Sneak a Peek at Summer: Outdoor Accessory Review
June 8th, 2009
Summer’s almost here and since you may not have the budget for a big vacation, why not spend just a little to turn your backyard into a spa-at-home?
Pier 1 imports, my fav post-college source for home decor and furniture, is all grown up. I recently reviewed the retailer’s playful summer collection. I’m especially drawn to their lineup of creative ideas for decorating outdoor spaces.
To learn more about the colors, patterns and materials that inspired the season, I called Aimee Beatty, Pier 1’s in-house stylist and design maven. She works for the Ft. Worth, Texas-based home furnishings chain to coordinate photo studio vignettes, visual displays and settings for advertisements and catalogues.
One of the things I noticed about the Summer 2009 collection is that it’s very “interiors-looking.” I wanted to ask Aimee all about it. Here’s part of our conversation:
Q. I have enjoyed many great decorating moments from Pier 1, especially when I was in my budget-conscious, recent grad phase. But now Pier 1’s mix seems more edited and less like a world market. Has this change been conscious?
A. We envision ourselves as having something for everyone. There is an element of our products all working together (mixing-and-matching). Even today, we want shopping at Pier 1 to be a treasure hunt of sorts.
Q. I’m interested in the outdoor furnishings and accessories. What is the palette of the moment?
A. We’re using punches of lime, yellows, corals and different shades of blue, including turquoise.
Q. How about materials – what’s new there?
A. One of the materials I’m most excited about is a plastic rattan.
Q. It looks like Pier 1’s distinct design themes have an exotic flavor this summer:
A. I would describe the overall theme as “eclectic” – a look of mixing and matching and layering furniture with different finishes. Themes include:
- Bohemian: It’s comfy, eclectic and a little romantic. Our design team has combined patchwork, embroidery and relaxed pieces for a vibe that’s in tune with today even though it might recall a hippy, happy era.
- Tropical: Oversized floral patterns. Bold color. Natural touches. Easy ideas. This collection is as budget-friendly as it is cheery.
- Global: This is the look that Pier 1 is known for. We travel the world and pick up treasures along the way. You’ll see this in festive dinnerware, ceramic vases with an Old World look, carved mirrors – anything with rich, jeweled tones. This season, it’s the mix that makes traditional creations look bold and fresh.
Q. Can you share any fun tips on making an outdoor space more personal?
A. People tend to overlook the fact that their outdoor patio can be just as important as their indoor rooms. I suggest you clear the clutter. Don’t use that space for storage! Instead, view the patio (or deck or terrace) as a useful place. No matter how small or big, have fun.
Q. Do you have an example of a favorite deck or patio design?
A. I like to mix a sitting area with the dining area. You can have a bistro table for two but also incorporate a wicker chair or love seat. Blend the two uses rather than separate them.
Q. Let’s talk about some of the hot styles and products for al fresco summer settings. What are some of your favorites?
A. First, the Papasan – for outdoors. I remember when I went off to college and that was the first thing we bought for the dorm room. It’s an iconic Pier 1 piece. This Papasan is great because it can stay outside. It’s bold and bright and has a lot of personality. It’s made out of iron and plastic rattan. The cushions are 100% polyester and water repellent. I love these (once) indoor chairs used outdoors because they offer a new and fun patio feature for you and your guests. Use them to create a cozy, casual environment.
Q. What about the outdoor rugs – they are awesome!
A. Rugs are often the last thing people think about when decorating their patio. These are bold and bright and have a lot of personality. They really warm up a space and make it room-like.
Q. And I love all the lanterns — the ones that accommodate votives and the battery-operated options. They would look great hanging from the pergola over my patio or from the trees in my garden.
A. Rather than just using one, you can have groupings of lanterns. Experiment with a little cluster. Or, hang a row of them above a table.
Q. Any final advice for accessorizing our summertime spaces?
A. These trends can be taken and shown by themselves or, for even more fun, mix them all up for an eclectic look that is totally your own.
Thanks, Aimee. I look forward to talking with you again.