29/04/2014 06:58 BST | Updated 25/06/2014 06:59 BST

Turning A Yard Yawn Into A Party Patio In Five Easy Steps

Here it is, our finished and totally transformed external space! My HomeSense & Huffington Post challenge was to turn a dark, dingy Yard Yawn to an exciting, vibrant Party Patio during the course of a sunny Spring afternoon and it's now somewhere that the young couple who live there, Helen and Ben, can relax in, have fun and enjoy with friends.

The five steps taken - Inspiration, Colour, Personalisation, Practicality and Dressing Up - meant nothing was forgotten and a clear design brief was followed throughout the process, from design through shopping to implementation in the space.

I started off by blitzing the yard with a brush, a jet wash and some brilliant white paint, creating a clean and bright canvas to work with. it's amazing how a bit of elbow grease and enthusiasm can get a project started.

Taking inspiration from one of the beautiful bedrooms in the apartment, I wanted to keep the yard feeling warm by not painting all the walls white but picking out some individual bricks for visual interest. Purple and lavender gave rich colour and depth, with nickel and silver adding a contemporary vibe.

This design scheme scheme was a doddle touring to life down at my local HomeSense store, which is like an Aladdin's Cave of treasure for shoppers like me eager for affordable pieces, unusual finds and stylish touches. I love the fact that what you see one day might not be there the next, it's a sure fire way to crystallise your thinking and sharpen decisions. They say when it's gone, it's gone, I say you snooze, you lose.

Everything worked perfectly together: the white ironwork table & chairs against the dark slate flooring, with cream and lavender plates, a tall drinks jug and scented candle; the pale green fretwork bird shelf which I personalised with a light dusting of nickel spray; the tall galvanised plant holder; the white windowed pillar candle holder; all created the fresh party look I wanted and made me a very happy designer!

The only thing I didn't do from the initial plan was make a copper ladder as I'd opted for galvanised silver highlights instead, but we all know it's a woman's designer's prerogative to change her mind.

Top Tips From The Day

  • Clear & clean the space you're working on properly to allow you to really *see* it
  • Decide on a colour palette and stick to it for a cohesive and thought out look, no matter how tempted you are by random finds
  • Try personalising or customising individual items to make them unique to you
  • Hang shelves and brackets in small gardens to add height, depth and interest
  • Use lighting and candles to draw the eye to unexpected places

I hope you've taken lots of inspiration from our Yard Yawn to Party Patio makeover, tweet my @Moregeous if you have any questions or need any design advice. Or, if you're in the Manchester area next week, do pop into the HomeSense store at the Trafford Centre Barton Square on Wednesday April 30th from 1pm - 3pm as we'll be holding a fun Interior Design and Home advice clinic x