tile runs top to bottom rather than side to side:

This simple difference completely changes the style and makes it much more unique, even though all they did was lay it in a different direction.

An important step to leaving subway tile behind is to add a bit of color. Subway tile is nice a white, so while it looks beautiful when it's clean, it can get kind of boring. This Dove Gray piece by MS International is just the ticket:

Next, it's time to think about size. The standard subway tile sizing is 3" x 6". This beautiful Marazzi tile is a long and skinny 6" x 24", with great color variation to it:

Or you could go for shorter and taller, like this 12" X 24" MS International Carrara:

Instead of going bigger, go smaller. Sheets like these are great options for a mini-subway tile look:

Another beautiful look  is mirrored subway tile, and it can go around fireplaces (like below), as well as in kitchens and bathrooms, adding just that extra bit of sparkle and glamour to a room.

Branching really far from the classic rectangular-look of subway tile is the arabesque shape. You can opt for a basic white, a colorful look, or even a tile with intricately carved details.

Arabesque tile has those lovely curves that keep the eye moving, and it lends a bit of a old world feminine flair to a room.

A style that's becoming more and more popular is octagonal tile. You can get it in big individual tiles like these:

Or in smaller sizes on sheets, like these:

And of course, there's a sparkly option for that extra glitz:

If you kind of like the look of octagon tile, but you aren't completely sold, you could try a rhombus mosaic tile that is laid in a hexagonal-looking pattern but has three-times the grout lines.

There's also the slightly simpler hexagon style:

To really vary it up, consider having an area of tile that's different from the rest as an accent piece:

Penny tile is a classic look, and you can also get it in varying sizes.

One of my personal favorites is the Moroccan fish scale tile, like this eclectic boho beauty:

Tile comes in so many different patterns. Here's just a few more options:

For a really natural, textured look, something like this is a great option:

And there's always the classically seamless look of matching the countertop to the backsplash, which ends up looking something like this:

Whether I've been able to change your mind about subway tile or not, hopefully you're now more aware of the hundreds of styles of tile out there. (And hopefully you're not too overwhelmed by it.) 

Besides your typical home improvement store, a great place to find fun tile is Wayfair. And you can always get inspiration on Pinterest.


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8 Things Every Great Laundry Room Needs

If you are lucky enough to have a dedicated room for your washer and dryer, here are some ideas to consider upgrading the space for optimal function.

1. CABINETRY

Space to store things like detergent is essential. Check out this beautiful before and after from Gather & Flourish:

Or, if you don't have enough room for the full size cabinets, try something smaller like this pull out by Manhattan Nest

2. HANGING RACKS

Those "hang-to-dry" pieces need their own space too, like these wall-mounted beauties from Bolig Magasinet:

3. AN IRONING BOARD

And so much the better if it has it's own designated space. We all know what a pain it is to pull out and put away.

You could even DIY this Ikea hack:

4. CLOTHING RODS

Of course, you'll need a place to hang things up when you're done ironing them. I love the location of this one:

5. COUNTER SPACE FOR FOLDING

Even if it's as small as this clever pull-out:

6. A HOME FOR YOUR HAMPERS

How many times a day do you trip over or into hampers that are sitting on the floor? If you're anything like me, it probably happens every time you go into the laundry room. Give your hampers their own place to hang out, like this DIY by Ana White:

7. SINK SPACE

Bring a sink into your laundry room and stop handwashing those delicates in your kitchen.

8. DISGUISE THE BIG GUYS

If your laundry room doubles as your pantry, or if you just don't like the look of your washer and dryer, here's a great idea for disguising them:

Hopefully as you've been scrolling through this post you've noticed that these inspiration photos all feature at least two of the elements I've mentioned. When it comes to the laundry room, it's all about creative use of space. Plus, you want it to be pretty - you sure spend enough time in there.

You can find more laundry room inspiration here.


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The 2018 Color(s) of the Year

While the Godfather of the color world, Pantone, has yet to release their color choice for 2018, (which we are eagerly awaiting), they have released eight color palettes to inspire 2018 designs. You can read a rundown of the palettes at Elle Décor. In the meantime, here’s what some of the big paint companies are pushing for 2018.

