There’s no doubt about it, this spring and summer are going to be a little different. But listen, mother earth is calling (we hear you now!) and now that the weather all over the country is starting to tip into sunny and warm, maybe getting outside will help us all shift our perspectives a bit. Even if that just means hanging out in our yards more than ever before. The outdoor living room is about the get its moment.
Here’s the deal, we shot this whole beautiful Target patio story months ago at Velinda’s. We loved how all the spaces turned out and were super excited to share it with all of you, but up until last week we were thinking we’d have to skip sharing this story completely. It’s really hard to write about anything during a situation like this and we’ve really shifted our content because of it. But as we were all looking at our own outdoor spaces to spruce up while inside (I’ve never finished the outside up here at the mountain house), we realized that we are sitting on this really pretty story, full of tips and ideas for those of you who do need help with styling your outdoor spaces. Those outdoor rooms still deserve some love, and in fact we might all be getting more time in them than usual this spring. So if you are looking to spend more time outside and want some ideas – we got you.
MAKE THE MOST OF A SMALL OUTDOOR SPACE
Let’s start small – not everyone has a full yard. Even if all you’ve got is a small patio, you can still brighten up your space and turn it into a miniature oasis.
KEEP YOUR COLOR PALETTE NEUTRAL WITH ONE GOOD POP OF COLOR
I love color, but it can overwhelm a small space easily (go for it if you want, by the way). So here’s what we did: We styled it with neutrals, like natural tones from wicker, white textiles, and simple black and white patterns (for a little graphic interest). But then brought in one good color pop with this striped pouf. The pouf is definitely loud in both color and pattern, but the fact that it’s the only loud piece in this vignette let it stand out, rather than get lost in a sea of eye numbing color.
CHOOSE ACCENT PIECES THAT ARE MULTIFUNCTIONAL
Small spaces mean less furniture, so you’ll want to make sure that the few pieces you do pick are going to pull double duty whenever they can. I absolutely love a simple, but timeless stump side table. Not only can it easily transition into so many different styles, but it can also serve as a quick stool whenever needed (so can the pouf!).
MAKE IT COZY
Blankets and pillows will make any night out in your small space cozy. But if you can safely have one, a chiminea is going to be the ultimate cozy addition to your space (like this modern one I love). Let’s call it the space saving cousin of the fire pit – it’s vertical, slim, but still brings that warmth you want on a chilly spring night.
1. Outdoor Pouf | 2. Decorative Marble Tray | 3. Iron Planter With Brass Stand | 4. Cateye Metal Sunglasses | 5. Outdoor Tasseled Throw Pillow | 6. Llama Planter | 7. Faux Wood Accent Table | 8. Globe String Lights | 9. Mulberry Chat Set | 10. Outdoor Metal Chimnea | 11. Small Metal Outdoor Lantern | 12. Lumbar Duo Stripe Outdoor Pillow | 13. Goldpan Tuft Printed Pillow | 14. 16-oz. Glass Cup | 15. Glass Stackable Short Tumbler | 16. Hexagon Stoneware Planter | 17. Women’s Kerrigan Slide
CREATE AN OUTDOOR LIVING ROOM
We were all pretty obsessed with this room when we styled it, tbh. It’s happy and bright and extremely cozy – which is exactly what I’m personally wanting right now. So for those of you with more space, hopefully this gives you some “outdoor living room” inspiration. Also known as “the perfect place to drink a Thursday evening margarita while the sun sets because I made it through another day and really, that’s enough to celebrate.” At least that’s what we’re calling it.
CREATE “WALLS” TO MAKE A COZY “ROOM” OUTSIDE
You don’t NEED four walls to make a space feel like a “room.” This rule gets even more lax when you’re in the great outdoors (your backyard). All you really want to do is make a space feel a little more enclosed and intimate. We accomplished that by bringing in that patio umbrella with the sweet tassel fringe as our “ceiling,” a bunch of potted plants and lanterns around the perimeter as our “walls,” and laying down that big area rug to ground us and be our “floor.”
We also strung up those awesome outdoor lights, which look cute during the day, and help the area transition into a warm glowing space at night.
MIX & MATCH YOUR SEATING
Just like in a living room, you want to have a mix of different seating options. Both to give yourself options (in case you’re feeling lounge-y one day, but want a chair with a back for reading the next), and to add visual variety. For this space, we brought in a few different options.
First, we brought in a larger piece to help anchor the space (and is big enough to accommodate some snuggling). Then added a simple loveseat that is super easy to mix with other pieces. It’s especially easy to combine with more sculptural pieces since the arms are so simple and square. Lastly is our low lounging chair and foot rest/side table combo. This is where you’re gonna wanna be for a weekend book reading marathon (or 1 minute of “counting” during hide and seek with your kids, during which you actually try and take a 1-minute power nap).
One last note – we kept all our seating options feeling cohesive by making sure all the cushions were the same color, even though they all varied largely in style.
