'Stripes, shade, and a spot to set your drink' – this is how to create a 'resort-like feel in your own backyard', according to Shea McGee

Designer Shea McGee just shared the secret formula for an outdoor lounge space, just in time for a pre-summer patio refresh

(Image credit: Target, Threshold designed by Studio McGee)

It's finally the season for a patio refresh, and Shea McGee has all the tips you need to make your outdoor space feel like a five-star resort. In a recent YouTube video, the interior designer shared her secret recipe for an outdoor lounge space that'll see you through a long, sunny summer – and the formula is simpler than you might think.

With just 'stripes, shade, and a place to set your drink,' Shea says you'll be all set for whatever summer brings your way. Add in some chic pieces from McGee & Co. too, and you've got a calming, cozy patio design that rivals your indoor spaces. These are all the patio ideas Shea recommends for a standout, sun-soaked spot outside.

How to assemble a 'resort-like' lounge space in your very own yard

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Using products from her homeware brand McGee & Co., Shea's assembled a drool-worthy outdoor lounge setup that's practically begging for warm weather. And lucky for us, she's taken us through the whole thing, sharing what makes the space so successful. Starting with the 'place to set your drink' part of the equation, she shows off a white Braxton Outdoor Side Table that helps to ground the entire space.

'Concrete is often the go-to material when selecting side tables outdoors, and it is one of my favorite looks, but it can read a bit more modern. I think that doing the white accent table in this space that coordinates with the white on the loungers and the umbrella gives it more of a resort feel – to have that lighter, softer look and have all of the connection through the white tone,' says Shea.

Though decorating with stripes is suitable in just about any part of an outdoor design scheme, Shea brought the pattern in with bolster pillows from McGee & Co. Inspired by French mattress cushions, these pillows feature a muted yellow stripe, and look fabulous on wooden lounge chairs: 'And the stripe is a nice punch of color. It breaks up some of the typical pillow shapes you see, and we just take a lounge chair and we throw on a bolster, and it feels like you've been transported to your favorite resort,' she says.

Shea McGee
Shea McGee

Interior designer, Shea McGee founded her iconic design firm, Studio McGee, with her husband Syd in 2014. They later launched their e-commerce brand, McGee & Co, and starred in their very own Netflix show, Dream Home Makeover.

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Along with the umbrella, Shea's cracked the code for outdoor lounge success with three simple pieces, but she doesn't stop there. Saying she 'loves a good planter moment,' she turns to the small arrangement of potted plants that help to frame the space. And though vases and ceramic pots are well and good, Shea ups the design ante with planter baskets, keeping close to the colors of the great outdoors.

'In any outdoor space, there are a lot of planted flowers and shrubs, but you can break it up and add more interest to your outdoor living area by adding in a few pots. And in this case, we have baskets that are planters, and I love these because they have a really durable material, so they will last longer, and they're lined. A lot of times, planters that are baskets, you're actually having to create the liner yourself, but these are just ready to use,' she says in the video.

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'Even if you don't have room to do a full outdoor living room look, you can take advantage of small outdoor areas to create groupings for relaxing in the sun and having good conversation,' Shea says, pointing out McGee & Co.'s Triby Chair, which she says is 'easily [their] most popular outdoor chair.' She adds that a new gray finish was added recently to keep outdoor spaces looking interesting and versatile.

'I also like that gray transitions between modern and traditional really well, so against black, this could feel contemporary, or against a classic white home that has siding and brick, the gray would work just as well. And I use these everywhere. You can place them in a pair in your front yard, backyard, but you see they don't take up a lot of space. But they have a really nice lounge to them, so they are very comfortable for long stretches of time,' she says.

And while rugs are often overlooked in outdoor spaces, Shea says they're one of the first pieces she selects when assembling somewhere to lounge amongst nature. She says outdoor rugs help the look 'feel connected, and more like an indoor space.'

'I love a plaid or a stripe to set the foundation in an outdoor look because it feels classic and those are patterns that are an easy way to mix with other patterns. And there's no guesswork, you just know it always works. And you can see those colors are tied in throughout our other textiles,' she says. 'You can see every single textile throughout here has a different pattern, but it totally works, and I love that in outdoor spaces it gives you license to mix and match and go a little bolder with color.'

Use Shea's expert advice to give your patio the ultimate uplift, and you'll be lounging all through the hot summer months. With the perfect dose of pattern and her catchy recipe for the resort look in mind, your outdoor space will look better than ever.

Abby Wilson
Interior Design News Editor

I am an Interior Design News Editor at Homes & Gardens. Most recently, I worked with Better Homes & Gardens, where I wrote and edited content about home decor, gardening tips, food news, and more. Before that, I studied Journalism and English Literature at New York University. I’ve moved around quite a bit in the last several years, most recently making the trip to London, and love transforming each new space into a comfortable retreat that feels like home. When it comes to decor, I’m most drawn to unique vintage finds and calming colors.