Behr released a palette of 20 colors, with the lead color being In The Moment (T18-15), a pretty, serene shade of blue-green, perfect for an update farmhouse look.

In The Moment

In The Moment

Ready for a bold statement color in 2018? So is PPG Paints, selecting Black Flame (PPG1043-7). Don’t worry – Black Flame isn’t that black, but it does have all the power of a dark color.

Black Flame

Black Flame

Perhaps Kelly-Moore Paints hasn’t gotten the memo about running from neutrals because Bahia Grass (KM4782) is barely a few green steps away from grey.

Bahia Grass

Bahia Grass

Going in a completely different, but exciting and warm direction is Benjamin Moore’s Caliente (AF-290). While I'm personally not a big fan of red, I'm looking forward to seeing more color in decor for 2018, even if it isn't my favorite color. Plus, Caliente has a very refined feel to it, keeping it from being obnoxious.

Caliente

Caliente

And last but definitely not least, our favorite paint company Sherwin-Williams chose Oceanside (SW 6496) for their 2018 color of the year. It’s bright, playful, and exactly the cure we need to finally get away from the monochromatic, minimalistic neutrals that have been ruling the color world as of late. Check back soon for a post all about different ways you can decorate with this brilliant color.

Oceanside

Oceanside


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Fall Home Decor Trends 2017

Bring out the pumpkins, throw on the plaid; there is officially only one week left till fall! The fall is a glorious season of change. Everything is a little brighter, a little moodier, and a little more colorful. You may be getting ready to dust off your autumnal decor, but while your at it, consider a few of these trending home decor items.

1. Dark Green

A big trend for this fall is the color green. Whether it's painting your walls a beautiful viridescent color, hanging a leafy wall paper, tossing some jade throw pillows around, or bringing the outside inside with lush wreaths, green is the way to go.

2. Brass Finishes

Experts tell us that people are getting tired of the ever-so-trendy copper look and are moving on to brass, and specifically aged brass. This may be great news if you're a budget-conscious designer like me - brass doesn't have nearly the price tag copper has. You can find great brass pieces at flea markets, vintage shops, and thrift stores.

3. Quilting

What better to keep you warm through those chilly fall nights than a beautiful quilt? Quilts have such wonderful details and can be found in monochrome coloring or any other color combo you might want. They are an excellent complement to the luxurious feel of velvet, bringing a bit of rustic down-home flavor to a room. Plus, if you can't find one that's exactly what you want, basic color blocked quilts are super easy DIYs for beginners. And if you need some help, you can always ask grandma.

4. Nailhead Details

Nailhead furniture is a bit edgy and a bit old school (like Renaissance old school). If you're lucky enough to find a piece with brass nailheads, this becomes a great way to bring a bit more brass into a room at the same time. Two trends with one piece! Here's a great nailhead armchair from Gallery Furniture.

5. Wood-Look Tile

We've talked about wood-look tile before, but it never hurts to mention it again. Wood-look tile is a great alternative to hardwood flooring, plus you can put it anywhere you would normally put tile, like on the walls of a shower, to bring a little of the outside into your bathroom.

6. Mix-n-Match

Gone are the days of furniture sets. Design experts are now loving mix-matched furniture. This is a great way to bring in more color and more texture to your home, as well as lending to the eclectic playful vibe that's trending right now.

7. Matte Black Fixtures & Faucets

Forget stainless steel. Fall 2017 is all about matte black. It's a great finish that lends itself to a lot of different styles - edgy, chic, luxurious, farmhouse, rustic, boho, etc. Chown is definitely a place to check out if you're on the hunt for some matte black hardware.

8. Velvet Fabrics

Luxury is in and that means velvet, (or velour for the budget-conscious). Velvet has a soft, inviting texture, and unlike cold leather, velvet will keep you warm through the fall and winter.

9. Blush

This color is often jokingly referred to as "Millennial Pink." As a millennial myself, I have no problem with that because blush is such a gorgeous shade of pink. It's refined without being to girly, offering just the right amount of femininity. Blush is also a great way to bring lighter colors to a dark room during a cloudy, overcast season.