NEUTRAL FOUNDATION – THEN GO BOLD WITH PRINTS AND COLORS
Because this is a bigger space, it can handle some color and pattern. We brought in a huge pinch of personality with that striped outdoor rug (I love that it’s this woven faded black, not a stark black and white), and happy pops of color with bright yellow textiles (rare for me and I LOVE IT). Small unexpected details, like the little hits of brass on the inside of the string lights and the tassels on the umbrella, make this space feel ultra inviting. Trust us, we tested it out by drinking that whole pitcher of margaritas in the space at the end of the shoot. It was awesome.
1. Large Metal Outdoor Lantern | 2. Small Metal Outdoor Lantern | 3. Kaufmann Wood Patio Loveseat | 4. Fringed Patio Umbrella | 5. Oversized Lumbar With Tassels | 6. Yellow Chenille Throw Blanket | 7. Outdoor Tasseled Throw | 8. Lumbar Duo Stripe Outdoor Pillow | 9. Glass Stackable Short Tumbler | 10. Hand Women Raffia Bowl | 11. Marble Hexagon Coasters | 12. Wexler Patio Table | 13. Libbey Glass Pitcher | 14. Porcelain Square Rim Bowl | 15. Southport Patio Egg Chair | 16. Woven Serving Tray | 17. Oversize Stripe Outdoor Pouf |18. Papasan Chair & Ottoman Set |19. Large Ceramic Planter With Stand | 20. Small Ceramic Planter With Stand | 21. Iron Planter With Brass Stand | 22. Cateye Sunglasses | 23. Women’s Floppy Hat | 24. Woven Tasseled Outdoor Throw Pillow | 25. Oversized Hand Woven Pillow | 26. Women’s Vail Woven Slide Sandals | 27. Hooded Outdoor String Lights | 28. Stripe Outdoor Lumbar | 29. Outdoor Rug
TAKE YOUR MEALS OUTSIDE
Outdoor dining is my favorite part of warmer weather. I don’t know why, but eating al fresco makes every meal taste way better and our table gets hours and hours of use each day.
OPT FOR SEATING WITH BACKS AND SEAT CUSHIONS
Comfort, guys. A bench looks cool, but chairs with actual backs and cushions give you hours of comfort. If you truly want to use and enjoy your space (and almost treat a dining table like a living room) opt for comfort – especially these days.
START WITH A COLOR PALETTE – AND PEPPER IT THROUGHOUT THE SPACE
This is the other option for a bigger space. While we went bold with the color and pattern in the “outdoor living room,” for our “outdoor dining room” we went quieter, picking a pink theme and sprinkling it around the table in varying tones and shades. The embroidered throw we used as a table linen is the centerpiece, but we brought in other pink pops through pillows, pillow tassels, and flowers.
We also brought in a few pops of red, the darkest form of pink, to shake up the space without moving out of our color palette. Always feel free to dress according to the color palette of your space. You know, just in case a photographer happens to be hiding on the upper-level patio and decides to start shooting candid photos of you styling a pillow.
MAKE SURE YOU GET THE RIGHT SIZE RUG
We’ve waxed poetically about choosing the right rug size forever, and an outdoor space is no different. You want to make sure the rug you pick is big enough to ground the space and allow for the table and chairs to sit comfortably on the majority of the rug. If it’s too small it will catch on the feet every time you try to move the chairs in and out. A good general rug is to keep the 2 feet wider and longer than the dining table.
We went with this gray, textured rug, which is neutral and doesn’t draw attention away from the table, but still gives us a sense of space. Otherwise our table and chairs would have just felt like they were floating on all that terracotta tile.
1. Oversized Lumbar Pillow With Poms | 2. Landscape Lumbar Throw Pillow | 3. Chunky Knit Throw Blanket | 4. Tasseled Lumbar Pillow | 5. Stagger Stripe Pillow | 6. Hearth & Hand Throw Blanket | 7. Stoneware Salad Plate | 8. Libbey Glass Pitcher | 9. 16-oz Glass Cup | 10. Glass Stackable Short Tumbler | 11. Multi-Tassel Outdoor Throw | 12. Stripe Napkin Set | 13. Citronella Tea Lights | 14. Recycled Tapered Planter | 15. Wheat Straw Boater Hat | 16. Acacia Serving Tray | 17. Porcelain Ramekin | 18. Ceramic Tea Light Lantern | 19. Metal Perforated Outdoor Lantern | 20. DuraSeason Seat Cushion | 21. Mid-Century Patio Stack Chair | 22. Diamond Global Coast Outdoor Rug | 23. Small Ceramic Planter With Stand | 24. Large Ceramic Planter With Stand
THE SINGLE SEAT
Maybe all you’ve got room for is one chair, and a foot rest. Really, that’s all you need. If all you can fit on your small corner of outdoor space is a chair and footrest (like that cute ottoman), then you’re all set for a spring outside.
1. Hanging Egg Chair | 2. Gray Lumbar Pillow | 3. Woven Throw Pillow | 4. Large Ceramic Planter With Stand | 5. Small Ceramic Planter With Stand | 6. Oversize Stripe Outdoor Pouf | 7. White Chenille Throw
There you go. We hope that if you have an outdoor space (big or small) you have more time to enjoy them this spring and summer. So how about it, are any of your spending more time in your outdoor spaces? Any outdoor improvement projects in the works? Let us know in the comments. xx