HGTV's Nate Berkus Has A Helpful Design Tip For A Stunning Outdoor Living Space

When warmer weather approaches, it's a good time to think about your outdoor living space. Too often the porch or patio is a combination of cast-off, aging, or hand-me-down furniture. Designer Nate Berkus has a few simple rules to make your outdoor area go from so-so to stunning with just a few design changes.

Berkus is an interior designer, author, and television personality. He also runs the Chicago-based interior design firm Nate Berkus Associates. To think like this popular designer, consider placement, scale, pattern, and the color rule Berkus follows for a streamlined backyard patio. It's simple and easy to follow. Whatever your preference is for your interiors should be repeated in your outdoor space. "Try to keep your design personality consistent," Berkus told MyDomaine. "For some reason, people abandon their design style when it comes to outdoor spaces. I've seen people live in a beautifully neutral space inside, and when you walk outside, it's all green and pink stripes."

Complement, don't copy

Berkus says to think of the patio or deck as an additional room. "Our outdoor spaces are an extension of our inside," Berkus says in the interview. He begins with the most important feature your outdoor space needs — comfortable, inviting seating. While there's a big difference between a formal living room and a casual patio, the approach to decorating is similar. Start with large, basic pieces, and add accessories for convenience or storage, as well as embellishments and accessories.

Take the example of a blue and white décor. Inside there are wood tones to compliment these colors, plus flooring, carpeting, and maybe wallpaper. Your interior may be more finished with furniture upholstered in leather or polished cotton while outside cushions are probably covered in more durable sailcloth or canvas. Even if the furniture in and out is the same color, the material will reflect light in different ways, and outside the color may look more saturated simply because there's more natural light.

For this reason, you may want to avoid identically matching your indoor and outdoor look and instead invest in a color family. Try using deep blue inside and lighter blue outside, for example, or a delicate pink blush inside but deep rose in the furniture or accents outdoors for a big visual impact. A color family allows you to stick with your main decorating shades from inside the house. Simply bring those favorite hues outdoors without adding an entirely new palette.

Add more style with patterns

Berkus also suggests using pattern and texture to compliment the basic seating arrangement, and these patterns can be as bold or delicate as you prefer. We've mentioned ways to revamp your outdoor living space including adding pillows, planters, or throws to build layers of comfort, add visual interest as well as a cozy vibe to your outdoor room. Add details just as you would indoors — keeping an eye on the size of the furniture and decorative pieces compared to the size of the space. A tiny patio is enhanced by a minimal amount of furniture, maybe a graceful café table and two chairs, while a large sectional will make a small space look even smaller.

In addition to furniture and accessories, emphasize the outdoor aspect placing pots of colorful flowers or herbs, large planters, or a mix of both near the seating area to make a gorgeous space for relaxing or entertaining all summer long. Hang lights for a romantic glow during summer evenings or add outdoor curtains to create an interesting vertical element. Once you have the basics for your design, you can create a stunning outdoor living space that reflects your style and personality. "For me, there's happiness in this season," Berkus tells MyDomaine. "There's a happiness inherent in entertaining ... and these spaces give us the opportunity to run free."