There’s nothing quite like going outside after a long day in your outdoor living area, where you can enjoy a nice beverage and conversation with your friends and family. Or maybe you want an oasis where you can spend time outside getting a jump on your day with your coffee and journal.
How Do I Create the Perfect Patio?
Creating the ideal patio depends on a variety of factors. How much space do you have? Are you looking for traditional or modern patio ideas? What’s your budget? Are you looking for patio design ideas for outdoor entertaining or a personal retreat?
Whether you have unlimited space and budget or are more interested in more modest patio ideas for a small space, we’ve got you covered. Here are our top 10 patio ideas to help you create the outdoor living space of your dreams.
1. Look for Patio Inspiration to Get a Sense of Your Ideal Space.
Be on the lookout for patio ideas and trends in spaces you like, and start mentally designing your dream patio. At this stage, don’t think about budgets or being too realistic. You just need to set the scene for your dream space. Pinterest, a patio design app like Houzz Decorating App, and interior designers can be a great place to look for inspiration, as can your friends’ and neighbors’ patios.
If you’re planning a complete patio renovation, ask around to find contractors or landscapers who can make your dreams a reality. If you’re more interested in a minor tweak to your outdoor space, you might be able to look at things you already have to brighten up your space. For example, if you have outdoor container pots that need a home, create a mini garden on the patio.
2. Set a Budget to Implement Your Patio Ideas.
After you have a sense of what you want, need, and like in your dream patio space, set a budget, timeline, and realistic scope for your project. If you’re planning on creating a full outdoor kitchen on the patio, you’re looking at an expensive and months-long process. More than likely, you’ll need to bring in a contractor to complete the work.
If you’re more interested in slight tweaks, like getting new pillows or furniture, put a budget together and prioritize what’s most important. Opt for durable furniture and fabrics that will withstand the elements. Good quality pieces will probably save you money long term.
3. Choose the Right Seating.
A cozy patio starts with the right seating for your space. Make sure you choose weather-resistant materials and fabrics, and ideally, bring your cushions inside when it rains.
Chaise lounges are outdoor chairs that say, “sit back, relax, and take a load off.” Once you sit down may never get back up. They’re especially great for a poolside patio where you may need to lounge and warm up before diving back in!
Hanging chairs are also unique, show-stopping seats that require some installation, but they’re one of our favorite patio ideas. Most hanging seats come with a freestanding frame, so you’ll need a lot of space (not to mention some space for the chair to swing).
How you arrange your seating area also depends on how much space you have and what you want your seating to communicate. Is your outdoor fireplace the central element of your outdoor living? Structure a sitting area around it. Do you have a large backyard with lots of botanical beauty? Have the lounge area facing the property’s natural wonders!
4. Accessorize With Plants
Plants in our living spaces are one of the best ways to bring life to any room or patio area. A “plant wall” is a great way to create much-needed (and aesthetic) privacy between you and your neighbors. If you’re choosing potted plants, choose ones that are hearty and thrive in your climate’s native conditions. You can choose a planter or pot that suits your style and color scheme with potted plants! If you’re still unsure where to start, consider a cactus, bird of paradise, or tree philodendron.
5. Add Pops of Color
If your patio is missing something, but you’re not quite sure what it is, it could just need a pop or two of color. The recent popularity of the “jungalow” style focuses on comfort and coziness with a bold expression of color. Because this style is so popular, it’s easy to find colorful patio ideas. But if your color palette is not too keen on mixing lots of bright hues, pick one or two to focus on. You can even use several shades and shades of the same color!
6. Cozy Up to a Fire Pit
A fire pit is a perfect addition to an outdoor patio. Whether you choose an in-ground or freestanding pit, there’s nothing quite like an evening by the fire. If you have an outdoor space where smoke isn’t an option, you can still enjoy the benefits of a cozy fire pit. Many companies like City Bonfires make smokeless, portable outdoor fire pits! Fire pits and outdoor fireplaces bring an element of warmth (pun intended) to the patio decor. It invites people to come together for s’mores, drinks, and great conversations.
