Five Tips for Designing a Small Patio

Small spaces can be cozy and quaint, but designing a small patio can also be a challenge. You don’t want to overwhelm you space and make it feel cramped. Instead, follow some design rules to keep it feeling charming—like a secret hideout away from the hustle and bustle of the world. Here are five tips:

designing a small patio

Go All In With Color

Small patios can feature bright colors that might overwhelm a large space if used in a similar proportion. Bold primary colors, like red, yellow and blue can also give your space a rich feeling. Mix bright blue and green for a seaside feel, or use pastel or ice cream colors for a whimsical sense of fun.

designing a small patio

Find the Right Scale Furniture

Choose furnishings that look more streamlined and won’t eat up your floor space. You can find chairs, sofas, dining tables and even sectionals in a smaller scale. Or consider a backless settee or ottoman that can be used as seating as well as a table. Furniture with sleek frames are visually lighter and create a more open feel in your patio.

Choose Bench Seating

For dining, select a table that has a bench, which will take up less floor space and will tuck under when not in use, providing more area to walk. You can also use a bench with a back against a wall, which has a similar feel and benefit to banquette seating that saves space in a small kitchen.

Include a “Ceiling”

Make the space feel cozy and intimate by creating a ceiling. You can use a large umbrella, especially one that is on a cantilever that frees up floor space. Another option is a pergola. Or simply string lights from one side to another.

Add an Outdoor Rug

An outdoor rug help define a space and in a small patio it can give the impression of more square footage. Stripes lengthen a space, or choose a light neutral color.

How to Use Indoor Furniture Outside

The trend in backyard living is creating spaces that look like they belong indoors. Materials for outdoor furnishings have come a long way, and look like they belong inside. However, if you have a covered patio, it’s possible to use indoor furniture outside. Mixing indoor and outdoor pieces will create an eclectic look that expands your home’s square footage with the feel of an outdoor room.

Here are some ideas to get your started:

Use indoor furniture outside
Pinterest/House Beautiful
Use wingback chairs

Place them in your seating group or on the end of your outdoor rectangular table, mixing with your regular outdoor dining chairs. This will instantly update your patio or deck with a traditional twist, adding color and perhaps pattern to your space.

use indoor furniture outside
Pinterest/Gardenista
Bring your sofa outdoors

Create the ultimate space to unwind by using your indoor sofa or loveseat on your covered patio or deck. Deep cushions will add the ultimate in comfort, and it will make your space inviting and luxurious.

use indoor furniture outside
Pinterest/Dream Garden
Add a decorative chest

Create a storage spot by using a decorative chest or nightstand as an outdoor end table. You can keep things like sunscreen, bug spray, towels and candles inside drawers. If you choose a colorful piece, you’ll add a pop of color, as well.

use indoor furniture outside

Decorate with ceramic accents

Make sure to accessorize your space just as you would your indoor rooms. Ceramic accents can weather the elements, so choose decorative pieces as well as bowls or trays that can also be used for serving.

Protect your pieces

It’s important to know that indoor fabrics are at risk of fading as well as harboring mildew in damp conditions. Make sure your pieces are protected, or replace cushions with upholstery that is meant to be outdoors. In addition, wood pieces that are left outside should be treated with a weatherproofing sealant to prevent fading, splinters and rot. You can find a sealant at your local hardware or home improvement store. You can also choose a weatherproof paint that will protect wood or metal furniture from the elements.

How to Choose an Outdoor Rug

One of the best ways to turn your patio or deck into an inviting and cozy outdoor room is to add an outdoor rug. A rug brings color, texture and a sense of cohesion to a group of furnishings. It also helps to protect the deck wood or patio pavers.

When you shop for an outdoor rug, prepare to be pleasantly surprised by new designs and materials. In fact, today’s options are as colorful and stylish as the rugs you use inside. So how do you choose the right one?

how to choose an outdoor rug

Size and Shape

Outdoor rugs come in a variety of dimensions. To find the right size, consider the area you want to cover. Measure your patio, deck or porch and pay attention to architectural details, like pillars or stairs. If you are adding a rug to a dining group, make sure it’s large enough to accommodate the chairs. The rule of thumb is that a rug should be at least two feet wider than all sides of the table. For a seating group, make sure the rug is large enough to allow the front legs of the furniture to be placed on the rug.

Choose the shape by looking at how your furniture is grouped. A round patio table, for example, looks best over a round rug. Seating groups are best defined by a square or rectangular rug that mimics the layout.

