How to Decorate Your Outdoor Space (And One Design Rule I Like to Break!)

Old Brand New's Patio Makeover

via Old Brand New

With Memorial Day weekend behind us, it's time to officially welcome the summer season! We've had a finicky spring (at least here in Philadelphia), and I'm excited for some consistent warm weather - how about you?

In my mind, summer means spending as much time as possible outside, and I start dreaming about outdoor spaces that are beautiful, inviting, and comfortable. I love the idea of making your outdoor space - whether it's a small apartment balcony or a sprawling backyard - into a spot that you'll want to live in all season long. Right now, we live in a row house with a front porch that we use as often as possible this time of year - it might be small in size, but it's such an asset to have even a little bit of outdoor space in the city!

As I’ve worked with folks on their outdoor spaces, a common theme I've been hearing more and more is that they want them feel and look like their indoor spaces. They're looking for features like comfortable seating, space to lounge, and a true dining area, and I can understand why! What’s the point of having outdoor space if you can’t use it, or if it's not set up well? :)

Think of your outdoor area as an extension of your home - another room, if you will, and let that be a guide as you choose pieces for it.

So how do you go about choosing outdoor furniture and accessories?

When it comes to picking out patio furniture, I actually make an exception to my usual rule of never buying furniture in sets. (Gasp!) For outdoor spaces, it’s totally acceptable to buy a furniture set as long as you incorporate a few items that visually break things up like some great pillows, an accent chair or two, fun planters, or an outdoor rug. For example, if you pick up an all-weather wicker seating set that includes a sofa, loveseat, and chair, choose a non-matching coffee table to go with it.

Studio McGee did just that in a recent patio makeover, and it looks beautiful and well thought out:

Red Ledges Patio designed by Studio McGee. 

via Studio McGee

Outdoor furniture sets actually have the effect of making a space feel more cohesive and put together since outdoor environments are often a little more "wild" than a typical interior room. By “wild,” I mean that outdoor living or dining spaces are often surrounded by more organic elements like trees and plants that can have minds of their own when it comes to their look or how they evolve over time. You tend to have less control over them. Matching sets can have a unifying and organizing effect on an outdoor space. That being said, you can most definitely mix and match pieces as well!

Take this example from Emily Henderson's recent outdoor patio makeover. She treated this space just like an indoor dining area and chose each piece individually to create a beautiful spot to gather for meals.

Emily Henderson's outdoor dining area in her California home.

via Emily Henderson

Even if you have a tiny balcony off of your apartment, adding a chair or a small dining set will entice you to spend more time out there. When we lived in Washington, D.C., that was our exact situation, and as soon as we put two rattan chairs out on our balcony, we spent a lot more time out there! Doing that helped us enjoy our little 600 square foot apartment even more than we already did.

Check out this small balcony from the Everygirl's co-founder, Danielle Moss - she really took advantage of the available space, and made it into a cozy lounge area.

Danielle Moss's (The Everygirl) outdoor patio space.

via The Everygirl

Whether your space is big or small, don't miss out on a chance to create a gathering area for friends and family, a dining area made for hosting, or a simple place to relax and catch up on a great book (or nap!).

Where to find outdoor furniture:

There is SO much great outdoor furniture and decor out there these days at all price points. My current favorites are at Target, CB2 (they're having a 25% off sale right now!), and West Elm. If you’re in the market, here are a few pieces to get you started on your search:

All-Weather Wicker Globalist Lounge Chair from West Elm

All-weather wicker Globalist Lounge chair from West Elm

Portside Sofa from West Elm

Portside Sofa from West Elm

Ebb Outdoor Sectional from CB2 (great for smaller spaces!)

Ebb Outdoor Sectional

Kronos Planters from CB2

Kronos Planters from CB2
Carag 3 Piece Sling Rope Chat Set from Target

Carmack Dining Set from Target

Carmack Dining Set from Target (Threshold)

I hope those pieces point you in the right direction! 

Are you planning a patio makeover? Creating an outdoor living room? Feeling a little lost? I’d be happy to help! Contact me, and we can chat about creating a new space for you using my e-design service!

*Affiliate links were used in this post, which means I earn a small commission (at no cost to you!) if you purchase through one of these links. Thanks for supporting Mix & Match in this way!



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