Breathe New Life Into Your Outdoor Living Room With Cozy Decorating Ideas

Breathe New Life Into Your Outdoor Living Room With Cozy Decorating Ideas

From: Marie Flanigan Interiors
Grab a Garden Stool
Garden stools are the unsung heroes of outdoor living rooms. These understated accents are budget-friendly, adaptable and serve as eye-catching solutions for just about any design obstacle that comes your way. Searching for a chic (but petite!) side table for your outdoor sofa? Grab a garden stool. Want to prop up your prized topiaries for detail trimming? Make garden stools your go-to. And if you need extra outdoor seating for your next neighborhood get-together — garden stools are here to save the day.
Shop Our Favorites: The Best Outdoor Side Tables and Garden Stools Under $300
Build Your Own Bar
Stay hydrated during the dog days of summer with a buzz-worthy DIY outdoor bar. Use our space-saving outdoor bar tutorial or repurpose one of your existing console tables with melamine drinkware and the fixings for your favorite seasonal cocktails. Load up the remaining space with necessities like water bottles, barware tools, an ice bucket and reusable straws.
From: Tiffany Brooks
Put Every Space to Work
Don’t let space go to waste! Maximize your patio or deck floorplan by capitalizing on empty corners to create cozy seating. Push your outdoor sofa or sectional flush to the corner or build an integrated bench modeled after the charming nook pictured here. Use your sofa or bench as the focal point for the space, then build off that with a weatherproof coffee table and a pair of lightweight outdoor chairs to complete the design.
Get the How-To: How to Build Outdoor Patio Bench with Ottoman
Plant Your Privacy Wall
Perk up your patio or balcony living area with potted trees. Potted trees work overtime to enliven outdoor spaces with lush green colors and add much-needed privacy from the neighbors. Another benefit? Trees draw the eye up, adding height and drama to your display. Here, potted magnolias, shrubs and ferns flank the outdoor sofas to enhance the symmetrical layout and stylishly fill negative space.
See More Photos: 45 Creative Ways to Add Backyard Privacy
Create Zones
Make your outdoor living room feel larger by outfitting adjacent spaces with furnishings in the same style and color scheme. While the covered area here is meant for shady lounging and grilling out, the narrow area beside it has been designated for full-sun conversations.
From: Brian Patrick Flynn
Throw On a Skirt
Soften the sea of wicker, metal and acacia wood furnishings in your outdoor space with a well-dressed storage table. Interior designer Danielle Rollins dresses this outdoor console in a tailored all-weather skirt; the striped navy number disguises outdoor necessities like bug repellent and gardening shoes and serves as an effortless continuation of the sophisticated silhouettes at play indoors.
Get the How-To: How to Make a Sink Skirt
Reflect Your Surroundings
Make your outdoor living space appear larger and lovelier in one fell swoop with an artful mirror install. Mirrors reflect your surroundings and rebound natural light, visually expanding and brightening your outdoor space. Select a mirror style keeping with your existing interior design aesthetic to achieve seamless indoor-outdoor cohesion. Pro tip: Skip the shatter-prone glass mirrors and invest in a durable, all-weather acrylic mirror with a metal frame instead.
From: Turnstyle Interior Design
Study Symmetry
Want to know a failproof trick to achieve a designer-worthy design every time? Symmetry, symmetry, symmetry. When in doubt, double up your furniture or decor items to create a symmetrical vignette à la this dreamy patio by Lloyd Fleischer Landscape Design. This elegant technique is a staple in traditional interiors and translates just as beautifully when used in the great outdoors. Here, twin sofas flank a roaring white brick fireplace, facing each other for easy enjoyment of nightcaps and convo. Below the sofa arms, a pair of matching accent stools mirror each other and add to the space's tailored appeal.
From: Lloyd Fleischer Landscape Design
Small Space? Scale Down
If you’re married to the idea of twin outdoor sofas, but your wallet isn’t as keen on the concept as you are — we’ve got you covered. You can achieve big style on a small scale (and modest budget!) by skipping the outdoor sofas altogether and using a pair of twin loveseats instead. Here, designer Tiffany Brooks arranges a pair of curved wicker loveseats to face each other traditionally and frame doors to the adjacent primary bedroom beyond. A concrete coffee table of the same smaller scale tucks between the loveseats to round out the symmetrical design.