Outdoor Rug 2

Material

Outdoor rugs need to hold up to a variety of weather conditions, and natural and synthetic materials are available that withstand the elements. Natural fibers, such as sisal, jute and seagrass, provide a bit of texture. They can mildew when exposed to too much moisture, so they do require extra care. Natural might be a good choice if your outdoor area is covered or if you’re willing to bring the rug inside during the off-season or periodically hang it to dry. Synthetic fibers, such as polypropylene or acrylic, come in a wider range of colors than natural rugs and are extremely durable. They have the added benefit of drying quickly and are often less expensive.

Outdoor Rug 3

Color and Pattern

Outdoor rugs come in every color under the sun, and patterns are available that will enhance your style. When choosing a color, look to the surrounding area for inspiration. Choose a palette from your landscape, or pick shades that evoke the feeling you want to create. For example, bright yellow or orange will create a vibrant setting, while neutral colors allow your furnishings to take center stage.

Create a unified feeling by choosing patterns that are similar to your indoor décor. For example, if your indoor style is traditional, you might go with floral patterns. Contemporary homes will look great with geometric or abstract patterns.

When you’re ready to add a rug to your patio or deck, check out all of the options available from Art Van Furniture by clicking here.

Impromptu Summer Party Tips

Summer and celebrating go hand in hand. Holidays are a natural reason to gather, but just warm weather provides a good excuse to call some friends and throw an impromptu bash. Once you’ve got your menu together, it’s time to think about ambiance and activities. Here are four summer party tips for a laidback event.

 

Get plenty of seating

Encourage your guests to linger outside by using a comfortable sectional. You can also put out plenty of chairs; stackable chairs are a great option for events. Or ask guests to bring their own. You can also set out blankets and tablecloths that will invite people to sit on the lawn.

Decorate!

Choose a fun theme for your summer party. You could go Americana with red, white and blue. Or go with a tropical palette, featuring colors of the water and beach. Or take your cue from ice cream colors, with shades of strawberry, pistachio and banana. Use colorful tablecloths. Hang lanterns or lights, and set a magical atmosphere for fun.

Plan activities

While gathering with friends is fun, think ahead and plan activities and games to keep kids and adults busy. Play charades. Put out bottles of bubbles or get a beanbag toss game. Set up croquet, or rent a karaoke machine.

summer party tips

Prepare for the weather

If it’s hot, so you’ll want to provide shade or other ways for guests to cool off and get out of the heat. Use a big umbrella over dining tables or a portable gazebo. Plan your event around the best time of day for your yard and the sun. Or include wet ways for your friends to chill, such as sprinklers, squirt guns or misters. When the sun goes down, it can get chilly. If your party is at night, consider getting a firepit that will take the crisp out of the night, or set out blankets and sweaters.

Enjoy the summer with friends and family, and you’ll have lots of memories for when the weather turns cold.

Simple Summer Party Tips

summer party tips

The summer is filled with lots of reasons to celebrate. From holidays to birthdays, graduation parties and more, plan a party to enjoy the season with friends and family. The best part of summer parties is that they’re often casual and laidback. That means your job is easier. Here are three summer party tips for getting the right food and refreshments for your backyard gathering.

Focus on fun not fuss

Choose foods that are easy to prepare, cook and serve. Traditional barbecue fare such as burgers (psst … get the premade patties) and hot dogs seem almost effortless when prepared on the grill. Or prepare foods like ribs or chicken the day before and finish them on the grill. Add simple side dishes like pasta or potato salad, fruit and veggie trays, chips, cookies and brownies, and you’re ready for a crowd.

Make it simple

While you can provide all of the food, consider throwing a potluck and asking guests to bring a dish to pass. You’ll spread the responsibility and cost, and guests can show off their favorite dishes. You can also call the caterer or grab your favorite takeout, like fried chicken or subs. While food is an important part of the day, the emphasis should be on fun. Whatever you choose, aim to make it simple and easy.

summer party tips

Don’t forget drinks

Provide coolers with a variety of beverages so guests can help themselves. Canned beverages are convenient, or you can set out pitcher of lemonade, water, and have plenty of cups. Have Sharpie markers on hand so your friends can write their names on their glasses; this will keep everyone’s drinks straight and eliminate unnecessary waste. Create a signature drink for the party–alcoholic or non. It’s easiest to limit the choices. Or ask guests to BYOB!

Parties often revolve around food, so take some time to make smart choices, and enjoy the day!