3 Eco-Decorating Ideas to Create a Vacation Atmosphere at Home

Cheryl Terrace by Cheryl Terrace | July 14th, 2009 | 9 Comments
topic: Eco Decorating, Green Living


It’s a “staycation” kind of year. I’ve been super-busy helping my clients gear up their homes for summer entertaining. Since many folks are choosing to stay home instead of traveling this year, lots of my clients are focusing on making their decks, balconies, patios and backyards more fun and welcoming for guests — and more and more want to do that in an eco-conscious way.

You can too by following these three design rules that apply outside as much as inside:

1. Set the mood with lighting.14-9448

I like to start here because it’s like paint — it can affect what else you ultimately decide to do with the space. I use an abundance of simple clear votives (use citronella candles to deter bugs), which arewindproof/resistant, inexpensive and easy to clean. Solar path lights also look fantastic (and help ensure that your guests don’t fall down and sue you :-) as do the gorgeous options in solar lantern-style lighting.

2. Try alternatives to background music.

Neighbors get on your case when you blare the tunes? Friends have different tastes in music genres? Wind chimes are like Switzerland! I adore the tranquil sound of good wind chimes. Placing them in various locations around the exterior of a home brings a magical element to every corner. This chime is one of my favorites.

Also try placing wind spinners in surrounding trees; they’re inexpensive and mesmerizing to watch — a cheap way to transport yourself and your guests to a faraway place where people hang interesting, colorful objects in trees to attract tourists!

3. Make an effort to create a few inviting seating & eating areas.

Most people have the required outdoor table and chairs — but neglect to set up other intimate seating arrangements, which can be wonderful for conversation-starting in secluded spots such as under a tree. I recommend pairing mix-and-match thrift store finds for a casual plain air experience. Remember, a table is mandatory for the wine and cheese and can be as simple (and charming) as an overturned wooden crate.

My favorite finds include:

  1. Bamboo serving tray – light weight and handles easy to carrying nibbles out to your guests.
  2. Casual outdoor plates (again, thrift shop mix-and-match pieces are perfect). No plastic or paper plates pleeease. Use recycled, compostable or reusable plates and utensils instead. I adore this recycled glassware from ecosalon.

Finish by filling your outdoor spaces with flowers and herbs — and viola! The South of France in your own backyard, no passport required!


  1. Thank you for these great tips. I personally put plants at the top of my list when doing outdoor decorations. They just make you feel calmer and healthier instantly, I love the outdoor area on the picture above. The fireplace is really giving a special mood along with the lamps. I can’t find the lamps like those anywhere. Do you maybe have a link where they can be purchased online?

    Cruise | July 26th, 2010 | Comment Permalink
  2. I love using salvage lighting for all kinds of interiors- and exteriors!
    google salvage lighting : example; http://www.portlandsalvage.com/lighting.html

    cheryl | July 28th, 2010 | Comment Permalink
  3. Try hanging wind chimes that remind you of those on vacation. After going to Thailand and having the bamboo behind the villa I had to get bamboo wind chimes to remind me of that.

    Bamboo Wind Chimes | July 31st, 2010 | Comment Permalink
  4. Great ideas…Solar path lights will really change the look of the home, no doubt

    Backyard Fix | August 27th, 2010 | Comment Permalink
  5. It’s just an idea but somehow, floating scented candles can be placed on center tables for a cozy ambiance plus a relaxing aroma it gives.

    micheal verns | September 30th, 2010 | Comment Permalink
  6. I adore candles of any & all configurations ~ as long as they are non toxic (not petroleum) based, or artificially scented. beeswax (natural scent) is my fav!

    cheryl | September 30th, 2010 | Comment Permalink
  7. I’m involved in a lot of renovation projects, and these are great ideas. I particularly like your idea of windspinners, and have a situation where this is a perfect addition.

    Plumber Plano Tx | January 10th, 2011 | Comment Permalink
  8. thanks for the eco decorating tips. while i don’t have a house yet, this is good information to note for down the road.

    Judy | January 12th, 2011 | Comment Permalink
  9. thank you for all the great tips you shared with us. i love renovating and i the first picture in the article is absolutely beautiful and very artistic. thanks and more power!

    plumber Toronto | January 19th, 2011 | Comment Permalink

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