Small Outdoor Living Spaces

Side Yard Garden

Clever Side Yard Garden on Pinterest

One of the most clever ways to maximize living in a small space is to add outdoor living wherever possible.  If you have a deck or patio area, you’re all set to jazz up your small outdoor living space!

Decorating an outdoor space is lots of fun and very rewarding. And it can be accomplished on any budget…small budget or “the sky’s the limit”.

I moved to my townhouse in Minnesota in February when there was snow up to my waist.  I had a tiny private patio and I couldn’t wait to sit outside on a warm summer day with a glass of wine or iced tea.

I had months to browse the internet for ideas. Pinterest is my favorite place to find unique solutions to most decor dilemmas, including outdoor living spaces.  Here are a few of my favorites!

Even the smallest deck offers additional space and can be a delightful place to relax at the end of a long day or on a summer evening.

Pretty stone patio

A pretty stone patio that’s almost maintenance free.

A perfect small deck design on Pinterest

A perfect small deck design on Pinterest

A cozy little deck

A cozy little deck
Small courtyard

A small, beautifully designed courtyard










So these are just a few suggestions to get your own creative juices flowing.

You can find small-scale patio furnishings that are beautiful and reasonably priced so many places, these days.



Don’t be afraid to add pattern or color. Think of the space as an indoor room when you’re deciding on furnishings.

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

This indoor/outdoor Paisley Monteray Area Rug from Orion is so pretty and adds a bright spark of color. It’s stain and fade-resistant and, although it’s spot clean only, for sure it’ll hide a multitude of spills!

UPDATE: It’s Autumn! Sort of…Well, almost…

Now that I’m in Arizona, it’s awesome being able to sit out on my patio most of the year.  I will admit that it’s not so enjoyable during the summer months! But it’s almost October and that means cooler weather is on the way.

Desert Landscape

A Lovely Desert Landscape

I really needed to replace the outdated landscaping on my new small property so I turned to Pinterest for ideas and collected enough to last a very long time!

I have more than 30 boards on Pinterest including a board for Arizona Landscaping Ideas. It’s amazing how beautiful desert landscaping can be. No grass needed!

Also, check out this post – Decorating Ideas From Pinterest for dozens of design ideas for small spaces including small gardens.

In the meantime, if you have created a comfortable and pleasing outdoor area that suits your small space to a tee, be sure to leave a comment below and post a photo or two, as well.

If you’ve enjoyed this post, I’d love it if you’d share it.

(Updated 9/24/2018)

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How to Get More Space Without Moving

More space in the same space!

This doesn’t seem to make sense but follow along and you’ll see that it actually does!

If moving just isn’t possible for whatever reason, you will surely find ways to get more space without moving in this wonderful slideshow from Houzz.

There may be features that you cannot change that you’ll have to live with.  For example, in the kitchen, you might just have to learn to live with what’s there, after all.

As Cheryl Freeman, the author of the article points out:

…if you have a stove, fridge, sink and enough counter space for a chopping board and toaster, you’re doing just fine.

So, there you go.  One less stressor.

You probably already know about Marie Kondo but if you don’t, you’re missing out.

She’s a decluttering guru with a following second to none because of her terrific book that emphasizes the importance of decluttering.

 Kondo’s theory is simple. She says, “Your real life begins after putting your house in order”.

This Book is a useful guide for finding more space without moving.

Check your local library for Kondo’s book or purchase The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing at a local bookstore or online. It’s packed with sensible strategies for organizing your small space. (affiliate)

My daughter was visiting me when she spied the book on my shelves. She picked it up, pretty much read it in one sitting and she asked if she could take it home! Well, okay.  Then I bought another!

How to Declutter

There are a couple of schools of thought on this.  First, you’ll want to go through each room to decide what stays and what doesn’t. For example, in the kitchen, you’ll want to get rid of chipped dishes, unmatched dishes, and pots and pans and other cooking tools you don’t use.

The first is to have three boxes:

  1. Recycle
  2. Donate
  3. Throw away

That’s a good plan. If you can stick to it.

The problem with the original three choices is that separation anxiety can take hold and you’ll just end up hanging on things you’ll never use, again.

The second plan is one that Maxwell Gillingham-Ryan, author of Apartment Therapy, the eight-step home cure.

He recommends having an Outbox.  Ask yourself three questions:

  1. Do I use it?
  2. Do I love it?
  3. Does my apartment need it?

If your answer is no to any of the questions, it should go in the Outbox.

