One of the best things about summer is just how much more space you have. While you may be stuck to your house's square footage during the depths of winter, the warm temperatures allow you to take advantage of the square footage outside of your home. Whether you have a small patio or an expansive backyard, spending some time nailing your outdoor décor can help to create so much more living space.
If you're starting from scratch, we have you covered. We talked to a handful of designers to get their ideas for revamping your outdoor décor and creating an inviting, livable space you can enjoy for as long as Mother Nature allows.
Read on for some of our favorite ideas to upgrade your outdoors this year.
Create a Second Living Room
Sure, your indoor living room is probably lovely, but imagine relaxing after a hard day's work under the stars instead. Robbie Maynard, an interior designer with Robbie Interiors, says to think of your patio "like another family room—the difference being the furniture needs to be durable enough to resist the elements."
Decorate your space as you would your interior, just consider Mother Nature when you do.
Sprinkle in Plants
Another tip from Maynard is to bring in as many living things as you can. "A colorful array of potted and flowering plants, in a variety of containers, are sure to create a pretty focal point," she says.
Opt for outdoor plants that can survive all summer long or even bring your indoor houseplants outside for the season.
Add a Fire Pit
One of the easiest ways to upgrade any outdoor space? A fire pit, Maynard says. "They can be built-in, but free-standing fire tables are another option," she says. "Just be sure to select one that conceals the propane tank inside."
Though you can always DIY your firepit, you can find a variety of options at your local hardware store as well.
Consider the Surroundings
If you have a beautiful natural setting, work with it instead of competing. Keep your outdoor décor neutral and subtle to allow the focus to stay on the beautiful nature surrounding you.
Create a Garden
If you're an urban dweller, you may not have room for a proper garden. To compensate, Kelly Martin, the principal of Kelly Martin Interiors, created a raised garden box with planks of wood.
"I love the modern look of black ground cover, so we used lava rocks over the soil which also help retain moisture in the warmer months," she says.
Make it Cozy
A beautiful outdoor setting is only as good as its function. Make sure to focus on both form and function when setting up your outdoor space. Choose furniture that is aesthetically pleasing but comfortable as well so you can use your outdoor space as much as you enjoy looking at it.
Add Multiple Areas
If you're lucky enough to have a large patio or deck, carve it up into separate areas. Create a dining space, a bar space, and a lounge space so you can dine al fresco before settling into a book without leaving the outdoors.
Focus on Airy Colors
When it comes to picking a color palette for your outdoor space, pick hues that make you happy. We love airy, cool blues and greens or bold and bright neons. Be sure to consider the landscaping and natural plants in your yard so you can incorporate those colors into your space.
Focus on the Table
If outdoor real estate is a consideration, think how you will use your outdoor space the most and focus on that first. If you think you'll spend most summer evenings dining al fresco, splurge on a great dining table that will last for years to come. If lounging is your thing, focus on the outdoor couch or chairs.
Feature a Rug
Ariel Richardson, interior designer and founder of ASR Design Studio, considers outdoor rugs a "staple piece" when it comes to setting up your backyard.
"Make sure that your rug is neutral to be able to have fun with your accent pieces," she says. "We chose this beautiful sleek geometric print rug that can easily pair with a variety of decor styles."
Make Room for Lounging
Focus on comfort when designing your dream outdoor lounge space. Not only will throw pillows add a bit of softness to a chair or couch, but they can also revamp an outdoor look instantly.
"Have fun by mixing it up and throwing in some fun patterns and colors that can be changed easily for any occasion," Richardson says. Throw pillows and blankets are an easy way to makeover your patio without a lot of effort.
Build a Fireplace
If you want to extend the life of your outdoor space, consider building an outdoor fireplace. Fernando Wong of Fernando Wong Outdoor Living Design loves adding in warmth saying "for our clients in markets with all four seasons, layering in heat sources will help keep the space cozy when cold weather sets in."
Not only is this a practical upgrade, but it's a beautiful one too.
Focus on Indoor-Outdoor Spaces
When designing your outdoor space, don't think of it as a totally separate room from your interior.
"I love blurring the lines between their indoor and outdoor spaces—and the advancements in outdoor textiles and furniture are making it easier than ever," Wong says. "A simple detail like using the same textiles indoors and out creates a visual connection and flow between the two spaces."
Add a Bar
If you haven't considering setting up a bar or a bar cart outside, let this be your sign. Create the perfect space for cocktails by carving out a corner of a patio or a deck for your own personal tiki bar.
Create a Jungle-Like Escape
When it comes to outdoor décor, work with what you have—and what you have is nature.
"A variety of planters, styles, sizes and shapes will add interest and depth to your space," Richardson says. She recommends looking for low-maintenance outdoor plants that will thrive all summer long.
Consider outdoor blooms that you can bring indoors when the season ends, especially if you live in a cold climate.
Don't Skimp on Ambiance
"Set the mood further with lighting. Hang up string lighting and surrounding yourself with lanterns and candles," Richardson suggests. There's nothing better than the warm glow of a cafe light or a citronella candle as the sun sets on a July night.
Create Multiple Seating Areas
Shannon Eddings of Shannon Eddings Interiors suggests creating multiple lounge areas, even if you have a small space.
"Establish multiple seating areas and don't skimp on comfort," she says. "Make sure that each nook and cranny has a comfortable option to lounge in. Multiple seating areas also allow for ample space when hosting parties."
Add Wall Art
Don't forget to treat your outdoor walls as you would indoors and give them some love. "A mirror over a garden table can make your backyard suddenly feel homey and warm and more of an extension of the interior," Eddings says. The right outdoor wall art can transform a small patio or a large porch.
Focus on Landscaping
A wonderfully decorated patio or deck can be instantly ruined by terrible landscaping. Spend some time sprucing up your yard and garden beds to create a lush, vibrant space you will want to spend time in.
Don't have a green thumb? Don't be afraid to hire it out or look for low-maintenance shrubs and plants.
Add Pops of Color
Even if you opt for a neutral outdoor space, don't be afraid to play with color. Bold greens work wonderfully in an outdoor space because they tie the indoors with the outside.