May is here! It’s time to think about outdoor dining and entertaining. Creating an inviting and comfortable outdoor space doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive. You just need some basic furniture (and there are many options), plus a few finishing details. Here are some examples . . .

We created this outdoor room in Mill Valley — notice the mix of potted plants, pillows and other accessories.

On a more modest scale, this lovely yet simple set-up is from the backyard of our most recent Style to Sell house. It features Appalaro outdoor furniture from Ikea ($139 for the drop-leaf table, $34.99 for the folding chair, and $89.99 for the bench). It’s a nice set, but what really makes it feel like a “room” are three important details:

The rug — A rug grounds the ensemble, just as it does in your indoor living room. Be sure to buy one made specifically for outdoors. We love the rugs from MadMats, but there are many other options available online and at your local hardware store.

Pillows — They add personality and comfort. Choose some fun contrasting colors as we’ve done here. A good source for outdoor pillows is Home Decorators Collection.

A centerpiece — Fill the middle of your table with a vase of flowers, a tray holding a pitcher of margaritas, or outdoor lanterns. Sometimes candles can melt if they’re left in the sun, so here we substituted with some cute little cactus. (Cactus and lanterns also from Ikea!)

Of course, it’s fun to fantasize about luxurious outdoor rooms too. Here are some spaces we’ve been admiring lately on Pinterest:

(via houseOMG!)

Luckily for most of us (who don’t have properties like these), you can enjoy whatever space you have — your backyard, patio, or even your tiny terrace. Just set out a chair, grab a cold drink and feel the sun on your face.

2 thoughts on “Tips for Great Outdoor Spaces

  1. My wife and I have been looking to buy some decorative lanterns online. We would like to decorate our patio with some of them and have been looking for different ideas. I like the suggestion to replace a candle with a cactus because it really stands out when I look at it.

  2. It really helped when you mentioned how adding pillows to your outdoor benches can help you add a sense of comfort to your decor. I can see that taking the time to understand this and to choose the best style materials you can will allow your outdoors to help you relax and enjoy your time better. Personally, I would want to take the time to do my research and get outdoor decor that can withstand the type of weather in my area and can last a long time with the proper care.

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