He says that With the Outbox, you’ll tuck those things away out of sight in a closet or a space that’s not used. At the end of the week, see if you feel differently about what you’ve put there.

Define Each Area

It’s important to clearly define each area – It’s smart space planning and it’ll make you feel more settled if you know what I mean.

Cheryl Freedman, from Houzz, points out that in a small space, “The key is clearly defining each area so its purpose is obvious.”

You can define an area with area rugs, room dividers, furniture, folding screens, or draperies. They can be as simple or as elaborate as you like.

Pinterest has dozens of ideas for defining spaces.

Then, choose furnishings that serve that purpose and that purpose, only.  If you live alone, you don’t need a dining table that seats twelve.

So you can see that smart space planning is the most important element to achieving more space without moving.

Consider moving or removing a wall.  If you can gain more living space by removing a non-load bearing wall, by all means, check out that possibility.

If you don’t want to remove the entire wall, a pony wall or half-wall would serve two purposes…it would define your space while making it feel larger!

Another genius way to gain a bit more storage is to create shelving between the studs in a wall…a clever niche can be fancy or not depending on the need.

It would be just perfect inserted behind the bathroom door, for example, because that’s pretty much wasted space, anyway.

Plus, if you mounted a sliding mirror over it, you’d have hidden storage and a full-length mirror!

picture of a bedroom wall niche to get more spaceHere’s a bedroom niche that’s pretty AND functional.

Check this link to DIY Network’s step-by-step instructions on how to make your own wall niche.   How To Make A Wall Niche.

Good old Pinterest has dozens of ideas for wall niches and even pins on how to create them. Some are lighted to highlight decorative treasures.

There’s a pin on how to cover a niche but keep the storage.

I really like the idea of a wall niche in a bathroom because so many bathrooms lack storage.

If you need more info, check out this how-to book for getting more space without moving!

I’m a big fan of how-to books because I like to refer to the instructions as I go along.  If I have an interruption, no worries…I can easily return to my task with the instructions right at hand.

Even if you eventually have to move to a larger home, I hope this post gives you some breathing room.

I’ve been in my small home for a couple of years and I’m still tweaking the spaces now and then. My next project?  To turn my tiny utility room into a laundry center.

It’s do-able. I just haven’t figured out how, yet.

What are your thoughts?

What projects would you most like to tackle? Have you thought of other ways to get more space without moving? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

If you enjoyed this post, please let me know in the comments below. And don’t forget to Share, Tweet, and Pin.  Thanks!

Stay tuned!

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The Best Links for Small Space Decor Ideas

6 Best Online Decorating Magazines

(Updated 8/30/2018)

Buffet in Room

Decorating and organizing a small space doesn’t have to be impossible…you just have to know where to look.

I’ve been a decorating magazine hoarder for years! Honestly, I have stacks of magazines everywhere in my home…on chairs, tables, on the floor…and I love nothing better than to curl up on a couch or chair and read them over and over.

Each time through an edition, I’m looking for something different. Maybe a wall color or a certain piece of furniture or a way to repurpose something I already have.

Nowadays, there are editions of my favorite magazines online! So I just find the website for whatever magazine I’m into at the time and bookmark it for easy reference.

There are so many resources out in cyberspace that give excellent advice and that tweak your decorating creativity.

Here are links to a few of my favorite online resources:

This Old House

I often find doable tips and smart ideas from This Old House, one of the original home decorating and remodeling shows and magazines.

For example, a recent website article, 11 Foolproof Decorating Tips suggests 

 …if you have two small rooms next to each other, painting them the same neutral color helps them feel larger.

Look at a paint strip and move up or down a shade or two for a subtle variation from room to room, suggests Allen-Brett.

One of their best ideas (that I always recommend) is to use area rugs to define a space.

Place at least the two front legs of the couch and chairs on the rug. And be sure the rug is large enough for the conversation grouping.

Another tip from this article is about hanging artwork on your walls.

You should hang artwork at eye level but if your family includes tall people AND short people, average the two!

I have to think about this, often, because I’m short so I place my artwork a little higher than my eye level. Works just fine!

House Beautiful

I’ve been getting House Beautiful Magazine for years and years.  I love that magazine. House Beautiful online is just as amazing!

Dozens of articles on everything from home renovation to DIY projects to highlighting celebrity homes.

You can subscribe to the print version HERE, as well as their other sister magazines, Veranda and Elle Decor (which I also get!).

