Whether you have a balcony, patio, covered area, or backyard, you want to get the most out of your outdoor space. In this guide, we’ll show you how to plan your outdoor room, and we’ll give you on-trend ideas for decorating your space.
Step 1: Envision how you’ll use your space.
Think about how you’ll primarily use your space. Do you want to:
- Grill outdoors frequently?
- Relax in cozy seating around a fire pit?
- Have formal sit-down dinners?
- Lounge poolside, with the option to soak in the sun or sit in the shade?
- Entertain small or large groups?
- Create a private oasis for enjoying the view?
Deciding how you’ll use your space will help you determine which pieces you’ll need.
Step 2: Think “transitions.”
This season, we’re seeing a growing demand for chat groupings that include a combination of sofa and loveseat sectionals, lounge chairs, recliners, gliders, ottomans, side tables, and a low fire pit table on which you can place a dinner plate and a drink.
Sectionals are particularly appealing, because you can start with just a couple of pieces and add more over time. We recommend starting small and adding additional pieces such as recliners, incliners, swivel rockers, coffee tables, and end tables.
You can customize sectionals in endless configurations: U-shape, L-shape, circular, square, and horizontal.
Many people enjoy dining outdoors and then relaxing around a fire pit after the meal. If that’s the case, consider getting a dining table and chairs and a “chat group” (deep seating, end tables, and fire pit), and arranging them for easy transition from dining to chat.
Step 3: Invest in quality pieces you love.
Three key things to remember:
- Transition from indoors to out. There’s that word “transition” again. Your outdoor space is an extension of your indoor space. It doesn’t make sense to spend a fortune decorating the interior of your home, and to look out the window and see junky furniture that you picked up at a garage sale. As you plan, coordinate the style and palette with the nearest indoor room, ensuring a smooth transition from indoors to out.
- Think multi-functional. Many of our customers use their outdoor furniture indoors during fall and winter. If you have a limited budget, select high-quality furnishings that look great indoors and out. It’s a fantastic long-term investment.
- Quality matters. Since you’ll want to use your outdoor furniture for several years, your basic pieces should be high-quality, sturdy, and easy-clean. These pieces must be able to withstand the elements and look like they’re brand new season after season.
Select a style you absolutely love. Before you shop, measure the size of your space and evaluate the view from that space.
If you have a water view, consider investing in a low-backed sectional (or a lounge chair and ottoman, such as this South Beach Collection by Lloyd Flanders), which gives you an unobstructed view of the water.
Fabrics in neutral or chameleon colors that go with everything are perfect for outdoor spaces. This season, taupe and beige tones mixed with gray or rusty brown are a huge hit.
Many neutral fabrics interlace several colors into the weave. From a few feet away, the cushion fabric may appear to be a driftwood color. But look closely, and you’ll spot blues, grays, and maybe even a dash of orange threading. Accessorize with pillows and throws that accentuate different colors in the weave.
You can add flair and revamp the look every season simply by changing accessory colors.
Step 4: Mix it up.
Outdoor decorating is all about mixing colors, patterns, textures, and weaves.
Trends we’re noticing:
Shiny frames mixed with rough, chalky matte finishes and fabrics are on-trend. This “Uptown” fire pit table (by Outdoor Greatroom) is a perfect example.
This two-tiered, 48 x 64” fire pit pairs granite and stucco; charcoal and black; shiny, matte, and rough finishes.
Metal and wicker
This neo-classical swivel rocker (Bel Air, by GenSun) features a cast aluminum frame and a woven, multi-hued seat bucket. The fabric weave is taupe, with gray threading.
Multiple shades of blue, such as aqua with a splash of navy.
This dining set features Sunbrella fabric navy chair cushions and striped kidney throw pillows with various shades of blue and pops of yellow, pink, and green.
Note: Rich’s is a Certified Sunbrella Dealer, which means that we can order your heart’s desire when it comes to fabrics for your outdoor furnishings.
Pair unexpected pieces together. Contrary to popular belief, all your outdoor furnishings do not have to match perfectly. Try pairing vintage with modern. Or mix-and-match different styles of bistro tables, dining tables, extension tables, and console tables.
Try adventurous color combinations. If you grow red geraniums in patio planters, an eye-popping red patio umbrella can create a cohesive look.
If you’re not quite ready for that much red, get some accent pillows with red stripes. Or use red dinner plates or accent with some red candles on your dining table.
Mixing unexpected colors, textures, and styles adds visual interest and gives your outdoor space an edgy, contemporary feel.
For great ideas on how to add beautiful, decorative touches, we recommend these Instagram accounts:
Rich’s Pinterest board, “Outdoor Living…In Style” has over 1,100 ideas for making the most out of your outdoor space.
Step 5: Anchor top and bottom.
Two essential finishing touches for your outdoor space – pieces that tie the whole look together – are an outdoor rug and a patio umbrella.
One of our customers has a lovely swimming pool with blue mosaic tiles. They selected beige seat pads for their chaise lounges and chat group, a blue umbrella, an outdoor rug with a blue pattern, and blue pillows , all of which work together to create a restful, attractive design.
A weather-friendly outdoor rug is perfect for anchoring a deep seating or dining collection. The outdoor rugs we sell at Rich’s include a “cheat sheet” that recommends the perfect patio umbrella color to pair with your rug. No head-scratching required!
An umbrella anchors from above and protects your furnishings from the sun and rain, ensuring that you’ll get more life out of your investment.
Step 6: Get started!
The friendly folks at Rich’s are here to help. Browse the showroom floor to get ideas for styles, fabrics, colors, and groupings. Everything is customizable; if you don’t see it on the floor, we can special-order exactly what you want.
With careful planning, your outdoor areas will be as livable as your indoor rooms. Give yourself permission to be adventurous, and make a bold statement that’s uniquely you.