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"Summer Social" Guest Project — Simple Outdoor Decorating {bring your inside style…out}!!

Hi!  Shelley here, from The House of Smiths!
I’m SUPER excited to be guest posting over here on the good ol’ TT&;J blog! Jen and I are really close friends, and to say that she has kept me “sane” through this crazy roller coaster known as “the blog world” would be a complete understatement. We’re a perfect compliment as friends. Jen’s the calm, cool, collected girl…and I’m the wound up crazy (get you into just a liiiiittle bit of trouble) party chick………believe me, it works. ha!
Anywho, today I’m going to be sharing just a few tips and tricks about outdoor decorating on a budget! If you know me, then you KNOW I love decorating, but when it comes to the outside I get a little hesitant. Not because I don’t LOVE the way the outside of a beautifully manicured home looks, but because I live in a place (Utah) where we go through all 4 season and Winter seems to be the loooongest!
This makes it hard for me to justify weekend after weekend of time spent on flower beds and lots of money put into expensive decor. Believe ME, those things are still on my wishlist, but until then… here are a few sure-fire, budget friendly ways to “spruce up” the exterior of your home, by bringing inspiration from the indoors, out!
First things first:
Get Cleaning.
You honestly don’t realize HOW dusty and dirty your lighting fixtures, shutters, and doors are, until you start cleaning them. Once you have everything wiped down you can even go back with a fresh coat of spray paint if needed, to really freshen things up for just a few dollars.
I’ll be honest, we only do this about twice a year, but it definitely gives ANY house (new or old) a quick face lift.
Because nobody wants caked on dust and cracked, half-peeled-off-by-a-kid vinyl, greeting their guests.
Gussy up the yard.

A quick, simple, and inexpensive way to really liven up ANY yard is to add some contrasting color, and greenery. For us, this meant some cheap black bark, on sale flower boxes and decorative shrubs. We picked ours up at our local Walmart, and about $150 bucks later, we had a beautifully rich looking flower bed and some cute full planter boxes to boot! 
NOTE: before putting down ANY kind of bark, rock, or other flower bed covering, make sure that you line your planter bed with some sort of weed barrier. You will thank me later
My last tip is probably my most favorite:
Make your porch inviting for
visitors, using decor!
We don’t have a very large porch on our home, so I knew I couldn’t go crazy, but I still wanted to bring the elements of a “comfy” welcoming atmosphere into my small space. So we purchased a discounted floor model IKEA bench, some pillows from Home Goods, a second hand Target wreath from Salvation Army, and a $14.00 rug from Walmart into our porch area, to make for a more “homey” feel for our guests!
All of the decor was about $75.00.
So the grand total on our “Outdoor Spruce-Up” was about… $225.00 smack-a-roos!
Not bad!
If you’re looking to doll-up the outside of YOUR home but not break the bank while doing it, then start with these few tips and you’ll definitely be on your way to a more beautifully inviting home exterior, too!
Happy Summer!
Shelley!! Your house looks so good. 
I love how you make things look so expensive on a tight budget. 
Shelley is one of my best friends in real life. We have so much fun together! 
She is the queen of the one-armed photo shot (I don’t know how she does it)…
She has so much style!! 
{yes, her house is gorgeous IRL!!}
{We had a great time painting Chevron Rugs together}
{She has an adorable family}
{Check out her new Tutorial Page — you will be amazed at all of her awesome projects!!!}
If you don’t know House of Smiths — run over there and be inspired!!! 
Have a Wonderful Wednesday!!!
PS — We are in the car right now on our way to BlogHer. Shelley is driving and she’s made a playlist for your trip – ha!


  1. SweetSugarBelle says:

    Jen, I absolutely loved loved this post! It made me oooooh, awe, AND smile all at once! Tanks for introducing me to Shelley!

  2. Kelli @ RTSM says:

    I love the window boxes and that bench on her front porch is adorable!

  3. Love what Shelley did with the porch. Thanks for the inspiration–going to spice mine up a bit!

  4. Annabelle says:

    I love Shelley and her family!

  5. The Blonde Duck says:

    Jen, where have you been? I miss you!

  6. Wowza that outdoor spruce up was great!! I just love Shelly's blog & I'll have to start following yours now!!

  7. Yep, I need to get my pressure washer out and spruce up my porch!

  8. Lil Mama Stuart says:

    I already had Shelley's yard pinned before this post πŸ˜‰

    Would LOVE to meet both of you in SD! I'm a newbie and dont' really know anyone (out of 3500, ha!) going! Hope we can arrange something!


  9. Adorable! Both Shelley and the outdoor spruce-up! This makes me miss my BFF so much, she lives 12 hours away. Maybe someday I can rope her into guest blogging, and real blogging, and then conferences…

  10. Forsythe says:

    Love you and Shelly. I wish I was in the car with you driving to San Diego. So much creativity in one place!

  11. Tonia @ TheGunnySack.com says:

    LOVE both your sites and I hope you have a great time at BlogHER!! The flower box is wonderful! I have a large brick flower box and it is sadly empty…I just never got around to filling it!

  12. Great tips! I want to head outside and get to work, but I'll wait until the temps are below 100. Maybe September!

  13. My house just caught a glimpse of the beautiful pictures of Shelly's house, and now my house is all jealous and sad πŸ˜‰ I'm going to head over and check out Shelly's blog, it looks fabulous!


  14. kristincita says:

    As a fire captain's wife I have to make a cautionary comment about mulch. Every year there are hundreds of mulch fires and the proximity to homes make them a real hazard. If not caught early the fire spreads from the mulch to the shrubs and to the home. High temperatures, lack of rainfall, bright sun exposure and wind can all contribute. It is recommended that you leave 18 inches between mulch beds and homes. This area could have crushed stone or another material that encourages drainage and discourages fire from spreading. Look at your mulch daily and if it looks dry, wet it down. Another alternative is cocoa beans which as a non-wood material, does not have the same burn hazard as wood bark mulch. Something to consider.

  15. I'm a Shelley fan too. πŸ˜‰

    Excellent tips Shelley! I feel like going outside and getting to work lol. You're right…simple changes make a big difference. Thank you.

  16. House of Smiths says:

    I LOVE YOU JEN!!!! :)

  17. Two Shades of Pink says:

    I totally stalk her blog! She is absolutely adorable and always makes me laugh! And her style amazes me always…everything turns out stunning! Loved this post!