Hate to leave your house but love to socialize? If you have the space, find your happy middle ground by creating a stunning outdoor living room. You don't need a lot of money or time (though they always help, don't they?) to turn your lawn chair setup into the place to be on a Saturday.
Whether you have acres to spare or a backyard that's a yard in every sense of the word, the tips below can help you can stay home and stay relaxed. Read on for 19 outdoor living room ideas to get you started.
Plan for the Elements
We're talking about outdoor living rooms, yes, but until we learn how to control the rain, it's a good idea to customize your seating areas so you'll always have at least one covered space. A sunroom that opens into a covered outdoor living room beside a pool gives you the best of everything, and you'll never have to call it an early night because of the rain.
Wow With Tile
You can keep your design choices simple when you have such beautiful outdoor tile laid on the ground. Even better than that, though, you can let the party (or the kids) run a bit wilder without worrying about cleanup.
Unlike carpet in an indoor living room, outdoor tile means never crying over spilled milk.
Don't Forget a Fan
Not only does a fan look good and will keep you cool, but a well-placed outdoor fan will also spare you a few bug bites. The airflow from the fan will disrupt mosquitos' flight paths, and you'll be able to relax without becoming dinner.
Drape It Off
Want a bit of privacy and protection from the elements? You can use panels of curtains to enclose your outdoor living room. Be intentional about your hardware and fabric weight to add visual interest.
Don't Fight Mother Nature
It's your home and your yard, but it's also home to the surrounding trees—and they probably were there first. There's no need to fight, however. Use existing trees and brushes as design challenges to spark your creativity, and build with nature in mind for a modern organic touch.
Not only is this setup truly unique, keeping just one tree can lower the temperature in your backyard by 2° to 9°F, as the tree cools the air through evapotranspiration.
Mixing materials outside instantly ups your cool factor. Glass and iron meet marble and linen at this modern Spanish Revival home in Palm Springs, and the effect is sophisticated while still handsome and rustic.
Frame a Sectional
An outdoor sectional is perfect for long nights spent talking under the stars with roughly five to seven of your closest friends—and that's not counting the ones on the butterfly chairs. To warm your hearts and your moonlit conversations, consider swapping your center table for a rustic metal fire pit. Voila, ambiance.
Don't Skimp on Comfort
Metal chairs with detachable cushions might be a backyard standard, but nothing beats a big, plush couch. An outdoor slipcover lets you bring the best part of a living room outside. We love the idea of pairing it with a natural wood coffee table, too. It won't look dirty quickly, like a glass table, and it will age beautifully.
Go Long—Like, Really Long
Opening up your home to create an indoor/outdoor living room frees up your possibilities for the rest of your space. This house flows directly into an outdoor kitchen and makes a compelling case for never leaving.
Play With Your Lighting
Woven rattan pendant lights provide the necessary contrast to the cool grays and whites of this outdoor living room, plus they tie back to the natural surroundings. Grouping similar woven pendant lights at different heights create a beautiful sculptural moment, too.
Grab Some Pallets
An outdoor living room is an opportunity to design a more relaxed space than you typically would indoors. This sectional made out of painted pallets is youthful and cool, and the painted wood looks right at home under the thatched covering.
Create a Reading Nook
Summer is for reading. Scratch off a few titles from your list and dedicate part of your yard as an outdoor reading nook. While it might not make sense to put a hanging chair or hammock in your indoor living room, there's more room for whimsy (and places to secure ropes and chains, too) outside.
Detach the Space
The majority of us will never have the budget to recreate this outdoor living room, but it can still give us plenty of inspiration (and envy). Our first idea is often to build right alongside our home, but going to the back of the yard—by working along the fence or woods, for example—can open up your atmosphere.
Choose a Classic Awning
If you're constantly dreaming of the Italian Rivera and have height and light to work with, opt for a classic awning over your outdoor space. A thick-striped awning will never go out of style, and it's easy to pair with a wide range of design styles and décor.
Like a shade sail, you'll better chances of squeaking an awning through a rental approval process—or hiding its evidence come move-out time.
Don't Let Rain Ruin Things
Karen Emile of Milk and Honey Life created a charming and practical outdoor oasis at her ranch home by putting up a simple shade sail. Shade sails add texture and color while blocking UV rays, and they're much larger and more affordable than most umbrellas. You can have one up in your yard this time next weekend for little more than thirty bucks.
Hang Up Fairy Lights
Does it even need to be said? Where there are fairy lights, there's romance. Make your yard the most charming date night spot in town with a few strings and a flip of a switch.
Rethink Your Seating
You probably wouldn't invite guests to sit on your living room floor, but we'd be willing to bet they'd be delighted to relax on these oversized pillows on a hot summer day. Just keep the beverages coming.
Get a Great Rug
A big rug can really tie a space together and soften a concrete "yard" or patio. Adding a large area rug is also a great one-step trick for revamping your look, especially if you want to experiment with natural fibers in a modern space.
Take the TV Outdoors
TVs are the altars of most living rooms. Going outside doesn't mean you have to sacrifice your shows—and bonus points if your TV is above an outdoor fireplace, too.