How To Design An Outdoor Space That Feels Like Home
Spring means taking our love of home decor outside in anticipation of summer gatherings and staycationing. Gardens, patios, and decks and more are becoming our homes (not so far) away from home during the warm-weather months, especially if they're comfortable and design-inspired. A poll by the TurfMutt Foundation, in fact, found that outdoor offices are here to stay following the pandemic, while new research by Atlas Ceramics revealed that one of the biggest trends in kitchen design for 2022 is the outdoor kitchen. Need an outdoor space refresh? Here are tips for making your backyard a place for getting cozy and comfortable.
Create Activity Zones
First, start with how you use your backyard and map out activity areas (even if you have a small space). A shady table can double as a home office, study zone, art table, or dining spot. A hammock can serve as a spot for napping, reading or studying. A patch of grass is perfect for sports, games and play. A fire pit with cozy chairs is perfect for stargazing and socializing. Maybe you want an outdoor movie set up? An herb or vegetable garden helps kids learn about science too.
"I like to create warm and inviting spaces by incorporating lots of plants and wood elements to further connect to nature," says Memphis-based designer Leslie Murphy of Murphy Maude Interiors. "If you like to host (like me!), look to create multiple gathering spaces so you can easily transition from outdoor dining to congregating with friends and family."
Factor Functionality With Purpose
"My first tip is to add pops of color, be it in the outdoor chairs, floral arrangements, and even the outdoor decor," says Houston-based designer Mary Patton of Mary Patton Design. "Especially for spring, it seems fitting to utilize bright colors in a space that’s inspired by nature."
We love these yellow garden chairs for a bright, happy pop.
Take note of any electrical outlets too and see if you need an outdoor-rated extension cord for music or movie watching.
"Incorporate lighting concepts too, such as dimming lights or tea candles," says Patton. "It's so soothing and it adds a moody effect that is perfect for outdoor entertaining."
Get Strategic With Plants
Spend a spring weekend sprucing up existing landscaping. Freshen up by weeding, planting flower beds, and filling pots with colorful flowers and greenery.
"Our favorites include banana leaf trees and orchids to add a touch of nature, and high-design planters can be a creative way to show off your own personal style," says Louisiana-based Lance Thomas of Thomas Guy Interiors.
Use trees, shrubs and bushes to add privacy, shade, and camouflage unsightly parts of your yard. Planters with flowers between seating and eating areas bring joy to your space too.
Use Weather-Friendly Materials
"I like to use weather-friendly materials and fabrics so the furnishings can last a long time," adds Thomas. "Our favorite is using rattan, it comes in a variety of shades and its eco-friendly construction makes it appealing to any design aesthetic."
Blend Indoor and Outdoor
Lifestyle Production Group
Make your backyard feel like an extension of the home.
"One way to make an outdoor space more eye-catching is to use patterned throw pillows that can take on the color scheme you already have inside your house," says Miami-based designer Brittany Farinas of House of One. "Take similar throw pillows and throw blankets that you would use indoors and use them outdoors! This will make the space appear larger and more cohesive."
Design For Al Fresco Dining
We don't all have the budget for an outdoor kitchen, but you can design an outdoor space that caters to dining with a fresh and fun outdoor dining set, an outdoor rug, and grill for making delicious meals. Tulsa-based designer Mel Bean of Mel Bean Interiorsopted for a Scandi-inspired color palette, light woods, and pops of blue décor for this outdoor space and we're digging the fresh, laid-back vibe.
Want more outdoor design inspo? Check out Create An Outdoor Oasis With These Budget-Friendly Finds and our Pinterest page!
Theresa Gonzalez is a content creator based in San Francisco and the author of Sunday Sews. She's a lover of all things design and spends most of her days momming her little one Matilda.