Cohesive decorative themes offer one of the easiest ways to really make your home "pop." That eye-catching curb appeal is critical if you want to sell a home, but every bit as important if you want property that you're proud to show off. With these tips, transform that plain concrete patio into the perfect piece to finish your rustic country cottage décor.
First, do something with that concrete
Starting from the ground up, that plain old worn-out concrete patio will never blend with a country cottage theme as-is. One option is to tear it out completely and put in some nice cobblestones, but that's expensive and time-consuming – not to mention wasteful of a perfectly good piece of concrete.
Instead of ripping out the existing patio, look into different types of concrete refinishing. For relatively little money, you can change the patio to, say, an earthy red clay color. Still have your heart set on cobblestones? Opt for printed overlays that give the look of flagstones or cobblestones without the expense of laying an entirely new base, and without all the maintenance problems of traditional stone walkways. Check out local deck companies like All Valley Deck Works for more ideas and refinishing options.
Next, pick or design your furniture
Pick patio furnishings that won't be hurt by the elements each season, such as barnwood or distressed furniture. Can't find properly distressed furniture? Consider making your own by sanding worn spots into the existing paint on a secondhand piece and then covering with a clear outdoor lacquer.
For a different great worn look, buy some outdoor acrylic or latex paint and crackle medium or wood glue. Clean any dirt and debris off of the painted wood or metal furniture, then cover with crackle medium and let dry. Next, paint a coat of the new paint. As the paint dries, the crackle medium causes it to pull away in some spots, creating a cracked look that shows the original color underneath. Finish with an outdoor lacquer.
All manner of vintage art forms, including decoupage, can be used on outdoor furniture as long as you use an outdoor sealer when it's done. Have some fun, find some secondhand furniture at local thrift shops, and create something that's truly unique to your home.
Finally, add finishing touches in a unique country style
Decorative rocks, driftwood, wagon wheels, bits of horse harness and vintage-look ceramics are all great choices for an authentic country look. Add some barnwood flower boxes or planters with wrought iron stands. Fill those planters with traditional low-maintenance plants such as strawberries, nasturtiums, bachelor's buttons or violas.
The trick to an authentic country look is to never rely on what you find in stores. Check out local thrift shops, garage sales, estate auctions and antiques markets to achieve the right look. Let the look evolve over time as you find the perfect treasures, and enjoy the delightful new rustic atmosphere on your patio.