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by Debbie Rodgers
As with every other decorating style, Mexican décor has its own basic elements.
• The predominant color in the sunny Mexican look is yellow -- bright, cheery and warm. If you're lucky enough to be working with an outdoor space that abuts a stucco house exterior, consider painting the stucco yellow or soft terracotta. Otherwise, fashion walls for your space from a fence, a screen or a trellis painted an uplifting sunny hue.
• Accent the yellow with bright blue or vivid turquoise. Shades of terracotta, red, orange and bright pink are also popular.
• Furniture made of heavy wood looks most authentic in Mexican style decorating. Small rough-hewn side tables are suitable. If you can't get heavy wooden furnishing, paint simple wooden folding chairs bright yellow and blue.
• Alternatively, use wrought iron or hammered metal furniture. The Mexican influence of these materials can be also be used in gate hinges or accessories such as candlesticks.
• Mexico is justly famous for its beautiful tiles -- either unfinished terracotta or those with bold glazed patterns of flowers or other objects in shades of yellow, blue and red.
• Consider clay floor tiles to give a concrete slab patio a fresh new look. If tiling is not in your budget, get creative with paint as we did on this city balcony. http://www.paradiseporch.com/before_after.php
• If you're serious about the Mexican look, tile the roof of your outdoor space with red clay tiles.
• Use brightly colored tiles on a table or a tray. Carry the terracotta theme with clay plant pots.
• Roughly woven natural fibers, such a cotton tablecloths or woven rope chair seats, work best in this decorating scheme.
• Use a brightly colored wool serape as a scatter mat, throw, or "wall" hanging.
• This is the perfect setting for a rope hammock for that afternoon siesta.
• Use striped fabric in primary colors for cushion covers.
• Accessorize your Mexican-styled space with wrought iron candlesticks or grille work.
• Fish and bird motifs (such as roosters or parrots) are good, especially if made of clay or tile.
• Carry the bright colors into the plantings in your space. Nasturtiums are ideal for hanging baskets or the lattice you've installed. If you're growing zucchini or other squash, consider planting them near the patio, so that the blossoms add to your atmosphere.
• If you want to get away from the yellow in your flowers, use bougainvillaea, pastel poppies or broadleaf greenery such as yucca plants.
• Heap a rope basket with apricots, guavas or pears. Alternatively, you can make oversized paper mâché replicas or paint wooden yard-sale fruits.
Try a few of these ideas and before you know it, you'll be sipping margueritas and crunching tortillas in your very own Mexican courtyard.
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