Small Outdoor Living Spaces

Pretty stone patio
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How do you make the most of a small outdoor space?

One of the most clever ways to maximize living in a small home is to add outdoor living wherever possible.  If you have a deck or patio area, you’ve got a start on creating a small outdoor living space!

A picture of a pretty stone patio with
A pretty stone patio that’s almost maintenance free.

Decorating an outdoor space can be accomplished on most any budget whether it’s a small budget or “the sky’s the limit”.

We all would love to have a comfortable and inviting place to relax at the end of a long day or at the weekend with friends and family. Spending time on a summer evening on your deck or patio is just the ticket.

I moved to my townhouse in Minnesota in February when there was snow up to my waist.  Seriously…it was up to my waist!

I had a tiny private patio (kind of like the one pictured above) and I couldn’t wait to sit outside on a warm summer day with a glass of wine or iced tea. I spent the better part of that winter planning my summer outdoor space.

Some Favorite Examples of Small Decks and Patios

So here are a few ideas I’ve found to show you what I mean.

Coordinating Indoor and Outdoor Rooms

Extend your indoor living space to your outdoor space and it’ll seem a lot larger. You can do that by coordinating the colors and styles in both areas. Make both spaces comfortable and inviting.

Don’t be afraid to add pattern or color. Remember when you’re deciding on furnishings, that you’re coordinating color and style with your indoor room.

Rugs and curtains add interest and warmth and there are so many materials that are impervious to temperature and weather fluctuations.

Even if you just pull a couple of colors from inside and use them as accents on your outdoor furniture or pillows and rugs, you’ll tie both indoor and outdoor rooms together.

Choose easy care fabrics and that won’t fade in the sun and that resist mildew.


With an easy-care outdoor rug to tie everything together you’ll find you’re using that outdoor living space all the time. Like these:


Small-scale patio sets are what you’d want.  Depending on the size and proportions of your outdoor space, there are a million options. Well, maybe not a million but lots!

For example, there’s this cool  Chat Set with pull out footstools and a four-piece patio set with a coffee table from Riverbend Home.  Check the links for complete info on both sets and see what else they’ve got, too. Outdoor dining sets, outdoor lighting, garden stuff, etc.

Next are a few really nice ideas I found on  You can choose from several different colors. I really like this soft green, though.

Santa Monica 3 Piece Bistro Set from Overstock
Santa Monica 3 Piece Bistro Set from

And this Wicker/Rattan Set:

The reviews are great…here’s what one verified buyer said:

I sit on the bench and do my work outside now for hours! I constantly get compliments and it does not look cheap at all! If you are skeptical don’t be. I am extremely picky and like nice things and was worried this would be too cheap looking but it definitely is not! I actually find it more comfortable than some of the more expensive furniture I’ve looked at. If you’re thinking about it, buy it! I would recommend this set to anyone. I love it just the way it is and it matches everything! Great Buy!

That’s a pretty nice review, right?

If you like a rocking chair when  you’re relaxing outside, this Suncrown Rocking Wicker Bistro Set from Amazon would be perfection.

Imagine a sunny spring or summer day with a light breeze…nice!

Add Plants for a Finishing Touch

They say that plants and candles add life to any room. I believe it. Adding plants to your outdoor space really does turn it into another living room.

You can use any kind of greenery or flowering plants but be sure to include a few from your local garden center. Or order from Amazon.

Did you know that Etsy also has a huge variety of plants you can order with free shipping?  Like this:

You probably won’t be able to find this Lemon Cypress Tree at your local garden center but it would be perfect on a patio or deck. In fact, here’s a snippet from the description:

The aromatic golden-yellow foliage of this fast-growing conifer forms a conical column making a fine feature in patio pots and garden borders. Grows approx. 7”-10” per year…Delightful lemony evergreen aroma.

If you planted it outdoors it could grow to about 15 feet high with a 3 foot spread! So there’s that…luckily, you can keep it trimmed but you can let it grow as tall as you want for your patio or deck.

The thing I like about Etsy is that all the sellers are small independent business people. I like to support small businesses.

Here’s a really great video on how to Decorate a Deck or Patio with Flowers. It’s only a couple of minutes long but plumb full of excellent ideas. In fact, I learned a thing or two that I’m going to use.

You’ll find more ideas in my post Best Plants for Small Spaces.  So check it out!

And Last but not Least – Add Some Lighting

There are a million ways to add lighting to your outdoor space.

  • Patio lights on strings are the most popular and they’re so much fun!
  • If you have a covered patio or deck, consider a chandelier.
  • Hanging lights in a tree is always fun.
  • Lanterns on a patio wall or tables add a romantic glow.
  • Candles on side tables…either traditional candles with wicks or battery-operated.

There’s a great post on how to make mason jar lighting on the website  The Garden Glove.  Five different ideas including the one pictured above.

So these are just a few suggestions for creating a great family outdoor living space even if your space is small.

Do any of these ideas get your creative juices flowing? Can you think of anything else that would turn a small outdoor space into an inviting place to relax?

If you have created a comfortable and pleasing outdoor area that suits your small space to a tee, I’d love if you’d leave a comment below and post a photo or two, as well.

As always, thanks for stopping by and stay tuned!

Cheryl K Logo

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6 thoughts on “Small Outdoor Living Spaces

  1. Bruce says:

    Great post, Cheryl. Your ideas help me a lot, great tips to keep in mind. I’m going to try them out with my small outdoor living spaces too. Thanks for sharing!

    • Cheryl Kohan says:

      Thank you, Bruce! If you’re lucky enough to have an outdoor space, even if it’s small, it makes so much sense to make the most of it. So glad you found some useful ideas.

  2. Primavera says:

    We love what you did here. Truly, the best thing you can do with a small space, is to make every inch count. Be it indoor, or outdoor. Make use of it and make it the best place you can make it to be.

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