Courtyard makeover

Weekend life: courtyard makeover

Nikki Parkinson Life 30 Comments

If you looked in my wardrobe two years ago all you would have found would be 50 shades of black.

Couldn’t get enough of it. It was where my head was at.

I didn’t think I could do colour so I played it safe. And that’s ok.

Then something happened. Suddenly I couldn’t get enough of orange, red, coral and now chartreuse and any shade of neon.

And whenever I now wear black it feels like a novelty.

So, it was not surprising (to me anyway) that the next part of my life to get a splash of colour would be our house.

Now, to the rest of the family, this all came as a bit of a shock.

What had been bubbling away in my head for some time, spilled over to real life the day I came home with my first coloured cushion purchase. And just kept bubbling.

By the time the cushion population had increased 800%, the eye rolls finally stopped and I could just get on with my vision.

And that vision was to “accessorise” our lounge room and courtyard with pieces that could be moved from one space to the other … as we did.

Our courtyard is one of the favourite bits we love about our little house but up until now we’d really under utilised it. Not enough cocktails had been consumed on weekend summer afternoons for my liking.

Mainly because there wasn’t anywhere to just sit and hang.

Now, with this courtyard makeover, we don’t have any storage so any soft furnishings that go into the courtyard have to live inside when we’re not living outside … if you get my drift.

This meant a lightening and brightening inside too. And that’s very ok with me.

So, come on a little photographic journey as I show you some of the “accessories” that are colouring my home life right now.

And never fear, I’m not an interiors blogger … not by a long shot. I just like fun stuff to make my living space a nice place in which to hang … pass me the cocktail please.


An un-accessorised courtyard


Courtyard makeover | cushions | Peonie Home

Cushions. There are always cushions involved. These ones are from Peoni Home.

Courtyard makeover | cushions | Peonie Home

Retro food server | Willow & Bird

Practical features? This retro food server keeps flies off food. Fun features? It’s bright, colourful and fun. Bought at Willow & Bird. Table: Ikea.

Courtyard makeover

I fell in love with these Freedom Furniture chairs when they were first released. Nothing’s changed. Still love them. Comfortable, weather resistant and retro. So retro, I remember as a toddler, jumping excitedly on one and putting my leg through it. These 2012 versions are helping me to finally move on from the psychological trauma 😉

Let’s talk about the virtues of an indoor/outdoor rug, shall we? When not outside, this Brita Sweden rug from Down That Little Lane gives us a little something soft underneath our feet outside. It’s made from soft plastic foil, which is a cleaning bonus when drinks and canapes are shared here in abundance. The rug is the BUSINESS. It is.

Courtyard makeover

This tangerine Table Tonic pouffe is a new addition (already had the silver one under my desk). When small child and teenagers are not around then they serve as ideal foot rests. Should said offspring join us for an afternoon drinkie and a slab of brie, then they serve as extra seating.

That little chartreuse table and blue mat? Freedom. Lantern? Ikea. Vintage-style bottles? Willow & Bird.

Courtyard makeover

Let’s talk about the mood lighting, shall we? I sent Mr SY on a mission to IKEA. He’s good like that, working in the city and all. They’re solar powered, cheap as chips and just make things look so pretty.

More cushion love here with flamingos from Freedom and Keren Brown pineapples from Willow & Bird.

Courtyard makeover

Courtyard makeover

Courtyard makeover

The beauty of only using accessories to decorate means that no two afternoons spent in the courtyard look the same. That blue cushion? Freedom. The “heart” hurricane lantern? Willow & Bird.

But let’s talk flamingos, shall we? I bought these from Retro Flamingos. They make me smile.

Courtyard makeover

Courtyard makeover

Courtyard makeover


Courtyard makeover

Courtyard makeover

And of course, there’s always a drink served up. This one? Cointreau, blood orange, mint and soda. Yep, very good.

Cheers! It’s summer tomorrow. Do you have an outside space that makes you smile? Do you love a cushion or 16?

Comments 30

  1. I really love the Swedish mat. We have lots of dull concrete and that mat would certainly pretty it up. I love Scandavaian design 🙂

  2. We got our garden redone in February this year. Oh, the difference it has made! The landscape gardener returfed, including over an awkward L shaped section of garden bed, and paved over a garden bed cut into the paving. He added tonnes more gardenias for ground cover and star jasmine for wall cover and we have literally doubled our space. We now have enough room to put the table on the paving and we actually enjoy the grassy space now. Great for keeping the heat down too. It is heavenly scented too. We come home from school and hang out there for a while. The Welshman, Boyo and I had dinner out there last Friday night, and Boyo did some drawing whilst we chatted and after he went to bed, we stayed out there for hours with a bottle of wine, some candles and citronella oil. It really is our second lounge room.

    All our furniture is by IKEA too.

  3. Holler!!! We are totally on the same page!! Today I wrote about not wearing colour a year ago and now I’m all Carmen Miranda Otto! I LOVE LOVE LOVE what you’ve done with your courtyard, it looks so fun and inviting. Wish I could have a cocktail or two with you there. Love your work as always Nikki. A x x

  4. Gorgeous Nikki. Love the lights – just what I’ve been looking for but can’t seem to find them on the Ikea website. You don’t happen to know their name you do?
    I’m working on our back verandah. Covered for fickle Melbourne weather, view of the cubby and trampoline for supervision and surrounded by greenery. Christmas decs to go up tomorrow and feature in windows for both indoor and outdoor viewing.

  5. Your courtyard is lovely Nikki. I bought 2 lime plastic chairs and 2 orange ones last year, alas they’ve faded a bit so think I’ll buy white next time 😉 Wish we had an Ikea here – love those lights – thanks for the inspiration as always xx

      1. Not a rumour! Ikea person at Springwood has told me the land has been purchased but the building of the store has been put off for a bit due the GFC but it is definitely not an if but when. I can’t wait!

  6. Looks fabulous – but do you have to spend time every day dragging everything in and out … or do you leave outside for days at a time (providing no thunderstorms coming!?) …. I can sadly imagine myself rushing in and out at the beginning of each day to put it all into place and then pack it all up again 🙂

    1. It’s a weekends and holiday thing for us … of this except chairs and tables is in our lounge room during the week – outside for weekend fun! We don’t have storage options so only way and means we have colour inside too.

  7. Yes I do I have a lovely verandah that overlooks the pool and I have old /real retro cane chairs and a coffee table to match and I made beautiful aqua and cobalt blue covers and cushions as well and we have a Jamie Oliver table and chairs in wrought iron with a terracotta top and blue mosaic tiles around the edge to match the terracotta floor tiles,I too have those lanterns the white ones from Ikea but mine hang from hooks on the walls,i love them when lit,and I love those solar lights so pretty,and we have a water feature in the garden up the back,a small backyard but useful,it’s great to have a do over makes everything more appealing and fresh and Yes I love me a cushion or 20 just bought new ones for the family room and they are pink,aqua and taupe and some have birds on and a bright pink bird one and a taupe one to tie it all in,and in the lounge room I have red ones.I can’t believe you only ever wore black,colour suits you so well!

      1. Yes I can’t get my head around the black wardrobe,but hey your embracing colour now and That’s what matters,Yes when you come o Sydney maybe you can come and visit 🙂

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