10. Terra Cotta

Terracotta is not just for the Tuscan style anymore - it's popping up all over, especially as the tile choice for kitchen floors. Using terracotta details is a great way to bring an unexpected texture to a room, and it lends a warm shade of orange to the space. You can find terracotta pots at any local home improvement store or garden center to aid in bringing the outside inside.

11. Textural Details

Colors step aside, texture is in. Here are some great ideas for adding texture to your space: mixing like-colored items with different textures, using cork as wall decor, chunky knits, woven baskets, or faux flora. Texture adds dimension, making you want to reach out and touch something. 

12. Moody Jewel Tones

In addition to dark green and blush, jewel tones are the go-to colors for interiors right now. They bring a moodiness to a room that is perfect for the fall/winter season. Darker colors bring character and personality to a room. They ground the space and add an extra layer of coziness. Plus, with the right furniture and accessories, they can be very luxurious and elegant.

13. Bone Inlay Furniture

This trend is a bit more boho, which is probably why I'm loving it so much. There's something almost whimsical about furniture pieces that have bone inlay detailing. Just look at this gorgeous example from Nadeau. The delicate nature of the inlay makes it a great statement piece for any room, after all, the details make the design.

14. Local Materials

Here in the Pacific Northwest, buying local has always been in style. It's great for the local economy! All of the pieces mentioned in this blog post are local to Portland and the Pacific Northwest. A great resource to check out is SCRAP PDX, located just west of Powell's.

15. Curated Collections

Designers are loving vintage details and eclecticism. Displaying a well-curated collection is a great way to bring this into a room. Collections can range from figurines to baskets to camera equipment to artisanal blown glass - you name it, someone probably collects it. Personally, I love vintage postcards - I try to get at least one from every city I visit.

16. Graphic Patterns

While minimalism is on its way out, the graphic and geometric nature of the patterns it brought in with it are here to stay, just perhaps in more color. Graphic patterns make for great detail pieces. You can find them on things like rugs and throw pillows among other things. I've also seen some great DIYs that feature graphic wallpaper like this one from Manolo Walls on the back of bookshelves. 

17. Naturalism

A great place to find texture is in nature, and so natural features are coming into the spotlight along with the need for texture. Reclaimed wood is definitely the heart of this movement, and companies like TerraMai are offering what they call "Reclaimed Treasures" such as exquisite live edge slabs that make great table tops, counters, bars, doors, and whatever else you want.

18. Brown as the New Black

The experts are saying that deep chocolate brown is the new black. It's warmer and friendlier than black, but still brings the power of dark toneage. While personally I believe that black is never going to be replaced, I am definitely a fan of mixing chocolate brown with black in my decor for a more interesting, depth-filled look. For inspiration, check out French Roast from Sherwin-Williams.


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Enter Here

Your front door says a lot about you. It is the bastion by which all of your guests enter your home, the spot delivery men look for to drop off your packages and pizza. So why not make it have as much personality as you?

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I love a door that stands out. There's something about it that beckons, that invites, that whispers (or screams), "Enter me, come inside, see what I behold." A bold pop of color does just the trick.

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I love how this door is coordinated with the colors of the flowers in the window box. It keeps your eye moving and adds a theme to the exterior of the home. The combo of the purple door with the salmon colored wall works really well because the colors are split-complementary. You can learn more about color combos here.

You can test out potential door colors on your home with the Sherwin-Williams ColorSnap tool. Just take a picture, upload it, and go! I changed this yellow door to Honorable Blue in less than 5 minutes.

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Here are some tips for picking a paint color.

The design of the door itself is another great way to change things up. Check out the details on this red beauty:

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There are hundreds of options when it comes to picking a door - arched versus square top, paneled versus flat, solid versus partial-light versus full-light, wood versus fiberglass. The possibilities and combinations are practically endless.

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You can personalize your door in lots of ways, though - not just the door itself. A great way to add a touch of difference is the hardware: an ornate hinge, a decorative handle, or even a doorknocker. 

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Door knockers are a classic way to add character. They've been around since the Golden Age of Athens, but were later re-popularized in 19th century England. Check out these great selections of door knockers from local Portland vendors Chown and Rejuvenation.

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You can even put a fun mail slot on your door like this one:

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There's also wreaths, numbers, doormats, and signage!

