Can we tell you a secret? Our dream outdoor space always includes a living-room-style setup where all the comforts of home—couch, coffee table, accent chairs, and tray topped with glistening drinks—are placed in a breezy alfresco setting (typically under twinkling string lights).
Strike a Balance
Despite the traditional feel of this tufted outdoor set and what are typically considered indoor-only accents (note that table lamp), the addition of wall-hanging staghorn ferns anchors the space firmly outside. This stylish mash-up achieves that laid-back indoor-outdoor vibe that we all seek during summer months. You can throw your back door open and migrate from patio to living room and back as the mood strikes. If you buy your seats as a suite, mix in one-off pieces—side tables, garden stools, accent chairs—to achieve a layered, collected-over-time look.
Create a Movable Feast
If, for you, backyard entertaining is a fluid, anything-goes affair, consider multiple smaller tables in lieu of a single, central coffee table. This way you (and guests) can easily adjust the layout around conversation hubs: If people have pulled a couple of chairs together for a chat session, they can also pull over a table for their beverages.
Play Up the Power of Pairs
Symmetry is a classic designer ploy that makes even the most basic furnishings look chic and lends a sense of cohesion and order that seems effortless. Double down on the timelessness with never-going-out-of-style white upholstery, as elegant outside as it is indoors. Look for frames made of teak (it’s wildly weatherproof) and waterproof fabrics (Sunbrella makes some of our favorites).
Mix It Up
If your space is well covered (think sun porch or ample overhang), you can be more freewheeling with your furnishing materials, from chairs woven of rattan to jute or sisal rugs. And don’t forget about decorative accents—art, sculptures, candles. They’ll make your outdoor space seem like a seamless extension of your home’s stylish interior.
Define a Space
A living-room-style furniture placement will help you define a corner of your outdoor space where previously its purpose was unclear. If you use a tree as your anchor point, you have the added benefit of being able to hang lanterns above the seating area, adding an atmospheric glow once the sun has set.
Choose a Theme
Visual themes, whether color, pattern, texture, or material, are a decorating credo that designers lean on constantly. Once you’ve settled on a theme like stripes, the trick to keeping the chic from verging into crazy territory is to add in subtle but noticeable variations: a slight difference in color, in stripe width, in orientation (vertical stripes vs. horizontal stripes). In a color- or pattern-saturated space, a few neutral hits like baskets give your eyes a place to rest.