Apartment Therapy

In my post How to Personalize a Small Space Rental, I’ve included a video from Apartment Therapy showing two apartments with identical layouts but totally different vibes.

Apartment Therapy is one of my favorite decorating sites simply because it encompasses such a wide variety of decorating dilemmas…not just small space decor.

There never was a print version of the magazine but Maxwell Gillingham-Ryan, a co-founder of the website, has authored several books including Apartment Therapy’s Big Book of Small Cool Spaces where he shares “forty small, cool spaces that will change your thinking, forever.”  Now, that’s intriguing!


small yardAnother fabulous site for decorating ideas is Pinterest.

Seriously, if you need ideas for holiday decor or bathroom vanities or gardening in a small space, Pinterest is a great place to search. No print magazine…yet.

Even if you don’t need decorating ideas, you’ll find all sorts of hints, tips and solutions for healthy recipes or funny quotes, craft ideas, wall art, home based business ideas…you name it and I’ll bet you’ll find just what you’re looking for.

If you haven’t already, consider joining Pinterest…you can create your own Boards and save your favorite ideas from other Pinterest friends.

Start by visiting my Pinterest Boards…I’ve got 28 boards and more than a thousand pins!  One of my boards is Small Space Solutions.


The first decorating site I joined was Houzz.  

Houzz has thousands of decorating and DIY ideas for homes and gardens both large and small. There never was a print version of Houzz so I don’t have stacks of back issues all over my house!

But this online magazine is chock full of the best of decorating. There are videos, a forum where you can ask questions and share with other readers.

Create your own Ideabooks and save the ideas you love in whatever categories you choose.

Here’s a link to My Houzz Ideabooks. The picture here is one I saved to my Gardens Ideabook.

I have 25 Ideabooks covering every room in the house, holiday ideas, flooring, lighting…you name it! It’s a fabulous resource when I’m ready to try something new.

Better Homes and Gardens

The magazine is a favorite for multiple reasons…great recipes, all sorts of human interest stories and each issue usually focuses on a particular home improvement or decorating topic.

For example, the latest issue that I have (September 2018) is the “Find Your Style” issue showing the latest trends and ideas from BH&G experts.

So the online magazine is an expanded version with tons more ideas on just about every home living topic you can imagine. My immediate go-to is the Decorating Section on the Better Homes and Gardens site.

You can choose between a bunch of tabs…


There are many more online resources that I haven’t touched on but will add them from time to time.  But check out these links and please let me know your thoughts.

If you have favorite decorating sites, I’d love to include them.

Thank you for visiting…if you enjoyed this post, please share on Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest!

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Decorating Ideas from Pinterest

Pinterest LogoFind Small Space Decorating Ideas on Pinterest

Pinterest is a goldmine for small space decorating ideas. 

If I’m looking for a recipe or beautiful artwork or a clever quotation, I can always find dozens of ideas on Pinterest, one of the fastest growing social networks. It’s kind of the photo equivalent of Twitter!

My Pinterest Boards include Small Space Solutions, Home Style, Kitchens, Inspired Garden Ideas.

Except that instead of short 140 character posts, Pinterest is a collection of small photos representing dozens of interests.

For example, if I need ideas for storage in a small bedroom, kitchen or garage or a DIY tutorial for repurposing a dresser or buffet, I’ll check Pinterest, first.

Desert Landscape

Desert Landscape

I live in Arizona and recently bought a small house. The winter climate in Arizona is ideal but summers are sizzling so it was important for me to find landscaping ideas suitable for my small yard.

Pinterest was the first place I looked and I created a board called Arizona Landscaping Ideas. I’m still working on my landscaping but if you check out the ideas I’ve gathered, you’ll see that the desert can be just beautiful!

Search Pinterest for Small Space DIY Projects

I have a Pinterest board called Small Space Solutions where I post photographs and links that are excellent ideas for maximizing small spaces.  Like this clever idea for organizing jewelry:

Several of my related boards are:

Architectural Elements

Pinterest architecture

Home Style


Beautiful Homes, Inside and Out 

(including lots of small cottages/tiny houses)

pinterest beautiful tiny

Brilliant Miscellaneous Ideas

Pinterest Brilliant

Inspired Garden Ideas

Pinterest garden

Nearly every day I find something new to “pin”!

So check out my links and then join me on Pinterest…register if you aren’t there, already.

Then, let me know in the comments what your link is.

I’d love to follow you…perhaps I’ll find a new passion!