7 Designer-Approved Patio Decorating Tips
Bring the Indoors Outdoors
Let your personal style spread to your outdoor space. “You want your outdoor space to feel as luxe and comfortable as your indoor space,” says interior designer Nate Berkus. “I like to bring a rug out, to help create an environment your guests will love. And move indoor furniture and accessories outside because you want your patio to be an extension of how you live.” Berkus also suggests adding personal touches like throw blankets draped over chairs, framed photos, votives or lanterns, and greenery.
Mix and Match
“Don't be afraid to eschew the patio set!” says interior designer Olivia Brock of Torrance Mitchell Designs. “Pick and choose different furniture and fabrics for the patio the same way you would inside your home.” Think brightly colored chairs with a printed umbrella, or various pillows with interesting patterns and accents.
You can commit to indoor-outdoor living—and make your patio feel like another room in your house—by enclosing it. “Upgrade your patio by adding a pergola and curtains to create a semi-enclosed space,” says interior designer Sarah Vaile of Sarah Whit Interior Design. Close the curtains for some privacy, or when you want to relax and take a nap—it can become an intimate sanctuary.
Don’t Forget About Scale
"No one wants a space to feel sparse,” interior designer Meg Lonergan says. “Even if the area is small it's okay to have oversized items such as pillows on your sofa or big planters with big plants.” Fewer, but larger items make a small space feel bigger, as opposed to a cluttered space with a lot of smaller furniture pieces and accents.
If you’re lucky enough to have a large outdoor space, divide and conquer. “Split up your outdoor space into zones for different functions such as eating, entertaining, and relaxing,” say Chris and Peyton Lambton of HGTV’s My New Old House. “At this home, the wood porch houses a grilling station and bar for entertaining, and the dining area sits adjacent on slate pavers.”
Transition Indoors to Outdoors
Mix indoor and outdoor, natural materials so it won’t feel like a huge shift as you move from the house to the patio and back again. “A balanced combination of rattan, wood, concrete, ceramic, glass, or metal, will give an outdoor space a natural, collected feel and connect the interior the exterior,” says Emilie Munroe of Studio Munroe.
Light It Up
Don’t spend those lazy summer nights in the dark. Make your outdoor space a place to spend time with friends and family well into the night. “Lighting is key,” says interior designer Andrew Suvalsky. “If your patio is a completely open space where you can’t hang lighting, then place indoor-outdoor lamps around your space.”