With so many possibilities, why settle for anything less than a door that's uniquely you?

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Everybody Loves Hardwood Floors, But ...

Let’s face it – hardwood floors, while exquisitely beautiful, are not as durable as we would like. They scratch and chip and need to be re-stained. Not to mention the warping and staining that can happen if you spill on the floor & don’t clean it up fast enough or if you have a water leak in your home. And if you’ve got kids or pets (or both) the problems just happen sooner. Eventually, you look at your floor and all you see is the dents and scrapes and imperfections where your once beautiful flooring sat. You find yourself wondering if you should have gone with that laminate alternative instead.

So what if I told you there was a way to get the beauty of hardwood floors with the durability of tile?

Okay, maybe this isn’t a new concept to you, but wood-scraped tile has come so far in the last 5 years! Here are some of the PROS of wood scraped tile:

  • Durability – Tile flooring is considerably more durable than hardwood. It can withstand scratches and scrapes and your dog’s claws. Plus, unlike porous wood, tile is more resistant to moisture, especially porcelain as it is denser, so (if installed correctly) you don’t have to worry about warping. Porcelain is even fireproof.
    • A Note: Wood scraped tile comes in ceramic and porcelain. If you go for a ceramic tile, make sure to get it glazed and sealed as this significantly increases its durability and water resistance capabilities, although porcelain still has a longer lifespan than ceramic.
  • Maintenance – Tile is so low maintenance, especially compared to hardwood. It’s easier to clean, porcelain is stain resistant, and it is relatively easy to replace a tile or two if need be.
  • Warmth – Tile is great because you can install radiant heating pads underneath to keep your toes warm in the colder months. You can’t do that with a lot of varieties of hardwood.
  • Selections – There are just as many, if not more options when choosing a wood-scraped tile instead of hardwood. There are hundreds of colors options, different wood-look designs, and many different plank width options. You can even get “reclaimed” wood-scraped tile! You can also lay the tile into different patterns like brick-joint, corridor, and herringbone (pictured below).
  • Price – Tile is equivalent to, and usually cheaper than wood, especially when the wood market gets volatile.
  • Outdoor Usage – You can put tile outdoors with no concern, unlike wood, making your outdoor kitchen patio as dreamy as you could imagine it.
  • The Look – It has often been a past concern that because of grouting, wood-scraped tile will never look quite as real as hardwood. But this really shouldn’t be a concern. Getting tile with rectified edging means that you can put them closer together and use less grout – and the tile will look just as authentic as real wood. And while tile is a bit difficult to install, so is hardwood and tile is more cost-effective than hardwood.

You can find wood-scraped tile at your local home improvement store or flooring store, as well as online. If you are interested in learning more about wood-scraped tile, check out Daltile.


In Appreciation of Edison Bulbs

If you've ever stepped inside our Newberg office, you would know immediately that we here at Square Deal love Edison bulbs. They're in the front office area, in the conference room, in the back office area, and in the kitchenette. We have 26 Edison bulbs in total!

Just a few of the lighting features around the office.

Just a few of the lighting features around the office.

Edison bulbs are considered "vintage," but obviously these light bulbs were made much more recently and designed to look older. In the 1980s, a guy by the name of Bob Rosenzweig started reproducing the bulbs, and they've steadily increased in popularity ever since.

Lighting fixtures around our front desk area.

Lighting fixtures around our front desk area.

The modern reproductions of the classic bulbs are significantly more energy efficient, and Swedish furniture & decor superstore Ikea even offers several different LED versions, a design they call Lunnom.

You can do a lot with the bulbs, such as something more sturdy and fixed like our pipes, or hanging via chord from the ceiling, putting them in a table lamp with a shade or glass, filing a chandelier with them, putting them in a wall sconce, hanging them in a pendant fixture - the possibilities are pretty much endless.

The bulbs lend well to many different decor styles, from modern to rustic to farmhouse to boho to craftsmen to eclectic to industrial, and can be purchased anywhere normal light bulbs can be found. You can even get a 6-pack of them from Amazon for less that $25.

For more Edison bulb inspiration, check out our Pinterest board.

We want to know what you think! Tell us your thoughts on Edison bulbs in the comments below!