Life by the Pool

Anne Reagan, Editor, shows us how to live easy all summer long, with a mix of form and function in poolside furniture.

With summer just around the corner we gladly extend our living and entertaining space to our backyard, including our swimming pool area. It’s a breeze creating a cool and comfortable pool deck. With tips like these, you’ll create the most fun pool season ever!

Shop Anne’s Styleboard to see all picks for poolside living!

Life by the pool project and photo by Ag-Trac Enterprises LC.

Create Useable Spaces

Large outdoor spaces like the swimming pool need definition to help make it function well. Use furniture that helps create distinctive spaces. A sturdy outdoor table and plenty of weatherproof chairs should define the dining room. Because this outdoor dining “room” typically doesn’t have the benefit of counter tops or buffets, purchase a table long enough to accommodate not only your guests, but also the food and beverages. Lounge areas can be defined with an outdoor rug and fade-resistant, comfortable furniture.

Pro tip: Before moving furniture into place, be sure to power wash the entire pool deck. A professional will make the area clean and get rid of any moss that might make the pool deck slippery.

Clean Lines

A modern space requires a good balance of clean lines and geometry. You’ll create visual interest by adding pops of decoration: ornamental end tables, striated pottery, and patterned rugs will give importance to the space. Combine this with modern solids in materials like brushed stainless steel, polished chrome, and bright white resin for a clean, contemporary look. Mixing metals is a fresh way to add flow to your pool deck while keeping it on-trend. Try combining reflective and matte versions of the same color tones for the most pleasing combination.

Pro tip: Did you know that professional home stagers can help “stage” your outdoor area as well? Even if you’re not getting ready to sell, a stager can help arrange your pool deck to make it look its best right from the start.

Soft Neutrals

Let the pool and the bathers lend the brightest colors and stick to neutral furnishings. The bright sun and greenery surrounding the pool mix well with a simple color palette. Wood furniture, in all shades, is considered an attractive neutral and goes well with modern greys, soft creams, and bright whites. Your flowers will really pop against singular-colored containers. Don’t forget to select bathing towels that match your décor! Choose towels that will perform well throughout the season in colors that coordinate with the furniture.

Pro tip: Feeling unsure about which colors to choose for your outdoor space? Take a cue from the inside. Your favorite interior colors, like your walls, carpeting, and upholstery, are great starting points for selecting the right colors for your pool area.

Containers Are Key

Soften and frame each space with several planters filled with greenery and color. They create virtual walls and help diminish sound. Planters and containers can lend height to the pool space and create the best transitions between the low horizontal planes of the pool and the tall vertical heights of the home. Arranging containers in groups of three, and using various heights, gives the most energetic and vigorous look. Arranging same-sized planters in a symmetrical pattern will give a placid, and serene, presentation.

Pro tip: Although creating successful containers and beautiful arrangements sounds easy, it can be challenging to create the right balance of color with the correct plants. If you don’t want to do the work yourself, consider hiring a gardener for the day to focus on your containers.

Anne Reagan, Editor-in-Chief,




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