7. Decorate With Mixed Neutrals
If you’re more of a minimalist, one of our favorite patio ideas involves mixing neutrals. Use shades of gray, white, and black to create dimension to your backyard patio. Different materials and textures are also a great way to create some depth in your outdoor spaces. Some alfresco wall ideas you can try on your patio include tile and wood inlays. Wood is always a classic option and looks great paired with neutrals and in natural light. But keep in mind that wood can only withstand the natural elements for a few years on an uncovered patio (even with a fantastic sealant). Wood stains will also quickly fade if they get too much direct sun. Neutral colors mixed with dark metal accents can give a modern industrial feel, especially when combined with a rustic brick wall or stone flooring.
8. Add an Outdoor Wall
Outdoor walls increase the privacy and seclusion of a patio. Common patio wall materials include wood, brick, concrete, and stone. If you opt to go with a wall, some outdoor wall decor ideas include outdoor wreaths made of branches, recycled shutters, and fairy lights. Plants such as ivy and wisteria provide beautiful outdoor decor and pair well with a rustic farmhouse theme. Overall, outdoor wall decor is a great way to personalize the space.
9. Build in Space for Entertainment
If your family loves nothing more than watching the big game, bring the fun outdoors! Mount a flatscreen to an outdoor wall of your home and enjoy your favorite TV shows, movies, or video games in the great outdoors from your own private nook. But be very careful, especially of unexpected rain, snow, or other damaging weather. Buy a sturdy cover to put over your TV whenever it’s not in use, or even use a detachable mount so you can bring the TV inside when needed. Even if it’s mounted on a covered patio, you should still cover it to protect it from dew and windy rain.
10. Add Dimension With a Pergola
Pergolas are one of the best ways to get permanent semi-shade with minimal construction. With Italian essence ingrained in their distinct structures, these charming, open-air structures are secured with four posts or columns and topped with cross beams or lattices. The airy structures are commonly made of wood, vinyl, or aluminum.
You can use climbing vines and string lights to add shade, greenery, and dreamy romance to your semi-covered patio space. They’re one of our favorite patio cover ideas. If you want some shade that’s less permanent than a pergola and more permanent than an umbrella, a retractable awning is another excellent option.
11. Keep Cool or Warm With Fans and/or Space Heaters
Not all of us live in a climate with moderate temperatures all the time. That doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy our patios! If you’re finding yourself forgoing the outdoors because it’s too hot, consider installing a fan or even multiple fans on your covered patio. If your patio is just a little too chilly for comfort, look into a propane gas portable heater! Heaters are more affordable than ever (only $79 at Walmart), and they can make a huge difference on those chilly nights.
12. Include an Outdoor Kitchen
Who says kitchens are just for indoors? If you live in an arid and fair-weather climate, an outdoor kitchen (or even just a bar) is an excellent way to take advantage of al fresco dining! Some patio kitchens even have granite counters, cabinetry, and shelving! If you don’t have the space or have a small patio, an Ooni pizza oven can bring delicious, homemade pizzas to any patio!
13. Find Balance by Mixing Elements.
If you’re unsure where to start with design ideas, you can never go wrong with a good mix of classic and modern elements. Blend rounder shapes with more angular lines. Balance bright colors with neutrals. Mix fabric elements like throw pillows, an outdoor rug, and blankets with materials like wood, metal, plastic, and stone pavers. Complement older pieces from flea markets with newer, modern patio pieces. The key to making your patio design feel like a chic, cozy space is using the same design ideas that apply to interior decorating, which means balance.
14. Less Is More.
While there’s something beautiful about a well-styled outdoor patio, part of the beauty lies in simplicity. You don’t want a space too cluttered where you can’t move around and enjoy your environment or a place where you have to move dozens of accessories indoors every time it rains. Instead, you want an inviting place where you and your loved ones can get a little retreat or gather together. Very few people will remember your specific patio decor, but they will remember the fun memories you’ll make together.
Patio Ideas for All Styles!
You don’t need an interior designer to make your patio design shine (or an exterior designer, for that matter). How are you going to decorate your patio? What are some of your favorite patio ideas? Share this article with a friend and ask for input on how you can customize your designs to suit your style. If you’re looking for design ideas for the rest of the house, check out some of our kitchen, living room, and kids’ bedroom ideas.