8 Outdoor Patio Decorating Ideas

Make your time outside a little more enjoyable with these decor tips.

By Devon Thorsby, Editor, Real Estate |June 7, 2019, at 4:22 p.m.

8 Outdoor Patio Decorating Ideas

Slideshow

Take your design aesthetic outside.

New design villa patio with comfortable rattan furniture and pattern carpet

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Whether it's a small courtyard or an expansive backyard, you probably don’t spend as much time on your outdoor patio as you’d like. But with a bit more effort put into the design, you may find you’re reaping the benefits of spending more time outdoors. “People more than ever … are really coming to the awareness that you need to be connected to nature, and you need to be connected socially for your health and well-being,” says Joe Raboine, an outdoor living and design expert with landscape design company and hardscape manufacturer Belgard. Read on for some simple decorating ideas that will help draw you and your family and friends out to your patio.

Make it comfortable.

Make it comfortable.

Cozy terrace in the garden with flowers

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It’s all too easy to forgo an evening in your backyard when the living room couch is just too comfortable. Rather than make excuses, why not design your patio to be just as comfortable? “It’s an additional living space,” says Debbie Howes, a Realtor with Re/Max Performance in the Colorado Springs, Colorado, area. Make sure any seating outside has weather-resistant cushions, and consider adding side tables to keep drinks or a plate of snacks within arms’ reach as you lounge.

Don't forget color.

Don't forget color.

shot of outdoor furnitures

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Just like in your indoor living room, furniture can feel a bit bare if you don’t add accents like pillows or tabletop decor. For these welcoming additions, don’t be afraid to go bold with pops of color. In real estate information company Zillow’s 2019 Outdoor Living Trends Report, popular colors for patio and porch space this year include bright oranges, reds, yellows and pinks. Plus, by adding pops of color with outdoor throw pillows or cushions, you can keep your more neutral patio furniture as-is without having to change it when new trends come around.

Create a place for conversation.

Create a place for conversation.

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For small patios, purchasing a bench or outdoor couch may seem like a simple, cost-effective solution to provide seating for two or three people at a time. But to make the patio more comfortable for lounging and spending extended periods of time, consider including separate seats that can be positioned to face each other. Furniture marketplaces like Ikea and Wayfair sell patio sets including love seats, couches, chairs and coffee tables at a bundled price. You can also combine unrelated pieces of furniture that complement each other – which the Zillow report notes is in style for 2019.

Consider swinging seating.

Consider swinging seating.

Happy young woman sitting in hanging chair

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A freestanding hammock is an old classic, but online furniture marketplaces like Wayfair and Hayneedle offer a wide variety of swinging chairs that take up less space and offer plenty of styles to fit your design plan. Modern, circular swinging chairs and beachy chair hammocks range from $30 to over $600 on Wayfair, for example. If your patio features an overhang, consider attaching a porch swing or even a swinging bed to add more space for people to relax. These pieces are available in multiple styles for less than $350 through Hayneedle.

Create more than one space.

Create more than one space.

Looking down on a cozy outdoor living patio.

(Getty Images)

A simple way to make your patio space appear more luxurious is to designate areas for different purposes. A table and chairs are standard for eating dinner on the patio, but consider adding a bench close to your garden, or a fire pit area that encourages you and your guests to use the patio for activities beyond eating a meal. Patio bar furniture, small bistro tables and lounge chairs can help create an additional space for spending more time outside.

Build in an activity.

Build in an activity.

Family relaxing around fire pit outdoors

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A spot to eat or sit and talk helps draw you out to the patio, but to keep family and guests outside even longer, incorporate an activity into your design, such as cooking on the grill or playing card games at a table. Zillow’s 2019 Outdoor Living Trends Report notes that fire features and outdoor kitchens are particularly popular options. In addition to serving as a spot to make s’mores, a fire pit or outdoor fireplace can help extend your patio’s usability into the colder months.

Don't forget lighting.

Don't forget lighting.

outdoor string lights hanging on a line in backyard

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Traditionally, backyard lighting was limited to the light just outside the back door. But to truly embrace outdoor living – and make the space look more like a living room – invest in additional lighting for your outdoor space. Floor and table lamps designed for the outdoors are weatherproof, and in many cases solar-powered, which cuts down on your need to use electricity or have cords creating a tripping hazard. Outdoor lamps are available at places like Lowe’s, Walmart and Plow and Hearth, which offer enough variety to match a minimalist or traditional design aesthetic – or anything in between.

Make your own wind.

Make your own wind.

Sunny Backyard Patio With Pergola

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You may not be able to handle stifling heat, or you may get eaten by mosquitoes when you sit outside – but a little man-made wind can help keep the heat and bugs away from your patio space. An outdoor ceiling fan installed on an overhang is a common solution, or you can bring a freestanding fan outside while you sit. To help keep you even cooler, consider investing in a misting fan, many of which are freestanding and simply need to be hooked up to a hose. Large misting fans designed to cover an entire patio space tend to cost more, however – Mistcooling or Dynamic Collections brands offer models for $430 and $240, respectively.

Here are eight ways to decorate your outdoor patio:

Here are eight ways to decorate your outdoor patio:

Trendy friends having barbecue party on top of the roof - Happy people doing bbq dinner outdoor - Main focus on woman with yellow t-shirt - Fun, summer, city lifestyle and friendship concept

(Getty Images)

  • Make it comfortable.
  • Create more than one space.
  • Don’t forget color.
  • Create a place for conversation.
  • Consider swinging seating.
  • Build in an activity.
  • Don’t forget lighting.
  • Make your own wind.

Read More

Devon Thorsby is the Real Estate editor at U.S. News & World Report, where she writes consumer-focused articles about the homebuying and selling process, home improvement, tenant rights and the state of the housing market.

She has appeared in media interviews across the U.S. including National Public Radio, WTOP (Washington, D.C.) and KOH (Reno, Nevada) and various print publications, as well as having served on panels discussing real estate development, city planning policy and homebuilding.

Previously, she served as a researcher of commercial real estate transactions and information, and is currently a member of the National Association of Real Estate Editors. Thorsby studied Political Science at the University of Michigan, where she also served as a news reporter and editor for the student newspaper The Michigan Daily. Follow her on Twitter or write to her at dthorsby@usnews.com.

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