Our Beautiful Outdoor Pergola Dining Room

June 15, 2016

Oh my goodness, we got so much crossed off the to do list last week -- at least as far as outdoor projects are concerned. :) I've been so excited to show you! 

Our deck was in desperate need of staining -- it's been years since we did it last. I didn't take a before pic but it looked even worse than these photos from last spring:

We've always gone with a dark red stain and white railings and I love the look, but the red doesn't hold up well in full sun year to year. 

This time we wanted to go with a more natural look and also needed to stain the pergola that we had built last year: 

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We ADORE this space! Last year we placed some old outdoor furniture out there and called it done -- the staining had to be put off because of the treated wood but it got away from us at the end of the summer (and building it cost enough).

We were super close to tackling this ourselves but in the end decided to pay to have it done and seriously, BEST DECISION EVER. It took a crew five full days to finish everything up. They were more meticulous than we would have been but it still would have taken us weeks. 

We went with a more natural stain called Antique Oak from the Behr line at Home Depot:
Antique oak stain from Behr

I love our white railings so those stayed light, obviously. :) 

I was so excited to get stuff back on here but made a few changes first. The outdoor sofas we had were OK but showing their age. I'm trying to get away from furniture with so many cushions that need to be put away/cleaned/replaced so we gave the set away to friends and moved our table and chairs back up to this spot. 

We kept out table set down on the patio because it had an umbrella, but it broke during a spring storm this year. I've always imagined having the table under there -- I think it's so fitting and feels so intimate with the pergola and lights. I loved the change as soon as we made the move and the next step was to find a new outdoor rug. 

I've been working with Better Homes and Gardens every couple of months and decided to look into their rugs online. We always go with deeper reds and purples out here but I wanted to change it up and lighten the feel a bit. 

When I found this latticework indoor/outdoor rug (unfortunately no longer available) I was hooked -- I LOVE the blue gray tone: 
BHG lattice rug

I knew it would work well with the brown stain and the black accents I wanted to add out there. I was pleasantly surprised when it was delivered -- it's even prettier in person and the size was perfect. (By the way, I think it would be lovely inside too.) 

With that simple addition this space has become our favorite "room" in the house!: 
Outdoor string lights

Isn't the rug so pretty? I'm loving the lighter look out here, I just hope it holds up. I plan to get some protective disks for under the table legs just in case there's any rust.

Now the patio is more of the lounging space and eating will happen closer to the house on the deck. It works well because our grill is right nearby. Of course just like inside, everyone tends to migrate to a table so this will work well when we have company:
The best outdoor lights

The rug is showing a teensy bit more aqua than in real life in some of these pics. When it's dry it leans more blue/gray and when wet it's a deeper blue. It seems to be a little darker than the photo online though. I'm really pleased with it! 

Those outdoor string lights are about my favorite things ever -- they were up all winter and every single one still works great. I LOVE THEM. 

I wanted something simple for the middle of the table -- a spot for candles and flowers and to cover the hole where the umbrella went. ;) I found this BHG metal tray and it was perfect: 
BHG metal tray
It's a generous size but lightweight. Great for carrying serving items or food in and out of the house as well: 
Outdoor dining space

For now I added a few candles and plants: 
Metal tray with handles

Our old pillows were worn and filthy even after washing so I went with the lighter theme and found some with greens and blues: 
Outdoor area with table and chairs

These colors fit in more with the look we have inside and it makes me happy to bring them out here. 

The "candelabra" is a DIY project in progress. It's a broken light fixture that I'm attempting to make work for candles -- I'll update you when I get the last few details figured out. ;) 

I love the look of a fixture hanging -- makes it feel more like an outdoor room, right?:
Light blue outdoor rug

I planted the hanging baskets and got those hung again -- everything looks so great against the new stain!: 
Hanging plants on pergola

Hanging flower baskets are one of those little thing I was excited about when we had the pergola built. They are just how I envisioned, especially when they fill in and spill out a little bit -- lovely! They are the jewelry on the space. :) 

I think my favorite view is when you walk around the side of the house and see it from this angle: 
Brown deck white railings

It's like a treehouse. :) We have the prettiest backyard and are so thrilled with how it's evolved over the years: 
Deck and pergola with white railings
That ginormous plant is my limelight hydrangea and it continues to grow to the biggest size ever. Can't wait to show it to you with all of the blooms!

Want to know the best part about the pergola being finished up? I planned on building a new outdoor table and I love this so much as is I'm not worrying about it. Less work for me, whoot! The set works great and the colors in the table top work perfectly with the new rug and stain. It's in good condition, the chairs are comfortable, it looks good so it's staying!

