A deck or patio is a nice outdoor space, but with a little design effort, it can become an additional room and an extension of your home. Who doesn’t like to spend time outdoors when the weather turns warm (especially those of us who live in northern climates!)? The best way to make the most of your outdoor space is to furnish it as you would your living room or dining room. I’ll show you six easy steps to designing the patio or deck you’ll never want to leave.
Step 1: Start with a Rug
A rug not only adds color and texture but helps to define the space. There are lots of outdoor rugs and mats to choose from, so pick a color and pattern you love, as it will be the foundation for the rest of your design options. This condo owner’s favorite color is blue, so the subtle medallion design with a hint of green is the perfect choice. A lightweight rug is easy to care for and she can move it around the deck if needed.
Step 2: Choose Patio Furniture
Before purchasing patio furniture, assess your living and entertaining needs. Choose chairs, loveseats, and coffee tables if you like to sit around and relax. This homeowner loves to eat outdoors, so a small dining set in the corner works for her. She still has room for additional seating in the opposite corner.
Step 3: Add Comfort
Patio furniture is available in a variety of materials like wicker, wood, metal, and plastic, but they often aren’t super comfortable on their own. Add removable cushions for comfort and color. The deep blue seat pads shown here contrast nicely with the rug and are made with a durable outdoor fabric.
Step 4: Toss in Pillows
Pillows are the ideal accessory. They add another layer of color and texture to every room—even the outdoor rooms! We went with pale green pillows, but a bold print would have been a fun choice, too.
Step 5: Dine al Fresco
You could use your everyday dishes, but why not pamper yourself with a set just for outdoor dining? Every meal is a party when you set a pretty table. The rules for designing place settings are the same as when designing a room: Look for coordinating pieces in matching and contrasting colors, textures, and patterns. I chose dishes and accessories in blues and greens, continuing the color theme established with the rug.
Step 6: Finish with Lighting and Accessories
Lighting not only illuminates your space, but adds ambiance to outdoor rooms. You can hang string lights, install solar lights along the sidewalk, or strategically place lanterns and candles on a table or railing. Of course, no decorating scheme is complete without accessories and fresh flowers. Whatever you choose, they should be personal and reflect your lifestyle.
Merri Cvetan is a Wisconsin interior designer who advises her clients on outdoor design for their patios and balconies so they can take advantage of the warmer months. Merri writes her tips on patios and patio furniture for Home Depot. To research patio furniture yourself, you can visit Home Depot’s website.