Another way to get this look with your existing furniture? Put four outdoor chairs in a similar symmetrical arrangement with two chairs side-by-side facing another pair in the same position. Use a few garden stools to create a coffee table between the chairs and voila!
From: Tiffany Brooks
Heat Things Up
Use your surroundings to inspire the color palette for your outdoor living space. If your fire pit or fire table is the focal point for your patio, take cues from the flames and incorporate fiery hues through fabric accents like pillows covers, area rugs or throw blankets. Here, Kiesel Design enlists rich rust and red-toned cushions to bring depth to this charcoal sectional; When the fire table ignites, the vibrant textiles pair seamlessly with the flames for a lively, cohesive look.
From: Kiesel Design
Play With Your Furniture
Modular outdoor sofas offer endless configuration options. In this sunny spot, an armless module is paired with a corner section to create an impromptu lounge. When this area is not in use, these two modules can be added to the end of the three-seater sofa in the adjacent covered space to create a more traditional sectional.
From: Brian Patrick Flynn
Add a Pergola
Anchor your outdoor lounge furniture with an inviting, space-defining pergola. Pergolas add height to your living space and offer ample styling opportunities. String bistro lights overhead for glowing conversations well after dark, install breezy outdoor curtains for privacy or escape the sun with a retractable pergola shade canopy .
From: Brian Patrick Flynn
Get Your Glow On
Remember, friend: ambiance is everything. All you need to take your outdoor living room design from a modest 5 to a head-turning 10 are strategically draped bistro lights twinkling overhead. For a deck or balcony, anchor your string lights with an integrated pole like this contemporary rooftop lounge. And if you want to add some sparkle to your garden patio, invest in a pronged yard pole kit to secure your twinklers into your lawn.
Shop Our Favorites: The Best Outdoor String Lights for Every Space
Opt for Foldable Seating
Collapsible safari chairs are an excellent solution for outdoor spaces short on seating. When the space is in use, these chairs add a collected vibe and can be dressed up with pillows. Whenever the space is not in use, they can be folded and stored away in a snap.
From: Brian Patrick Flynn
Accessorize Your Adirondacks
Adirondack chairs are mainstays for outdoor living areas thanks to their iconic silhouette and comfortable reclined design. That said, sometimes Adirondack chairs feel a bit stark and need a little something-something to achieve the same coziness as an outdoor sofa. Soften your Adirondacks’ sharp edges with a set of plush, pattern-clad pillows and coordinating acrylic throws. Bonus points are up for grabs if you swap out your accessories with the seasons.
From: Brian Patrick Flynn
More Is More
Trick the eye into seeing large (read: luxe) outdoor furniture by arranging several small pieces to appear as one. Here, three pine potting benches sit side-by-side, creating the look of a continuous piece. The grouped pieces offer up generous storage and work space and create a charming backdrop for the alfresco lounge. Apply this technique in your outdoor space by lining up pieces like side tables, floral trellises or dining benches.
Get the How-To: How to Make a Gardener's Potting Bench
Add Pattern Underfoot
Add an extra layer of comfort with a large-scale indoor-outdoor area rug. To prolong the rug's longevity, be sure to bring them inside or roll them into storage each winter.
From: Brian Patrick Flynn
Make Furniture Multifunctional
Employ your outdoor dining set to double as an alfresco living space with a few inviting accessories. Line each chairback with showy toss pillows to offer guests a soft spot to land and drape the chair arms with fringe-trimmed blankets for an easy pop of color and comfort on breezy nights. Incorporating these lounge-worthy accessories will give the dining set a laidback appeal that's perfect for savoring a good bottle of wine with great friends.
From: Brian Patrick Flynn
Escape the Sun
Keep your sunburns and melasma at bay by outfitting your outdoor living space with an oversized umbrella to shield your patio furniture from the harsh UV rays. Not only will a substantial umbrella guard your skin against the sweltering sun, but it will also slow the fading and damage the sun can cause to features like outdoor upholstery, natural woven rugs and stained decks.