If you need us on any given evening this summer, we'll probably be here. Bring wine if you plan to join us. ;)
wood pergola on deck

We are so thrilled to have this project finished up! This week I cleaned the patio and now I just need to finish cleaning out the flower beds and maybe then I can plant a new hydrangea or two. ;)

Oh, I meant to mention -- I get asked about outdoor rugs on our deck often. Some worry about the air flow and the wood not holding up but we've never had a problem. I've had rugs out here for more than a decade and other than normal wear our deck is doing fine. If you want a soft spot and some color I say go for it! :)

Are you working on any outdoors projects right now? We are so behind compared to years past but this was a HUGE one off the list.

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  1. Your deck looks gorgeous! I always have issues with ours because it's cedar and the stain absorbs into it so much. We end up having to strip and restain it every other year. I have tried to convince my husband to do the white railings so I am pinning one of your pictures to show him. LOVE your pergola and the lights. An overall beautiful deck! You must be loving it out there!

  2. Love it! What an amazing space! Awesome job :)

  3. Everything looks amazing! It looks so inviting and comfortable even with just a couple of cushions. When I see outdoor spaces with a lot of cushions I wonder how people keep them looking nice, I can't remember to close my car windows let alone bring cushions in every night.

  4. Love your outdoor space! Looks like a great place to just "BE".
    We replaced some support pieces on our deck with treated wood but never stained them. It's been like 5 years! Is it too late to stain them or is there no need to stain them? (the top of our deck is maintenance free material)

  5. It looks absolutely beautiful Sarah! I love the new stain color and layout!

  6. I LOVE your two-toned deck. I am about to tackle the process of staining my deck & have a question about the white...is it white paint or white, solid coverage stain? Thanks!

  7. Absolutely beautiful. I need to stain my deck... I love the color you used.

  8. Looks amazing. Love the stain and white combo. Very inviting.

  9. It's beautiful! I wouldn't be surprised if a magazine doesn't come calling. What a lovely place to relax with your family.

  10. Absolutely gorgeous!!!! I love the stain you chose, and the white railings are a great contrast. My deck staining project has been dragging for weeks and I can't wait until it's finally done!

  11. That is so impressive. I think the rug just brings it all together! The little bits and pieces add such character and brightness to it as well :).

    Nicky xx | www.curious-journeying.com

  12. It's so beautiful, Sarah! I love it!!

  13. I love everything about it, especially the rug! I'm looking for something similar. Two questions: 1. Would that rug work well indoors as a dining room rug? 2. Is the color true to the picture? It looks turquoise on your blog, but when I checked online, it looks less bright. Thoughts?

  14. I've seen where folks have retrofitted chandeliers with the solar pathway lights (top part of it) just an idea...but candlelight is so pretty too :)

  15. Your outdoor dining "room" is gorgeous! I love the string lights and the chandelier that you're working on. I completely agree that having a hanging light outdoor makes the space feel more like a real room, and just more special! We're just starting to work on the backyard of our new place and I'm hoping we can get enough done to really enjoy it this summer!

  16. At our cabin in the woods I put solar lights in an old chandelier and hung it out amongst the pines....not a lot of light but a lovely glow.

  17. Beautiful! The Costco string lights are the perfect addition to the pergula!

    At the end of last year we updated our deck risers and skirt boards with Rustoleum's Deck Restore products and they were GREAT to work with for exterior space. After a little scrub this spring they are still as white as before, although I'll give them another little scrub soon now that tree pollen season is over.

  18. It is very lovely. Your outdoor photos always look so cool and inviting. Do you take them on overcast days? I know nothing about photography, so if it's a matter of settings or filters, I will be lost. Anyway, I love the brackets you use for your hanging baskets. Can you tell me where to find them? Thank you and never stop blogging.

  19. Stunning. Why? Because it's not overdone. Love the lights and the contrast between the deck rails and the stain. The vegetation is just amazing, too. Maybe you can give tips on landscaping a backyard? Love your blog!

  20. Looks great!!! I live in the area..who did you use to stain it?


  21. Looks great! We recently replaced our old string lights with the Costco ones - hoping they hold up better! The last ones got knocked out by wind, but the ambiance on the patio at night is so lovely. Love your rug too :)

  22. Beautiful and inviting! Hope to have a deck at some point. Presently I need to build a fence for an amazing climbing rose i was given-Jacob's Coat - multiple colors on same plant & they change!

  23. Absolutely beauuuutiful, Sarah!!!!!! Magazine worthy! I know you are so proud of it Your yard is gorgeous!!


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