A comfortable area to relax, eat, and socialize outdoors is the perfect way to expand your home's livable space, and a must for summer entertaining. Whether you have a spacious backyard or a cozy apartment balcony, read on to learn how to create the perfect outdoor space for your needs.
Image via Sunset Magazine
If you have an apartment balcony or small patio, like I do, your location is pretty much decided for you. But if you have a larger yard, you have more of a say in where you would like to establish your outdoor space. Try to choose a level area, with some privacy, that it partly shaded and partly sunny. If you can't meet the privacy and shade/sun factors, you can always create this yourself, I'll touch on that later.
Image via West Elm
There are a few things to think about when selecting furniture for your outdoor space; function, scale, and cost. First, how will you be using the space? Do you want to lounge, throw an outdoor dinner party, play games? This will help you narrow down what furniture you actually need. Next, how much space do you have to work with? You don't want the space to look cluttered or feel cramped, so if you have a small area choose smaller scale furniture. On the other hand, if you have a very large area you don't want the furniture to look diminutive in comparison, so larger pieces that take up more visual space will work better. Lastly, always set a budget before starting out, and try your best to stick to it. Prioritize what is most important in the space, and spend a larger chunk of your money there.
Image via My Domaine
Materials + Textiles
Purchase pieces that are meant to be outdoors and can withstand the elements. When shopping for outdoor furniture look for aluminum, plastic, steel, rattan, wood, and wrought iron.
Textiles will add warmth, comfort, and personality to your space. Look for items that reflect your style, are soft and comfortable, and are made of durable materials. Cotton canvas and duck cloth are great natural options that will stand up to the outdoors, but also look for synthetic materials specifically made to be used outside.
Image via Old Brand New
You will never want to use the space if it's in blinding sun the majority of the day, so providing shade is a must. If you have chosen a spot for your outdoor space that has good tree coverage you probably won't need to bring in extra shade. If not, umbrellas, tarps, or an open structure will do the trick.
Image via Hej Doll
When the sun goes down you will need something to brighten up the space. Hang café lights, bring in lanterns, and light candles. A soft, warm light will create a cozy atmosphere.
Image via The Fresh Exchange
Plants are awesome, need I say more? Plant trees around your outdoor space for shade, and bring in potted varieties to add life and texture.
Image via Designlovefest
Summer nights can get chilly. Adding a heat source will allow you to enjoy your space long into the night, as well as throughout fall and into mild winters.
For tons more inspiration be sure to check out my Outdoor Living Pinterest board.