Live.Laugh.Design. Lets Talk Patios

An outdoor patio should be decorated and styled with the same process you would furnish any room in your home.

Follow these 5 steps and you will be relaxing in your gorgeous new space in no time!

1. How will you use the space:
Do you picture yourself dining, lounging, playing or gardening on your patio? The size of your patio may eliminate one or more of these uses, but determine your wish list and you can always remove uses as you work through furniture options.

Small patio:

2. Furniture:
The size of your furniture is important. A small space requires slim, smaller-scaled furniture. Additionally, many modern outdoor furniture options can be dual purpose – end tables with an umbrella holder or hidden cooler, coffee tables with storage solutions. Well-thought-out furniture ensures you are utilizing every nook and cranny.

Lounging –
If you wish to use your space for outdoor lounging, take advantage of the outside edges by placing furniture along two sides of your patio. Benches (even better if they offer additional storage) or a small sectional will provide you with the most usable space. If a sectional or bench seating isn’t your thing, a couple of outdoor chairs will give your space a more intimate feel.

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TIP: A small outdoor dining table or tall side table can be easily pulled over to your benches, sectional, or chairs when needed for dining. *Note the teal triangles highlighting the vertical triangles we discussed in our Let’s Talk Shelves blog. 

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Dining –
Even a small patio can be a great outdoor dining space. The outside edge tip applies here as well. You can push a small rectangle or square table along one wall if you space allows you and guests enough room to move around the table and pull in and out chairs with ease. If not, a small round table may be best. Putting your chairs on the diagonal of the patio will allow for the most space to pull chairs in and out.

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Large patio:

2. Furniture:

If you are lucky enough to have a large patio, have at it! Just like a room in your home, if the space is large, make sure the furniture size and amount of pieces fits the space. A large patio with minimal or smaller scaled furniture will feel off, just like it would in your home. If the space allows, get large sofas or chairs. Scale is always important.

If you like to entertain, think about seating. One of my favorite outdoor additions is a great pouf or ottoman that can serve as either a foot stool, table or additional seating. This is not only great for big spaces, but for small spaces as well.

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Large space, large table and chairs. The options for outdoor dining are endless. There are some great dual purpose dining tables that also serve as fire pits for those evenings outdoors. If you need some additional sun cover, make sure you are purchasing a table with an umbrella holder or a free standing umbrella. It’s hard to enjoy an outdoor space without shade.

3. Rugs:
A rug can transform your outdoor space from lack luster to fabulous. If you have a large patio space, outdoor rugs help you define space. There are so many outdoor rug options – any style, color or size is readily available.

The same rug rules you would use indoors, applies outdoors. Size is important.

A good rule of thumb for lounging furniture is your rug should be large enough that the front leg of each furniture piece should be on the rug, but small enough that the furniture back legs are off the rug. For a dining space, the rug should be large enough that you have about 24” of additional space for all the chairs when they are pushed into the table so that when they are pulled out, they remain on the rug.

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Outdoor rug care is important. Storing your rugs indoors during colder months will ensure longevity and will help to eliminate mold and mildew. Additionally, regularly rotating your outdoor rug can help with uneven sun fading.

4. Planters:
You cannot have a great outdoor space without some great outdoor planters. Big or small, one of the best parts about the great outdoors are plants and flowers.

For a smaller space, there are many options for vertical gardens, to both build and buy. You can grow herbs, spices and veggies or plant flowers for a great pop of color. Again, there are many dual purpose planters available. If you are on a balcony or have fencing, a railing planter can be an ideal use of space.

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For large spaces, there are pots of all shapes and sizes. Depending on the space, you may have options for herb gardens, vegetable gardens and flowers.

When grouping pots, the vertical triangle rule applies. If you are not sure what a vertical triangle is, check out our Lets Talk Shelves blog where we dive into all things vertical triangles.

Don’t have a green thumb? No problem, artificial plants can be a great solution. Get the look without the work.

5. Decor:
Throw pillows make a space feel warm and inviting. And if you haven’t already been browsing, you will be shocked at what they are doing with outdoor throw pillows these days. Long gone are those stiff square outdoor pillows.

Outdoor pillows are a great way to add some additional pops of color to your space. Toss them on sofas or even your dining table chairs. Just remember, like an outdoor rug, these will require some additional care. Store them indoors during the colder months to help with mold and mildew. Flipping pillows from side to side, will also help with that dreaded uneven sun fading.

Lanterns, candles, trays and wall art – all help to make a space feel like an extension of your indoor space. Using decor that is metal, porcelain, wicker/rattan, wood or glass is important for longevity when it comes to outdoor use.

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Outdoor candles are great, but if you opt to use real wax candles, make sure you bring them inside after use. This also goes for flameless candles as well. Many are coated in thin wax exterior to give them a realistic look, however, one hot day and you will have a melted flameless wax mess on your hands. Look for plastic flameless candles that are wax free.

Live well. Laugh often. Decorate like a pro.

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