The September Issue

12 Inspiring Outdoor Spaces You'll Want to Use All Year Long

Pool deck area

Sire Design

A good outdoor space is game-changing. It gives you a short escape from the routines and responsibilities of the indoor world, allowing you to reset, recharge, and just be. The best part is that you don't need a huge backyard or a scenic landscape (although that certainly doesn't hurt)—a small balcony can be just as transformative, as long as it's designed well.

The most inspiring outdoor spaces are ones that toe the line between being functional and aesthetically pleasing. They serve a purpose, whether that be for entertaining or relaxing, but they also look inviting. If you're searching for inspiration as you create your own outdoor space, read on for a few of our favorites that expertly combine purpose with style.

01 of 12

Divide and Conquer (with Plants)

breezeway

Turquoise and Tobacco

A front porch that seamlessly flows to the yard is an ideal way to achieve indoor-outdoor living. Instead of using a fence or railing, this home utilizes plants as a natural divider. Smart landscaping creates a gorgeous boundary line between the indoor and outdoor space, while hanging planters give some visual appeal as well as extra privacy.

02 of 12

Minimalist Oasis

breezeway

COTTAGE + SEA

Your outdoor space should be a place of zen, where you can sip coffee or unwind at the end of the day. This space keeps things simple with just the essentials: a chair, a plant or two, and functional yet stylish décor pieces that really set the scene. The result is a minimal masterpiece that's made for recharging.

03 of 12

Set the Tablescape

Patio with a table and chairs

Modern House Vibes

If you love to entertain, focus on making your tablescape as inviting as it can be. Take a cue from this space and combine practical elements, like weather-proof furniture, with warm accents like mismatched chairs, comfortable cushions, stylish lanterns, and a statement rug. Oh, and don't forget the all-important umbrella!

04 of 12

Take Your Living Room Outdoors

Outdoor patio

Black and Blooms

Think of your outdoor space as another room in your home, as expertly demonstrated in this backyard space. Consider everything from seating and lighting fixtures to cozy accents like rugs and throw blankets, and work with a color scheme to keep it all cohesive. Not only will it look great, but you'll get a true "bonus room" without adding any square footage to your home.

05 of 12

Stay Grounded

Outdoor patio with umbrella

LeClair Decor

If you're lucky enough to have a large outdoor space, choosing a focal point to build everything else around will help you feel a little less overwhelmed. This space revolves around a large fire pit, with every piece of furniture and décor complementing that one central piece. The result feels cohesive, purposeful, and totally functional.

06 of 12

A Room with a View

Outdoor seating next to a lake

Kimberley Seldon

When you have scenery that's this good, it pays to keep the view front and center. This space utilizes furniture and décor that doesn't compete with the surroundings, plus neutral colors that keep the focus on the natural landscape. Add some low cushions that keep the view uninterrupted, and you've got a space that feels like part of the outdoors.

07 of 12

Stick with What Works

Pool house with open concept

Karen B. Wolf Interiors

When deciding on colors and textures, take your cue from your surroundings. This indoor/outdoor space sticks with soft blues and grays that complement the surrounding natural hues, creating an organic, airy vibe that's made for relaxing.

08 of 12

Get Comfortable

Outdoor patio with a rug

Metal and Petal

Outdoor furniture isn't typically known for its comfort (hello, wrought iron chairs), so do what you can to elevate the coziness. This space makes use of plush cushions, warm blankets, and colorful pillows for comfy seating—but doesn't stop there. The vintage rug and soft lighting take it a step further, creating a perfectly cozy den that's made for multiple seasons.

09 of 12

Act Natural

Pool and forest backdrop

Tyler Karu Design + Interiors

When it comes to furnishing your outdoor space, sticking with natural materials is one way to create a welcoming vibe. This space makes use of wood furniture to play up the beautiful surroundings, as well as an infinity pool to create a seamless transition from man-made to natural.

10 of 12

Go Big When You Go Home

Pool deck area

Sire Design

While outdoor spaces typically bring to mind traditional furnishings and farmhouse style, there's no reason why you can't go boldly contemporary. This backyard uses design-forward furniture, sleek lighting fixtures, and a show-stopping modern fireplace to create a space that's decidedly contemporary yet still influenced by the natural surroundings.

11 of 12

Take Al Fresco to a New Level

Light-filled outdoor kitchen

Oak & Orange

Indoor/outdoor entertaining has never looked so seamless. This space has a covered dining area complete with island, fridge, and table alongside a shimmering pool, with clear dividers to separate the space without blocking the views. The design means this space can truly be used year-round, rain or shine.

12 of 12

Small Space, Big Impact

balcony with patterned green chairs, green rug, lots of plants

ponysailor/Instagram

Having a small space just means you have to get creative. This tiny balcony leaves a big impact, thanks to plenty of plants and trendy pattern mixing. The stunning result is still practical, with space for two to sit and relax.

Related Stories