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French farmhouse. This Northern California setting has a very relaxed, informal French farmhouse feel. Can't you imagine sitting down to a lunch of crusty French rolls and a fresh salad under this shady tree?
Create your own French farmhouse–style patio by adding natural wooden furniture with neutral linens and simple white plates. Add finishing touches to your table with a simple vase of wildflowers and a large bowl of oranges or deep purple figs. Grow pots of lavender for a heavenly scent, and add complementary aubergine (deep purple) throw pillows to your seating.
Italian apartment. This stunning Italian patio feels chic and sophisticated, with a simple black and white dining set and a beautiful city view.
If you want an Italian-style patio of your own, grow tall shrubs — such as yew or privet — near a fence or a garden trellis to create some privacy from your neighbors. Use black iron furniture, and if you can, splurge on a white marble or stone top table. Accessorize with plain white seat cushions and a white umbrella to keep the look simple and classic. Add some warm terra-cotta planters with bright flowers like geraniums for color. Use a single color such as pink, red or white so they don't overwhelm the space. If you want to add table linens, use crisp whites. Bellissimo!
Modern Scandinavian chic. The Scandinavians are masters of clean and simple design. The look here has been achieved by layering varying soft shades of modern gray in different textures, such as bleached wood, simple stone and clean painted lines. The designer has also added some contrasting warmer wood tones for an unexpected twist.
To achieve a modern Scandinavian look on your patio, go for uncluttered, simple furniture pieces with clean lines in black or gray wood. Choose a simple palette of one or two colors — grays or whites would work well. If this feels too sterile for you, try adding a little warm, colored wood (such as a reclining sun chair) or brightly colored (such as burnt orange or mustard yellow) seat cushions. For a touch of something natural, grow pots of simple green plants in black containers.
Mediterranean-style palazzo. For a Mediterranean feel, even in Texas, add fresh blue and white textiles to your outdoor furniture and a bowl of citrus fruit as a colorful table centerpiece. Potted Italian herbs — such as rosemary, oregano and thyme — will create wafts of fresh Mediterranean scents. Make sure you use an umbrella to get some shade and add glass storm lanterns for romantic evening lighting.