Mid-Mod-Mad Patio Boho Mojo

If you remember my “Make-Do Patio Redo” from last year, you know the big issue was faded cushions on my all-weather wicker furniture, a $300 cushion replacement pricetag, and little-to-no budget.

The budget isn’t any better this year, but now those same cushion covers are also rotted from exposure to the elements and must be replaced. I knew that when we stored them away for the winter but held onto them anyhow, thinking MAYBE I’d muster enough energy to recover them myself.

After lots of thought and adding up pros and cons, as well as fabric costs, I soon discovered I wouldn’t be saving much, and I’d still have cushions made from the same worn-out foam and polyester fiberfill.

So yes, you guessed it! That means…

Brand. Spanking. New. Patio cushions. How did I fit them into our budget? Well, a few ways:

  1. Time-share purchasing: We spread out the purchase over several months. Each replacement set for the two larger chairs was $80. And since we ordered from Home Depot, we trusted they’d have the same stock from April to May. Our former color was “green bean,” and this go-round we chose quarry red,”–a burnt orange, cinnamon/persimmon-type color. We definitely needed a change after five summers of green bean, and quarry red would look absolutely stunning with the greige color our condo trim was painted two summers ago.
  2. Doing without: We decided to try to live without the two ottomans that go with the larger chairs and save $100 in replacement cushion expense. We used to prop our feet up on them all the time–at least I did, back when I weighed much more and my legs swelled–but not so much the last few summers. In fact, it seemed like all we did last summer was constantly move them out of the way. So for this season, we’ll store them in the garage and see if they’re missed.
  3. Shopping around: I shopped around for round-back replacement seat cushions for the smaller chairs and found some I liked at Tuesday Morning for $15 each. Honestly, outdoor seat cushions have skyrocketed in price in the last few years. World Market had ones I kind of liked for $30, but everywhere else they were upwards of $40 each, which is ridiculous.
  4. Repurposing: What’s inside now that I’m tired of and can use in a different way outside? Just wait and see.
  5. Borrowing: I have lots of fun midcentury modern stuff in my Etsy store I can use until it sells–all without a hit to my wallet.

I did splurge a bit on accent pillows though…

I wanted a change of theme, so I sold the bug accent pillows and accessories I used for five years on ebay (some may still be for sale here and here) and looked for accent pillows that shouted midcentury modern retro. I found these on Zazzle.com:

Clockwise from upper left they are: Retro Couple with Cat, I’m Not Old I’m Mid Century Modern, and Mid Century Modern Couple. The two rectangular pillows are by Strange Little Onion, and the square one is Retro Gifts by Diane Dempsey. I chose to have all three made in fabric treated for outdoor use, but they’re also available in brushed polyester and in cotton.

The lumbar pillows were for my smaller chairs, and the 20-inch square pillow with the Eames chair on it was for “my” larger chair. Chris never uses a pillow on “his” larger chair, so I accented it with this throw from Overstock.com:

The “H” in the lower left corner is actually a handle and straps to confine and carry the throw rolled-up. It can double as a picnic blanket/tablecloth or beach blanket. I had no trouble folding it over my chair back so the handle didn’t show. It’s made for outdoor use, too, and resists fading.

But that’s about it in the “new” department, apart from the chair cushions.

Now, about those chair cushions…

Nothing ever goes completely as planned.

This is my chair and these are the quarry red replacement cushions I wanted:

I ordered the first set from Home Depot, they arrived in less than a week, and I loved them. I went ahead and bought seat cushions in a coordinating print from Tuesday Morning.

A few weeks later I tried to order the second set of chair cushions from Home Depot, but they were out of stock. Considering this was the ONLY place I could find these replacement cushions at all, I didn’t figure they’d restock.

So after a week or so of obsessing about what to do and exploring other options, I returned the one set of quarry red and settled for two sets of “Washed Blue.”

Of course, they recently notified me they have more quarry red. Figures, right? But it’s too little, too late. Washed blue has been in use too long to exchange.

I also found the printed seat cushions I bought for the smaller chairs didn’t match the washed blue all that well and looked too busy with the patterned accent pillows. So I exchanged those for some solid, bright red-orange ones, which helped make up for not getting the color I really wanted in the larger seat cushions.

So here’s how it turned out…

These are the two larger chairs dressed in washed blue, striped throw and square accent pillow.

And here are the two smaller chairs that sit across from them, with solid orange seat cushions and lumbar accent pillows.

One budget-cutting change that has worked out really well involved doing without the ottomans. Now that I’ve lost so much weight, I can cross my legs again and don’t need to prop them up. We enjoy the extra space on the patio, and the $100 saved on ottoman replacement cushions paid for new accent pillows.

I figure if we want to use the ottomans in the future and can’t match the replacement cushions, I can recover them myself or buy something that approximately matches/fits. In the meantime, I’m using one of the cushions for kneeling when I garden since the cover is already rotted.

So what did I repurpose?

Check out the fun metal flower sculptures on the wall. They used to hang in my half-bath. I like them so much better out here, and they have a terrific midcentury modern feel, don’t you think?

This sign also used to hang in my half-bath (part of a garden theme), but it works perfectly on the door, points to our actual garden/patio, and ties in with the blue replacement cushions.

All these plants except the hanging basket came from my living room and used to sit on the other side of the window. I usually put large pots of annuals here–my favorites are caladiums and fiber optic grass–but repurposing the inside plants outside saved me some money. They already have midcentury modern pots, and spending the summer outdoors will shore them up for the winter inside.

(In case you didn’t notice, that’s my reflection in the window, snapping this photo. Be sure to wave hi!)

Other items, including this corner hanging planter and bamboo bobbing bird wind chimes, have been with me a few years. The planter I did in chocolate mint this year with orange annuals (I’ve changed those out a couple times), and I regularly pick the mint leaves to add to a pitcher of sun tea. I’ll do this AGAIN next year!

And what did I borrow?

The pottery on the tables is mostly 1960-70s West German–genuinely midcentury modern–and for sale in my Etsy store, along with the luminaries and candle dish on the shelf below.

Here’s a closer look at the tabletop. The pottery bird is by Alice Smith of Chalice Pottery and is vintage 1950s. The wicker tray I stole from my ebay shop. And since plants have been dripping on it since spring, I probably won’t try to sell it. But since I only paid a dollar or two for it at Goodwill, no foul.

The table against the opposite wall holds more West German pots on a Goodwill wicker tray, as well as a Target lantern I also picked up at Goodwill, repurposed as a plant holder.

Finally, I focused on foliage over flowers.

What do I remember plant-wise about growing up in the 1960s? Rubber trees, philodendron and mother-in-laws’ tongues sunning themselves in our living room’s huge picture window. None of those exact plants on my patio…

but I do have this dragon tree (which will come inside for the winter), two kinds of tropical crotons,

two varieties of sweet potato vine in my kitschy goddess head planter (Aphrodite’s “moon” beads by Cara Jean Clay),

and this glorious hanging basket of succulents I found already made up at Home Depot. I plan to try to winter it over inside as well. It gets two more gold stars for not needing much watering (so less dripping) and not dropping dead leaves and flowers onto the patio.

My one concession to flowers was the pot of bright orange alstromeira you see in the foreground. This is a flower I love in bouquets that isn’t hardy in my zone 5-6 abode, so I enjoy having it (for a few months anyway) in a pot. The pop of orange says “welcome” to my little piece of mid-mod-mad patio heaven.

If you want more…