The Power of Distraction & Accessories: The Budget Quick-Fix Edition

The Power of Distraction & Accessories: The Budget Quick-Fix Edition

Leah Moss
Jun 2, 2010

Well, we've talked about how distraction can be your best defense against ugly, and we've talked about how accessories can transform a lifeless outdoor space, and now it's time to see the two combined…on a tiny budget!

This example is close to home for me because, well, it is my home!

We've focused most of our efforts and resources on the interior of our house, and as a result the backyard has been sorely neglected. That was all well and good until I found myself the day before our massive annual 4th of July party last year with a backyard that had all the classiness of a paper bag landfill. Our house has an addition that was put on in the 80s, and from the back it looks much like an old ho-hum trailer with the world's narrowest deck happened to smash into the back of a charming brick colonial. The surrounding yard was not much better: muddy patches interspersed with weeds.

Panic struck as I eyed the sore sight. I work in the design industry— my home is supposed to be beautiful…or at least presentable— my ego was in severe danger. So armed with $150, a spare hour, and a strong sense of purpose, I devised a plan.

Although I tend to favor subdued color palettes, I've learned that the best way to deal with an ugly situation is to create strong focal points that distract attention away from problem areas. You can't make ugly go away with timid accessories. So I decided to go bold with the most attention-grabbing color I could think of: RED!

• First I removed our broken and ugly storm door, and painted the outside of the french door with red paint that our neighbors had left over from their own door redo.

• Next, I gathered every red accessory I owned, which consisted of one red lantern.

• Then I struck out to the local hardware store, where I bought:

  1. 2 large planters ($65) that were on clearance (ps- July is a great time of year to find planters on sale)

  2. 4 hanging baskets ($55)

  3. enough impatiens to loosely fill the planters and baskets ($30)

We also added some festive 4th of July kitsch for the party.

It's certainly not the most beautiful design I've come up with, but it did the trick, and the best part is that we still get to use the bulk of the accessories again this year.

Images: Leah Moss

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