20 Dreamy Outdoor Spaces That Make the Case for Dining Al Fresco

CALIMIA HOME

CALIMIA HOME

There's something undeniably dreamy about outdoor dining areas. The words themselves conjure up images of sidewalk cafés, rooftop bars in major cities, and boardwalk restaurants overlooking the ocean—but if you're lucky enough to have an outdoor space of your own, you don't have to head out on vacation to enjoy a delicious meal al fresco. All you need is a table, chairs, and the company of your friends and family.

If you want to take things up a notch, there are plenty of design choices that can turn a simple patio outside of the dining room into a truly dreamy space: one that (dare we say it?) can rival even the most beautiful garden restaurants in the world.

Transform your backyard with outside dining area ideas designed by the best.

01 of 20

Build-in Bench Seating

PHOTO: TIM MELIDEO; DESIGN: MY STUDIO ID

PHOTO: TIM MELIDEO; DESIGN: MY STUDIO ID

The owners of this home in the California desert took advantage of the built-in bench and used it as the basis for their outdoor dining area. A rustic wood table, set of vintage-looking chairs, and plenty of black-and-white pillows complete the space. Soft clay tones on the walls of the home's exterior bring plenty of natural Western vibes to the overall design.

02 of 20

Get Moody in Matte Black

PHOTO: AMY BARTLAM; DESIGN: D.L. RHEIN

PHOTO: AMY BARTLAM; DESIGN: D.L. RHEIN

The matte black siding on this Pasadena home is stunning on its own, but carrying the look throughout the entire space makes the impact so much stronger. Not only are the French doors painted black, but the simple matte black chairs echo the look as well. Paired with elements like the wood table and exposed brick, the outdoor space feels modern with a touch of rustic personality.

03 of 20

Find Natural Shade

KATIE HODGES DESIGN

KATIE HODGES DESIGN

This neutral-colored space is especially welcoming thanks to its plush seating and overhanging leaves. Tree branches were trained to grow up the pergola, adding a boost of natural shade to the area to keep the design one with its landscape. Paired with woven accents and a large outdoor fireplace, this patio furniture is perfect for gathering around with your favorite guests.

For an extra impact to the natural leaves shading your outdoor dining area, string solar lights from the branches to make the space glow at night.

04 of 20

Use Plenty of Layers

BESPOKE ONLY

BESPOKE ONLY

Layers upon layers of decorative accents—outdoor rugs, string lights, patterned seating—make this dining space feel intentional and inviting. You might not be able to leave all of your décor with softer materials outside in bad weather, but it's a great setup for a dinner party. Choose mostly outdoor options like waterproof cushions and curtains for a no-effort design that's ready for guests anytime.

05 of 20

Be Bright and Modern

PHOTO: AMY BARTLAM; DESIGN: SQUAREFOOT DESIGN

PHOTO: AMY BARTLAM; DESIGN: SQUAREFOOT DESIGN

The sun-drenched yard at this home leaves just enough shade to cool off at the outdoor dining table. The home's white exterior contrasts wonderfully with its dark dining area accents and window trim, while potted plants and natural textures add life to the space. This backyard keeps it simple and sleek using modern touches and minimal décor for a clean finish.

06 of 20

Color-Block to the Max

DAZEY DEN

DAZEY DEN

This outdoor patio décor uses color to the max: Bright orange accents paint the space and draw attention throughout the yard. The half-white floor paint adds a geometric accent to complement the table's decorative planters, and green dining chairs contrast the warmer hues of the space.

07 of 20

Try a Mix of Styles

ALLMODERN

ALLMODERN

Shay Mitchell's outdoor dining space is a masterclass in mixing styles. The designer paired a rustic wood table with Acapulco dining chairs, glam succulent holders, and Boho-inspired cushions. This space feels tucked away as a private oasis, perfect for entertaining guests or relaxing on a summer night.

08 of 20

Relax With Poolside Dining

PHOTO: STEPHEN BUSKEN

PHOTO: STEPHEN BUSKEN ; DESIGN: STUDIO LIFE.STYLE ; ARCHITECT: ANTHONY ECKELBERRY ; STYLING: BRADY TOLBERT

There's so much to love about this outdoor space in West Hollywood: the pool, the arches, the greenery, the tiled walkway (we could go on and on). But the poolside dining area is nothing to look past. The table itself is simple, and the stylish chairs with tabletop décor add plenty of aesthetic appeal.

09 of 20

Be Party-Ready

DAZEY DEN

DAZEY DEN

An array of colors throughout this seating area turn this backyard into a welcoming retreat for a party. Dangling lanterns and outdoor curtains add to the dreamy ambiance, while bright orange chairs around the fire pit add a burst of character. The accent color is drawn over to the pergola with bright, vibrant throw pillows, and a white table makes space for summer treats when dining outside.

