It’s the perfect time of year to get your outdoor living area updated and in style. Here are helpful strategies to keep in mind as you redesign

Recently, we received a new container of furniture at reStyle Hawaii. I felt like a kid in a candy store looking at the new pieces, when at that moment, a shopper walked by and said how overwhelmed she was with all the choices. That’s when the idea for this week’s column came to me: shopping strategies!


We have a strategy for just about everything — work, games, even romance. Why not shopping? After all, who has a lot of time to waste? And we certainly don’t need the frustration. Our store manager, Justina, asked our customer questions to try to help narrow down her choices, but she didn’t seem to be prepared with answers. She fell in love with one outdoor furniture piece after another without a clear vision of what she needed or what her end result should be.

Now that spring is here and the season for outdoor grilling is right around the corner, many people are in the same boat. Here are some simple strategic ideas to keep in mind when you’re looking for furniture.

Tip No. 1. These days, it’s all about creating outdoor living environments. Especially here in Hawaii, it’s a good idea to tie in your indoor and outdoor styles. Consider tying in your environments so your spaces flow seamlessly.

Tip No. 2. Measure your outdoor space. Many people think their spaces are bigger than they actually are. But can your dining space hold an eight-top table as opposed to a six-top? You don’t want to guess. Measure your outdoor space, just as you would your indoor space.

Tip No. 3. When you shop for new furniture, bring photos of your existing pieces, space and inspiration rooms with you. Just as with your indoor spaces, this will help a salesperson assist you in achieving your vision.

Tip No. 4. Understand what you’re buying — and its purpose. What’s been very hot for a while is all-weather wicker, such as the set in the photo. These pieces can be under cover or exposed to rain and direct sun. They won’t fade and they’re easy to care for.

Also popular are pieces made from reclaimed wood, like this one, which is made from old railroad slippers. However, this piece still needs to be treated with care and left under cover because of the metal detailing.


Finally, even though this modern teak love seat is upholstered with indoor-outdoor fabric, making it perfect for outdoor lounging, it’s still best-suited for a covered space. Keep it out of the elements if you want to retain the look of the wood, as it will silver over time in direct sunlight.

As you can see, armed with a simple strategy and some photos, you can make the perfect decision for your outdoor space. So go shopping and then fire up that barbecue!

Cathy Lee is a home style expert, speaker, president and designer of Cathy Lee Style. Her redesigns of residential and business spaces have been featured in local and national publications and on HGTV. reStyle Hawaii, her new-concept furniture and home accents store, is open daily at 420 Keawe St. in Kakaako. For more info and inspiring photos of design projects visit