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Five simple steps to a more stylish outdoor living space

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Updated: 11/08/2013 10:21 am

(BPT) - It's not too late in the season to create your dream deck - or to give your existing outdoor living space a fresh new look. Design a backyard retreat that's ideal for entertaining family and friends as the weather grows more temperate with a few tips from the experts.

1. Make the most of your space. Think about the types of activities you'll enjoy on your deck and use fashionable, weather-resistant furnishings to establish spots for socializing, dining or simply relaxing. Create a cozy conversation nook underneath a pergola or trellis by facing sofas together or bringing in comfy club chairs accompanied by upholstered ottomans.

'If you have a pool, set up a spa-like area with chaise lounges and side tables on which to place refreshments,' says Vanessa De Vargas, designer and one of the faces of Trex's Engineered Artistry campaign. 'For backyard barbecues or evening cocktail parties, add food and drink stations and portable bars or serving carts.'

2. Choose materials that offer long-lasting good looks. High-performance, wood-alternative decking like Trex combines enduring beauty and durability thanks to its signature protective shell. Resistant to fading, staining, scratching and mold growth - even after several years of spills, splashes and other outdoor entertaining mishaps - Trex requires only an occasional soap and water cleaning. No sanding, staining or painting necessary.

'When creating an outdoor living space that's a natural extension of your home and your style, it's important to start with materials that offer both hassle-free maintenance and incredible design flexibility,' says De Vargas. 'Today's composite decking boasts high-definition wood grain patterns and a full palette of rich, saturated colors inspired by nature.'

3. Accent with color. Adding 'pops' of color is one of the easiest - and most cost-efficient - ways to spruce up a new or existing outdoor living space. Small items like multi-hued pillows, blankets, candleholders and glassware can all make a big visual impact. According to De Vargas, brightly-colored accessories look especially appealing when contrasted with outdoor furnishings in natural or cream shades. These fun pieces may be switched out each year as color trends evolve - allowing you to constantly refresh the look of your deck.

4. Frame it up. The railing is a sure way to upgrade any deck from drab to fab - adding style, as well as safety and support. For instance, with its sleek and unobtrusive appearance, Trex Reveal Aluminum Railing maximizes scenic views by spanning long lengths for panoramic sightlines. Enhance the beauty of your railing and set the mood for alfresco dinners with LED dimmable deck lighting that will extend the time you can spend outdoors.

5. Create a focal point. If you want to add some drama to your deck, consider incorporating an element like a fireplace, fire pit - or even a large screen television - that will capture attention and serve as a natural spot for guests to gather.

'Fountains and waterfalls not only look appealing, but they create a very soothing atmosphere that draws people in for relaxation,' says De Vargas. 'Sculptural pieces in copper, metal and different textures also catch the eye and turn your outdoor living space into a work of art.'

For more inspiration to create a stylish outdoor living space - or additional design tips from Vanessa De Vargas - visit www.trex.com.

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