From: Molly Wood
Double Up on Shade
If an oversized umbrella sounds like it may overwhelm your outdoor space, we have another chic, shady idea: buy two normal-sized umbrellas instead. Treat yourself to a pair of matching patio umbrellas in a color or pattern that's complementary to your existing outdoor furniture. Flank your patio’s outdoor area rug with the matching umbrellas to create a defined, resort-style area that shines as the focal point of your backyard design.
Shop Our Favorites: The Best Outdoor Patio Umbrellas for Your Backyard
Shake Up Shapes
Since most sectionals, sofas or love seats are rectangular, mix things up a bit by introducing side tables in sculptural, geometric shapes to add visual interest to all the right corners.
From: Brian Patrick Flynn
Just add Water
All you need to turn your existing patio into a soothing, spa-like oasis is one magic ingredient: water. Install a water fountain to your exterior or garden wall to serve as a natural focal point for the outdoor living space. Arrange your all-weather sofa, daybed or accent chairs nearby to enjoy the melodic sounds of trickling water while you stretch out under the sun. Not sure if you want to commit to an integrated feature? Achieve similar relaxing results with a tabletop water fountain instead.
From: Bronwyn Poole
Pare Back for Impact
It’s tempting to pile crisp white outdoor furniture with colorful blankets and pillows, but this minimally accesorized pair of chaise longues remind us of the power of restraint. If you love your existing outdoor furniture sans the extra fluff, lean into a minimalist aesthetic. Weave a single accent hue throughout your outdoor living space to allow your furniture silhouettes to shine and achieve a pared-back polished result. Here, interior designer Ashley Gilbreath uses a single marigold cushion to add a dash of color to each streamlined sofa poised for fireside conversation.
From: Ashley Gilbreath
Find Your Focal Point
Before committing to a space plan; first, consider the best focal point to enjoy from the comfort of your outdoor living space. Here, the pool is the star of the backyard, so by orienting the furniture to look out at the water, guests have an instant conversation-starter. Plus, it's great for encouraging interaction between those lounging and those taking a dip.
From: Brian Patrick Flynn
Select Space-Saving Silhouettes
If your existing outdoor living space feels cramped when guests arrive, your coffee table may be the problem. But not to fret, friend — the solution is simple. Replace your square or rectangular coffee table with a round alternative. A circular table will free up valuable walking space, maximize legroom and cater to more guests than would be possible with angled tables.
From: THELIFESTYLEDCO
Hang Out
Feel pressed for more outdoor seating? Think outside the box (read: conventional floorplan) and elevate your patio, deck or porch by taking advantage of the available vertical space. Suspend hammocks or egg chairs from rafters and joists for a playful seating option that adults will love just as much as kids. Plus, hanging hammock chairs free up the floor space allowing for easy maneuvering with a crowd.
From: Amy Elbaum
Ease Into Color
If you're apprehensive to go big with color inside your home, conquer your fear by popping in lots of outdoor color with removable pieces like floor cushions and throw pillows. To ensure the pillows add visual depth, choose ones with texture, pattern and color.
From: Brian Patrick Flynn
Make the Curtain Call
Dial-up the drama in your backyard design and escape the eyes of your nosey neighbors at once with this elegant outdoor living room addition: curtains. Light-diffusing, all-weather curtains installed on a patio ceiling or deck pergola create a cozy, alfresco retreat that feels like a sophisticated continuation of your home's interior. Make this ethereal outdoor lounge by Marcus Mohon Interiors your muse and opt for soft white sheers for timeless appeal. For a patio with panache, install kicky, black-and-white cabana stripe curtains, instead.
From: Marcus Mohon Interiors
Cozy Up Outside
This covered patio is transformed into a full-fledged outdoor living room by mixing in cozy furnishings. For cohesiveness, the dusty tones of the brick are carried throughout the space as an accent color of blush pink set against a dominant blue-gray hue.

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