Outdoor curtains aren't just attractive, they're also functional: Choose a heavy waterproof material to close off your seating area when it rains, and enjoy party-ready furniture no matter the weather.

10 of 20

Take Cover

RIKKI SNYDER

RIKKI SNYDER

This open-air dining area may be covered, but it's still outside for plenty of fresh air with the windows open. A mix of patterns in two different rugs brings a lived-in feel to the space. Styled with an antique chandelier and plenty of rustic elements, the dining table serves as a focal point in the unique design.

11 of 20

Soothe With Neutral Hues

PHOTO: DONNA DOTAN

PHOTO: DONNA DOTAN; ARCHITECTURE & DESIGN: WORKSHOP APD

Although there are several distinct areas in this New York yard, the gray, white, and navy color palette keeps everything connected and cohesive. The outdoor pouf could also be pulled up to the dining table for entertaining extra guests. This sleek, modern design feels relaxed with plenty of lush plants and comfortable seating.

12 of 20

Choose Your Theme

DAZEY DEN

DAZEY DEN

For a bold statement, choose a strong color and use it as your theme. This rooftop dining area is pretty in pink from the walls to the outdoor seating (and even the trellis). Mix-matched chairs add a variety of hues to the overall design, while plants in orange terracotta pots bring vibrance to the bright style with contrasting colors.

13 of 20

Make a Green Oasis

AMY BARTLAM; DESIGN: DENHAM INTERIOR DESIGN

PHOTO: AMY BARTLAM; DESIGN:  DENHAM INTERIOR DESIGN

This table for four is tucked away in the backyard of this Spanish-style home in Los Angeles. Surrounded by potted greenery, the dining area has an almost dreamlike quality. Tall outdoor plants add plenty of privacy to the patio while giving the area a nature-inspired flair.

14 of 20

Create Multiple Dining Spaces

JESSICA NELSON DESIGN

JESSICA NELSON DESIGN

On this inviting wraparound front porch, multiple seating areas are styled to make room for plenty of guests. Take a seat at the table for two when enjoying your morning coffee on the porch, or plan a dinner party to take advantage of the home's beautiful outdoor dining table. Neutral colors are used across both areas for a cohesive look that blends with nature.

15 of 20

Go Bold With Texture

CALIMIA HOME

CALIMIA HOME

While these beautiful woven pendant lights are sure to catch your eye at first glance, look to the floor and ceiling to find pops of texture all around this porch. Painted wood floors are paired with shiplap ceilings to extend the pattern from end to end, while a farmhouse dining table makes room for dinner parties anytime. Running planks down the length of the porch also makes the space feel larger, painted in a bright white tone to reflect natural light.

16 of 20

Rock Your Seating

BECCA INTERIORS

BECCA INTERIORS

This traditional seating area brings out Southern traditional vibes, but with a creative flair: Rocking chairs are used in place of standard dining seating, which allows each guest to relax in style and get comfortable. Ivory hues coat the porch from floor to ceiling, using neutral shades along the trim and on the furniture to keep it fresh and inviting.

17 of 20

Burst With Color

RIKKI SNYDER

RIKKI SNYDER

This earthy and inviting porch doesn't feature a traditional dining table, but instead uses a mix of seating for a unique finish. Two yellow armchairs are styled across from the woven seat, with an antique chest serving as the coffee table for drinks and meals. Bright green exterior paint brings plenty of personality to this space, contrasted by its warmer accents from the seating to the orange desk.

18 of 20

Make Room for Guests

RIKKI SNYDER

RIKKI SNYDER

This backyard is packed to the brim with seating areas, but it still feels completely cohesive. Behind the classic table setup is a conversation pit with matching sofa cushions to fit a large number of guests comfortably. Two lounge chairs add to the airy vibe with boho seating and natural wood frames, and a lush plant with white flowers carries the light colors throughout the area.

19 of 20

Take It to the Edge

MAITE GRANDA

MAITE GRANDA

At this residence in Key Largo, the closer we can be to the water, the better. This outdoor seating area transports us to the ocean, as it's set up at the edge of the property to sit alongside the boat lift. Relaxing waves, breezy flowers, and sandy ground keep this space feeling perfectly airy in its natural setting.

20 of 20

Turn Small Into Mighty

RIKKI SNYDER

RIKKI SNYDER

The circular tables on this back porch may be on the small side, but they're styled to make plenty of space for cushy seating. Each guest gets their own personal surface for snacks, drinks, and backyard barbecue dishes to enjoy the space in style. Warm and cool tones play back and forth on each other as the blue designs in the tables complement the summery throw pillow patterns.

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