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6 Steps for Designing Small Outdoor Living Spaces

Posted by Watson's on Sep 7, 2019, 8:37:00 AM

small outdoor living spaces - Lania 3-piece bistro set on a paved patio

One of our most popular recent blog posts was our outdoor design guide, 5 Tips to Design Your Outdoor Living Spaces. Since that article was published, we’ve received some great feedback from readers, some of whom pointed out — quite accurately — that some of those ideas weren’t applicable to particularly small outdoor living spaces. 

So, we’re digging even deeper into designing your personal paradise with these expert tips geared specifically toward designing small outdoor living spaces and making the most of the space you have: 

Lay the foundation

When decorating a small balcony or patio, begin with an outdoor rug. It’s a great way to add a pop of color and create a foundation that delineates the space.

The key is to get the largest rug that will fit. Visually, this will make the space look and seem much bigger!

Include pieces that do double duty.

Small mobile storage ottomans are great pieces that can serve more than one purpose on a small outdoor deck. They can act as extra seating, a place to rest your feet, or a spot to set a tray for entertaining.

 Arm width for the win.

If you have a little larger space there are small scale “L” shaped sectionals that work well when pushed up to the back corner of an outdoor deck railing and there’s still enough space to pass through in front of it.

The key with outdoor sofas in small spaces is to make sure that the arms aren’t too wide. It’s wasted space.

Add a bar or bistro.

If you have a super tiny balcony there are some great small balcony furniture sets, such as small scale bistro sets with a table and two dining chairs, that the space can easily accommodate. There are also pub height tables that are small in diameter with matching bar stools that can work on a tiny porch.

Be Bold.

An outdoor space is the opportunity to have some fun with color. Incorporating bright hues and bold patterns makes even the smallest of porches feel truly designed. Outdoor throw pillows, outdoor rugs, ceramic planters and garden stools are all ways to spice up your outdoor deck with pops of color!

Green It Up.

Always add something green, whether it’s a slim profile tree in a planter or several smaller planters filled with plants grouped together. Greenery adds life to any outdoor deck or patio, no matter how small.


These makeover tips are courtesy of Libby Langdon, designer, author, and Today Show contributor. She contributes to Chicago Wicker. Browse the Chicago Wicker collection here.

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Topics: Outdoor and Patio - Furniture, Outdoor and Patio - Accessories, Ideas, Brand Spotlight