Japanese inspired outdoor dining room

 

Another outdoor makeover, folks.  So here was the challenge:  1 day and $1000 to turn this space below into something inviting and fun. Not gonna lie, these parameters are tough.  I’m good with $1000 and 1 week or $5000 and 1 day but you can’t have quality, cheap, and fast at the same time – them’s the rules.  That being said, i think it turned out super cute, alive and full of character for $1000.  This series was produced by HGTV and you can watch the video of it HERE. 

This picture was actually taken way before and they no longer had that table and chair set when i got there, so that’s why we changed it.  

I realized i never blogged about this and with my goal to do daily original content i decided to unearth it and show it to y’all.  September isn’t exactly outdoor makeover time, but it is still 95 degrees here in way too sunny LA, so it still feels appropriate to me.  These photos were taken by me and let’s just say they aren’t awesome, the space looked way cuter in person, but here’s what we did:

A Japanese inspired dining room.  I actually think it turned out super cute for 1 day and $1000.  Let’s break it down: there are 5 major components to an outdoor space, here we go, friends: 

1. Plants.  Plants are the art and accessories to an outdoor space.  They are my not-so-secret weapon, especially on photo shoots inside and out. You can add life to any dead corner with a beautiful plant.  I buy them at the flower market downtown, but for this shoot i needed a lot (and it was back to back with this other one) so i went deep into the valley to buy $500 worth of plants that would probably cost me $1000 in Hollywood. I went to one of those places that only Latino gardeners go to, there isn’t really even a storefront or building – just acres of plants to choose from.  

Rows and rows of everything.  And this guy who previously thought i was a crazy white chick, came to love me once he realized i spoke Spanish.  I’m not sure why i’m posing so strangely close to him, he seems creeped out, understandably.  

For this space i needed shade loving plants since we were under a pergola, that much even i knew. So i went for playful ferns, some tropical plants in the bed, some bamboo for filler (and to go with the japanese vibe of the space), then i added some climbers that could get more sun on the vertical supports that climbed up and made it feel more intimate, overgrown and enclosed.  

2. Add life with color: I wanted to brighten things up becasue a. this was a before and after makeover for a web-series so color is very important, and b. this couple is very young and fun – so they need color.  I chose indigo and green – the green coming mainly from the plants.  

3. Ground the space with a rug: Just like an indoor room your outdoor space can always use a rug to help ground the space and make it feel more pulled together and intimate.  This navy and white greek key rug I love and got from a wholesale company but good news, i’m selling it on OpenSky HERE for $108 6×9, which is obviously a great price for a rug.  I also used at the lake house:

I normally don’t like using the same rug twice, but its just so cute and cheap.  It’s made from recycled plastic so it is pretty indestructable and you can flip it over for the same pattern, but reverse colorway (aka more white, with the navy blue greek key).  It’s also great for a mudroom or playroom, or any room you don’t want to have to worry about and that gets a lot of indoor-outdoor traffic.  Buy that rug HERE.

4. Add light for ambience. Just like an indoor room your outdoor room has to have good lighting.  For the first outdoor makeover i did i used string lights, so i needed to shake this one up.  I found this vintage milk-glass swag pendant at a vintage store for me for $60, and i thought that it would be super cute over this table. 

We built cross beams on the structure and hung it securely from a hook there.  If you lived in a place where it rained a lot i wouldn’t recommend it, but it doesn’t rain here AND if it does you can simply unhook it and take it inside. I love how it worked with the japanese feeling of the slatted walls.  

5. Add inviting and eclectic furniture. Most of you know that quality outdoor furniture isn’t exactly cheap, and since our budget was so tight everything had to be thrifted. The chairs and table in the ‘before’ pic weren’t there anymore, they had this table instead. So we bought a bunch of chairs and painted them all the same color.  Not exactly an original trick, but it does work to help the space feel cohesive.  I then bought these seat cushions in navy blue from Ikea that made all the chairs more comfortable.  

6. Play with patterns.  This space is pretty playful, bordering a little on Dr. Seuss. I think if i had to do it again i would have put a solid table runner and not that stripe, but i had it in my fabric closet and I was out of time and money so i just grabbed it and used it. It’s cute, but i think it goes a little too Willy Wonka.  

HGTV shot this for a web-series called ‘At Home, Outside’.  You can watch the 3 minute before and after HERE and well as the other one i did HERE and see photos and behind the scenes of the other 1 day $1000 outdoor makeover HERE. 

Watch the video, my friends.  It short and sweet, HERE, share it around.   

  1. Kimberly (LolaLalaBean)

    oooh….that's another shot of the Lake House isn't it? I recognize the green Adirondack from a previous post. Love it!!

  2. Sara

    Cute video. I actually love the green; I am a color addict, but I think the green combined with the rug totally makes the space! The pair of chairs in the corner are fun, too.

    Thanks for sharing your process. I think it helps to know that you already had the fabric, the rug you knew was a great go-to, etc., and that helps explain how you were able to do it one day. The insights and info you include in your posts about your videos really add a lot!

    I love the light fixture, too!