From drab to funky: outdoor furniture upgrade #1

Recently arriving in America from Australia, and renting a house, meant that I did not want to spend up big on outdoor furniture. No point buying anything until we had our own place and knew exactly what was going to fit, or not. So, with a little ingenuity and some tins of spray paint I set to work on the items left behind by our landlord (with his permission, of course).

These armchairs had potential: nice rounded arms, and a pressed, perforated metal back in a flower design …

Before

The rental house was very beige (walls, floor, carpet, tile, ceiling: all beige), and I found myself craving bright colour. At first I thought I might achieve this with cushions, but after searching in vain for brightly coloured cushions I actually liked, I came across these on the Target website:

Outdoor chair cushions from Target

Monochromatic rather than colourful, but funky black and white polka dots would do just fine (thank you Target). The polka dots immediately suggested the 1950s, and some fabulous mugs a friend of mine once owned: polka dot on the outside, brightly coloured on the inside. Wish I could find a photo of them … but suffice to say, what these chairs needed was a 1950s edge, and I knew just how to get it! Here are some of sources of inspiration:

Inspiration sources

Clockwise from left: vintage dress from 1960; Villeroy and Boch vintage teapot; egg yolk ; 1950s Royal Albert 3 piece tea set.

I have always loved black, white and yellow as a colour scheme, ever since seeing an article in The World of Interiors featuring Nancy Lancaster’s famous Yellow Room:

World Of Interiors cover showing Nancy Lancaster’s Yellow Room

Lancaster was the owner of the eponymous UK interior decorating company Colefax and Fowler. Along with John Fowler, she helped to create what is known as the ‘English Country look’. A much copied style, not always successfully … While I doubt Lancaster would have used black and white polka dots in her interior decor schemes, I love her sense of colour, and the way she blends eclectic elements to create harmonious interior spaces. She understood the need to have things on different levels in a room, and to have one thing in it that didn’t quite fit. This is what makes the difference between a home and a hotel room.

I digress … Painting the chairs egg yolk yellow, and adding the black and white polka dot cushions seemed exactly the right thing to do with them. I set to work on the chairs.

There were some rust spots, so priming with a rust fixer came first

Treating the rust

The right colour was critical in achieving the look I was after. These chairs were begging to be egg-yolk yellow. So next, I went crazy with Bauhaus Yellow Krylon spray paint.

Post spraying

Perfect!

I waited impatiently for the Fed Ex man to deliver the cushions from Target. And with them the chairs were complete.

After

Now all that remained was to sit in them. Makes me smile each time I look at them: life is too short for beige.

Comfortable and fun, what more could you ask?
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2 responses to “From drab to funky: outdoor furniture upgrade #1

  1. Wow, you are an amazing lady! have just read of all your decorating adventures and am feeling inspired. Great to catch up with you again via your blog. hey – whats a gravatar??

    • Thank you! That is very kind of you to say so! I am new to all of this, too. A gravatar is like an avatar (ie a representation of you) except you can use it across the whole internet on any site that requires an avatar (ie blogs, facebook, etc). It is hosted on a single server and it is supposed to make it easier to change your avatar across different platforms. Hope that made sense!
      Thank you for reading my blog!

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