Decorating Tips To Help Maximize Your Outdoor Living Space

Imagine summer evenings filled with dinner al fresco, sitting on comfy sofas laughing with friends, or grilling with your family. Expanding your living space and enjoying indoor-outdoor entertainment or relaxation is one of the joys of warm weather. It may seem like you need a large outdoor space to achieve this. You may have searched for inspiration and seen wrap-around decks or large patios with gorgeous, defined spaces. You may have wondered if a deck expansion is the right move to help you enjoy the outdoors.

Deck expansions carry a hefty price tag, and they aren't always possible. For those living in apartments or condos or who don't have the space to expand, you can make the most of your small outdoor space. Having a small deck doesn't mean it can't look like it came right out of a glossy design magazine. With the right tips, you can maximize these tight spaces to create an outdoor oasis.

Get Creative and Double Up

The trick with small spaces is to allow your creativity to find new ways to do things. Maximize your available deck space by allowing your furniture to play double duty. This will keep your deck from looking cluttered while still giving you all the entertainment spaces you desire. Bench storage is a great option for small decks. Hollow benches where the seats lift are a great place to keep outdoor linens like blankets and seat cushions. You can also keep gardening tools and supplies out of sight when not in use, says Bob Vila. How about stashing away bug spray, sunblock, and pest deterrents, so they're within reach when you're enjoying the outdoors?

Fire pit dining tables are perfect for anyone who wants to entertain. These allow you to have a meal while also enjoying a fire feature. If you don't have room for a full dining table, opt for a smaller fire pit with a table rim. You'll still be able to place drinks or plates down without taking up a lot of room on your deck.

Choose the Right Furniture

With a small space, choosing the right furniture is crucial. Before purchasing new patio furniture, make sure the dimensions are right for your deck. You don't want a sofa or table to be a few inches too long. Also, keep in mind the visual weight of the furniture. Bulky furniture will make a tight deck look even more cramped, highlighting the lack of space. Opt for minimalist furniture with clean lines and negative space. For example, choose a sofa where you can see the space between the legs. That will help create an airy feel that tricks the eye into seeing the space as larger. Glass furniture accomplishes the same goal, says Extra Space Storage.

When furnishing a small deck, you want to utilize the space well. An L-shaped sofa is a great way to add more seating while using every nook and cranny available. Benches maximize seating options and take up less space than chairs.

Utilize Vertical Space

If you can't expand out, go up. Use the space above your deck for decorations that enhance the atmosphere. A vertical garden saves floor space and is a great way to add greenery to your deck. According to Family Handyman, you can plant herbs like thyme, chives, sage, basil, and mint in small containers to use in your cooking throughout the summer. Or have flower pots that add a pop of color. You can even use a trellis with vining plants like ivy to help give your deck some privacy.

You may also want to consider stringing lights over your deck. String lights will cast a warm glow over your deck so you can enjoy it well into the night. If your deck has a roof over it, installing a hanging or hammock chair is a great way to save on floor space. Look for softer materials like canvas or woven cotton that allow you to fold up the chair when not in use.

Embrace Coziness Through Details

Having a small space doesn't mean it should feel sterile for the sake of not getting too cluttered. If your outdoor space feels like an extension of the indoors, then you'll want to spend time enjoying it. So embrace the coziness through decor details. Outdoor drapery creates privacy, which helps your patio feel like an outdoor oasis. They can also keep out the sun rays, offering you protection from harmful UV and heat, says Better Homes & Gardens, making your deck a more enjoyable place to be. Small details like throw pillows and container plants are also a great way to make your deck more comfortable. These decor items will allow the homey feeling to flow from the inside out. Just don't go overboard adding these decor items so your deck doesn't feel cluttered.

The last thing you can do to maximize your small deck is to use a cohesive color scheme. Neutral colors are ideal for furniture, and you can add pops of color with decor details. But beware, too many colors can overwhelm a small space, so try to stick to three.