Patio Decorating Ideas to Stand Out from the Crowd

Practical Patio Decorating Ideas for Comfort and Style All Season Long

Wicker sofa with pillows on a patio with

Spring is in the air, no doubt. And with that hint of warmer weather, we all know patio season is right around the corner. But there’s no need to battle delivery time delays or crowds at your local hardware store. Creating a stylish patio that is functional and stylish isn’t as difficult as you may imagine. Read on for the patio decorating ideas that are at the top of our list.

RELATED: Inspiring Spring and Summertime Paint Color Palettes

Use Every Inch of Your Outdoor Space 

Not every outdoor space is exactly the same. You may have a balcony off of your condo, or, a sweeping backyard that runs straight into the woods. Or, your lawn may slowly meander down to the lakefront. Whatever your situation, you need patio furniture and decor that fits your space and needs. And while you can always arrange your furniture on a deck or underneath a gazebo, don’t be afraid to branch out and try new things. Consider all of those unused areas of your yard. Do you have a corner that feels barren and bland? Add a hammock and make it a comfortable reading nook! Wondering how to entertain your guests on the pier without having to lug down a cooler every time? Build a bar for easy drink and appetizer access! Every inch of your outdoor space is game. 

RELATED: 5 Tips for Outdoor Entertaining Spaces

Patio decorating ideas for a garden backyard
Spring and summer aren’t complete without a tranquil corner to fully relax in. In this garden, an otherwise-unused corner becomes a getaway for peace and reflection.
Corner hammock chair on comfortable wood deck, patio decorating ideas
A swinging hammock chair and potted plants create a haven out of a previously-bare section of this deck.
White Adirondack chairs are great patio decorating ideas
Overlooking the lake, these comfortable Adirondack chairs provide a space to admire the sunset in good company – all while nursing a summer cocktail in hand.
Patio decorating ideas for outdoor dining
Underneath a canopy of greenery, this outdoor dining space makes use of every square inch strategically. Between a built-in bar, ample seating, and an explosion of plant life around the deck, it’s the perfect space to enjoy a spring or summer evening.

DIY

Of course, utilizing those forgotten areas of your backyard and patio typically calls for a more customized approach (versus buying a one-size-fits-all patio set). So, brush off those paintbrushes and get those drills charged up – DIY solutions may be your best bet. If that sounds a bit terrifying, we promise it isn’t as intimidating as it sounds. Creating a comfortable and practical seating area can be as straightforward as recycling pallets and using a few cinder blocks. In fact, the beauty of these DIY solutions is that you can create everything from a standing bar to an ultra-plush lounge sectional – all fit to the exact specifications you desire.

Patio Decorating Ideas for Wood Pallet Furniture
A wood pallet DIY project of a convenient outdoor coffee table makes this previously-unused corner a calming retreat. DIY Pallet Patio Furniture Ideas
Patio Decorating Ideas for Backyard Wood Pallet Plant Wall DIY
By mounting a wood pallet vertically on an exterior wall, this backyard got an instant style upgrade and a built-in garden to boot. Best Pallet Garden Ideas

 

Vintage/Repair

If DIY life isn’t exactly what you had in mind, you can always give new life to shabby or vintage patio furniture instead. Adding in vintage pieces instead of a store-bought set is one of my favorite ways to put personality on a patio. In fact, it’s one of the most popular patio decorating ideas out there and so much more fun! Especially if you long for a more eclectic and unique patio design, hunting for show stopping vintage finds could be your best bet. Everything from sculpted iron chairs to bistro sets await – you just have to keep your eyes peeled. And if that isn’t exactly your style? Well, there’s nothing wrong with upcycling a patio set that has seen better days. A fresh coat of paint can work wonders on an outdated set, and apart from being budget-friendly, it also gives you the option to totally customize your color palette.

Patio Decorating Ideas for Painting Vintage Furniture
Repairing your furniture can be as easy as adding a fresh coat of paint. With a new bright blue hue, these chairs add a fun, stylish and budget-friendly addition to an outdoor space.
Patio Decorating Ideas for refurbishing vintage furniture
This vintage wrought-iron bistro patio furniture set with it’s slightly weathered paint left as-is is a bright and cheerful space to enjoy a cup of coffee and soak up the rays of the sun.

Fabrics

Patio furniture absolutely must be comfortable. And while you can certainly sit on a wood chair or bench for, say, a meal, that’s about it. Anything longer than that and you will long for the plush relaxation of a hammock or lounge chair. So, choosing the right upholstery is essential. Whether you’re creating your own chair pads or sofa cushions, or shopping pre-made ones at your favorite store, there are a few things to keep in mind. First – remember that having outdoor fabric is non-negotiable. You don’t want to have to run outside every time it rains just to pile all of your cushions in the shed or garage. Keep it weather-friendly and you’ll really be able to enjoy it. Second –  remember that fabrics fade over time. You may want to hunt for outdoor fabrics that specialize in sun protection, but if that isn’t an option, consider adding in strategic shade around your patio via umbrellas or pergolas.

Patio Decorating Ideas with Outdoor Fabric for Durability
Using Sunbrella fabric, this indoor bench provides the perfect space for relaxing after an afternoon in the pool. No need to worry about any water damage! It’s made for functionality. (Interior Design by Carla Bast | Carla Bast Design)

RELATED: How Much Shiplap is Too Much?

 

Patio Decorating Ideas for Porch Swings
Even with a porch swing that is protected from the elements, it’s still a must to use outdoor fabrics. A combination of varying blue shades and patterns make this swing pop against the blue-green exterior paint.

 

Add Plants

Finally, a roundup of patio decorating ideas isn’t complete without a touch of life. And while you can always throw in a few decor pops (like footstools, lanterns, cafe lighting, and throw pillows), you also want your space to feel natural and outdoor-inspired. Plants and flowers always do the trick. You can, of course, simply add a few potted plants for a touch of greenery here and there. But plants are also great solutions if you need to add privacy to your space. Try building a DIY plant wall to keep prying neighbor eyes away. Or make it a goal to install a few trellises for a climbing ivy to take root and re-emerge year after year. Before you know it, you’ll have a texture-filled garden that will rival the best in the English countryside.

Patio Decorating Ideas for Privacy Plants
A wall of plants behind this patio set provide a dose of texture while also giving the home’s residents plenty of privacy.
Patio Decorating Ideas for Potted Plants and Gardens
Adding potted flowers is a simple, yet impactful, way to incorporate height, texture, and visual interest. Be sure to vary your colors and flower types for a curated look.

If creating your patio is top of mind right now (and who could blame you?), then this list is definitely for you. And if you want to create something that feels fun and unique, give a few of these tips a try. You can – and should – skip the big box sets and go for style that’s truly yours. From mix & match furniture to an eclectic array of decor and privacy plants, you simply can’t go wrong with a patio that’s practical (and chic) in every way.

By Megan Johansson, Contributor to Carla Bast Design

11 Responses

  1. What a lovely, timely post. I think I’ll go outside and look at my porches with a fresh eye and your ideas on my brain. Thanks!

  2. This post put me in the mood for balcony living- immediately! I love the idea of the hanging chair in an unused corner. Thanks for so many great tips!

  3. Carla – loved all these ideas and especially curating a mix of furniture and repurposing old furniture. About to do a large terrace for a condo and this has inspired me! Thanks!

  4. I love so many of your ideas! I also talked about decorating our outdoor spaces this week. Thank goodness Spring is in the air!! Great post, so inspiring!

  5. I am so inspired by these ideas and beautiful photographs! Thank you for the boost to get some projects done!

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