No matter where you live, the summer months mean outdoor living. From the balmy Floridian coasts to the always temperate shores of southern California, we begin a mass exodus outdoors after Labor Day.
If your outdoor space isn’t what you’d like for it to be, we can help. The team at Modloft is passionate about the use of outdoor space as part of your total living area. Outdoor space should be inviting, relaxing, and able to withstand wear and tear from season to season.
You don’t need an excessive amount of landscape to create an outdoor living space that is functional and comfortable. With the right pieces, even a small patio or porch can give you the big feeling of outdoor living.
We’ll tell you how to create your perfect outdoor space, from the essentials every space must have, to the extras that can complete your space and make it more aesthetically pleasing. From balconies to pool decks, we’ll help you get your space ready for summer entertaining.
Essentials for Any Outdoor Space
Outdoor living areas go hand and hand with relaxation. Even if you plan to use your outdoor space to get work done, you’ll likely spend most of your time outdoors relaxing and entertaining your family and friends. As such, comfort is crucial.
Investing in outdoor furniture that focus first on function can help ensure you have pieces that you and your guests will actually want to use. No matter how beautiful a particular piece may be in form, if it fails on function the comfort factor will be missing and your outdoor space won’t see as much activity.
Here are the essential items you absolutely must have for any outdoor space, large or small.
It goes without saying you will need a place to sit. The size of your outdoor space will determine how much seating you can afford. If you have a small stoop, for instance, you may have room for one small chair. This can still create a great space for a solo occupant.
The biggest rule of thumb is to never attempt to put too much seating in your space. Even if your space accommodates a chair, small couch, and table, if there isn’t enough space to comfortably walk around the pieces of furniture, it will not be a comfortable place to sit.
- Seating for small spaces (stoops, balconies). For small spaces, consider single or double occupants. If you are very limited on space, a great option for a single occupant is a chair with a stowable ottoman.
A stowable ottoman allows you to effectively add workspace, snack space (we’re looking at you charcuterie for one), a leg or footrest, or another optional seat to your space when needed.
- Seating for medium sized spaces (patios, small decks). When you have a larger space, you can begin to add a few more pieces of furniture. While you still won’t want to crowd the space, plan on being able to accommodate at least two seated persons, maybe three if space allows.
This space is perfect for a pairing of two chairs and a small table, allowing each guest to have their own dedicated seat and a place to sit a drink. Depending on your size, you may have to scale back on the chairs, or even opt for a larger bistro set.
If you have the space, lounge chairs are a very comfortable and classic option paired with an accent table. Using a larger coffee table is possible as long as you have the space to allow for guests to move comfortably around the chairs and table.
- Seating for large spaces (full decks, screened in porches, larger patios). When you have plenty of space, you can invest in some much larger outdoor furniture. Beginning with a sectional is a great idea, and most sectionals are able to be reconfigured to fit your space as you need.
You can easily use a sectional as your main seating area and add a smaller, more private seating area in another area of your space. Two dedicated seating areas is a great idea, especially if you entertain large groups.
If sectionals don’t mesh with your aesthetics, there are large couches to accommodate multiple people at a time. The Clifton sofa is perfect for a space that calls for understated elegance. This couch has robust cushions that will don’t wither or deflate with constant use or exposure to some of the harsher elements. With four accompanying throw pillows, this couch will be a family favorite.
If you still need more seating real estate, consider pairing the Clifton sofa with a matching lounge chair. This type of seating arrangement allows for not only visual depth and variety but extra seating for those who prefer their own space while still conversing with the group.
Seating for your outdoor space should be aesthetically appealing and low maintenance. You’ll end up spending more time in a space that is comfortable and visually stimulating than just one or the other.
Surfaces in your outdoor space will be used for numerous different activities. Whether you are eating, enjoying a game, or simply in need of a place to sit your favorite glass of whiskey, your outdoor surfaces should be stain resistant, sturdy, and large enough to accommodate your items.
Here’s what we suggest for every size outdoor space.
- For small spaces. Even the smallest space can house a place to sit your cup. The smallest outdoor table style is an accent table, with dimensions just large enough to hold a cup of coffee and a book. Anything larger than an accent table in a small space can be overpowering, and can prevent you from the ability to use any other type of decorative accent you may want in the space.
- For medium spaces. Medium sized spaces are large enough for two people to share a quick meal or snack on a cocktail table. Alternatively, if you’d prefer not to use one single table, dual matching accent tables can also be used in a medium sized space.
Avoid attempting to fit a dining table in a medium sized space that simply cannot handle it. You’ll end up with a cramped space that doesn’t allow dining table chairs to push in and out comfortably and must be placed so closely together guests aren’t able to relax.
- For large spaces. You can generally segregate a large space into two separate sections: an area for a dining table and chairs, and an area for relaxation.
For areas that can hold a full sized table, opt for simplistic designs that don’t overpower your space and allow the focus to remain on the beauty of nature surrounding the area.
Look for chairs that aren’t cumbersome, and feel casual. Easy cleaning and maintenance should also be high on your list of outdoor dining chair essentials.
For instance, the Clifton dining chair: Marrying dark and light color tones, this comfy chair is the perfect outdoor eye-catching feature. The stainless steel and fade-resistant fabric ensure this piece of furniture will be a long-lasting investment. For easy cleaning, this chair is constructed from quick-drying foam (also ideal for bouncing back from rainy days).
Outdoor Space Extras
You’ve got the basics, now it’s time to design the space with your own personal style. You can decorate your outdoor space just like you would the interior of your home. Here are a few tips to keep it simple.
- Allow nature to decorate for you. Whether your outdoor space has a beautiful view, or is obstructed by another building, always allow the outdoor element to take center stage in your space.
Even if you are surrounded by other buildings, your view of the sky can take on a Sistine Chapel like quality if you add elements like hanging plants to draw eyes upward.
- Use plants. Plants help keep the flow of nature present in your outdoor space.
Even if you feel you don’t have a green thumb, there are always plants that don’t require much care and still make a beautiful decorative statement. Succulents require very little maintenance and often have a unique look that draws attention.
- Consider an outdoor rug. If your space allows, an outdoor rug can make any area look cozier. Rugs add a layer of texture to your design and also give you the option to bare your feet.
Outdoor rugs are designed to wick away moisture and resist the development of mold and mildew. If you attempt to use an indoor rug outside, you’ll likely encounter soaked fibers that seem to never dry, and the presence of molds and mildew.
- Plan for shade. Some spaces are in direct sunlight, and if you live in a particularly warm area it can make those outdoor spaces seem unusable.
Reclaim your space by incorporating as much shade as possible. If you have an attached patio, a retractable shade is a great option. If not, using an umbrella is a good idea. Make sure you can close the umbrella when not in use to prevent it from wind damage, and to encourage use of your space in the evenings.
When considering how to create the perfect outdoor space, avoid feeling like you have too little or too much space to work with. You can easily accommodate any space with the right pieces of furniture and accents.
If you’ve already got your outdoor space ready for summer, check out our outdoor furniture cleaning and care guide for tips and tricks on how to keep your patio set looking great all season long.
Modloft is your solution for outdoor furniture that looks beautiful and is always comfortable and functional. Our pieces are crafted with precision and durability, so you can enjoy your space for years to come.
How to Care for Succulents (And Not Kill Them): 9 Plant-Care Tips | Architectural Digest
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