TOM: Making good homes better. This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: Well, with Memorial Day almost here it’s a great time to update or redesign your outdoor living area.
LESLIE: That’s right. Hila Roberts is the outdoor patio expert at the Home Depot and she’s here with the trends and tips to make sure your space is looking good this weekend and throughout the rest of the year. Welcome Hila.
HILA: Thank you so much for having me.
TOM: We call it outdoor living, but I guess what we’re really talking about here is taking the living room outside, complete with couches, chairs and a fireplace. My buddy has a outdoor TV, so electronics can be included as well, right?
HILA: You’re exactly right. What we found is that when our customers and anyone who’s decided to put a patio set out in their backyard, they basically said, “I’m going to create an outdoor room and I’m going to decorate it just like I would my living room.” When you put a sofa and a love seat in your living room, you’re not just sticking a sofa and love seat there, you’ve got rugs, you got lamps, you’ve got TV’s. Well, they’re doing with the same thing outdoors and Home Depot is your one-stop-shop for everything you need, whether it’s a seating set, a dining set, umbrellas, lights. We have everything you could possibly need to really create that outdoor room and make it an extension, not only of your home, but of yourself.
TOM: Well, I can vouch for that because I’ve been to your spring preview and you do have an amazing assortment of products that can make that space look fantastic, but before we go there, when we talk about couches and chairs, of course people think, “Well, how can I put that stuff outside? Is it gonna get wet?” Can you talk a little bit about the durability of those products and how it changes from what you might see inside your house?
HILA: Oh, great question. You definitely want to use different fabrics when you move from obviously the inside of your home to the outside of your home. Then it really depends on how much you want to maintain it. For example, you can use an olefin fabric, which is a great outdoor fabric, won’t fade for up to two years. You’ll probably want to store it when it rains, as it will get wet. But then what I always recommend to folks, I think this gives you the most bang for your buck, would be to use a Sunbrella fabric. Sunbrella is an acrylic. It actually has a five year warranty against fade resistance, and so over time … you can leave it outside in the hot sun or in the elements and really you won’t see any fade for at least five years. It’s just a great upgrade from a regular olefin, which is a great performer outside, but Sunbrella’s just the top performance fabric.
LESLIE: Hela, you have so many choices these days when it comes to outdoor design and designing exterior rooms, so what really are the trends that you’re seeing as far as color palettes and design styles? Where are people going with these designs?
HILA: Folks just always love color outside. But then also neutrals are starting to make a comeback. We’ve seen a lot of popularity outdoors in our reds, so both a deeper traditional chili, as well as a really bright ruby, which appeals not only to your more traditional customer, but even to our millennials. We’ve brought that in, in a couple of ways, both in our cushions, as well as in our mix and match program. Then when it comes to neutrals, we’ve seen a lot of … popularity in, whether it’s a saddle color, which is more of a brown or an oatmeal, which is just a lighter natural. Then customers have bought accent pillows to offset those … to add those pops of colors against the neutrals. Again, it’s really about personalizing and what you’d like to see outdoors, but it’s a fun way, whether it’s just through the cushion itself or through an accent pillow to kind of bring that color to the outdoors.
TOM: We’re talking to HILA. She is the outdoor patio expert for the Home Depot and I guess it really just comes down to mixing and matching from these different lines because it sounds like you really can’t go wrong.
HILA: That’s exactly right. We have a couple programs that allow customers to really personalize their patio. You never want to look like the guy or gal next door. We’ve got a program we’ve call actually mix and match … in store. There are 15 chairs and 14 tables that make over 100 combinations of seating and dining. There is something for everyone, to match your space, your style, and your budget. What we’ve done here is we’ve taken the frames of all these chairs and tables and made a match. You don’t have to be a designer to create a set for yourself. All you do is say, “What chair do I like and what table do I like? What fits my space?” We’ve got it for you. It ranges from as low as $79, to a seven piece set that can be as high as 398. That has taken off because of that personalization.
LESLIE: Now, as we move into the evening hours, I think lighting plays such a huge part in exterior design. There’s been so many advancements as far as the light quality and the design with LED lighting options. Can you talk about some of that?
HILA: Lights are a great way to extend the use of your patio set. If you’re going to spend the money, you want to use it not just during the day, but even at night. I know a lot of folks, myself included who like to have dinner outside or enjoy and relax outside after the kids have gone to bed. You can use some regular non LED lights that work great just because you’re using them seasonally. We have some great heavy duty string lights, as well as some round cafe lights that have been very popular this year. Then yes, the same upgrade you might see in Christmas lights or indoor lights, we have then brought into the LED world. We have a solar offset umbrella that absorbs the sun’s rays during the day and then at night lights up, so that you can enjoy an evening outdoors with some ambient light.
TOM: One final question. If you were in the living room, you might have a fireplace. Cheap fire pits are incredibly popular today. They’re not very expensive and they really create a focal point in that space, correct?
HILA: Oh, completely agree. Yes. Outdoor fire … whether you read the magazines or if you sit in my chair and you see how customers are reacting, has just been … very popular over the past 18 months. This is again, another way to extend the use of the patio, whether it’s in the evening when it cools down depending on where you live, or to enjoy it earlier in the spring or later into the fall. A couple of items I like, we have our Crossfire fire pit, which you can actually grill steak on during the day and make s’mores on at night. It has kind of a grill plate on it, which is really cool.
Then Tipton, which is a large bowl fire pit. It is 34 inches and very deep. We see that customer’s like kind of having that big area of fire to really kind of enjoy the heat, have it last longer. Then the last one I’m very excited about is the Crossridge. This is a gas fire pit with a table top for 199, which is an incredible value. It’s basically, you take the same tank you’d put on to your grill and there’s a door underneath this fire pit that you can screw that same propane tank. It’ll give you hours of enjoyment outside, both heat and light.
TOM: Fire table sounds very exciting. Hila Roberts, the outdoor patio expert from the Home Depot. Thank you so much for stopping by The Money Pit. Great tips, great trends, great advice.
HILA: Thank you.
LESLIE: You are listening to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Give us a call now at, 888-moneypit.