7 Design Trends to Transform Your Outdoor Space

From coast to coast, patio season is near—and with it, the urge to splurge on new decor. Whether you’re planning a full-scale renovation, or simply seeking a few fresh touches for your outdoor sanctuary, outfitting your patio, terrace, balcony or veranda doesn’t have to cost a fortune. These designer-approved tips and tricks can help you spruce up your space on just about any budget, just in time for spring.

Play with Texture

Whether your idea of a perfect patio features a sparse palette of white and wicker, or you prefer a more vibrant mashup of colors and patterns, you can’t go wrong by incorporating a broad mix of textures in your space. From canvas to cotton, teak to rattan, the most comfortable outdoor sanctuaries freely combine elements in a way that’s anything but predictable or matching. Try layering a variety of textures, fabrics, patterns and hues; in this case, more is more. 

Find Dual-Purpose Pieces

For smaller spaces, such as apartment balconies or urban courtyards, look for multifunctional furniture that can serve more than one role in your outdoor space. Think: sturdy concrete side tables that can double as stools, or small poufs in weather-resistant fabrics like canvas or jute that can serve as a small table when paired with a wooden tray. These options allow for maximum flexibility in tight spaces.

Let the Inside Out

Think of your patio as an extension of your home—your second living room, with a breeze. This designer-favorite tip essentially calls for bringing design elements like rugs, throws, pillows, candles and other indoor accents to the outdoors. Accordingly, an ottoman or trunk with a hidden compartment can be your balcony’s best-kept secret, housing all of the various textiles and other decorative pieces on less-than-sunny days, as well as in the off season. 

Consider Curtains

By that same logic, while it may seem counterintuitive to create any boundaries around an outdoor space, curtains can actually make a patio feel cozy and defined—an especially desirable trait for apartment- and condo-dwellers who may seek a little extra privacy. Stick to soft, billowy fabrics that allow the natural light through, and be sure to pick something washable so you can keep the curtains looking crisp and clean year round.

Think Green

It’s easy to overlook greenery when it comes to decorating an outdoor space, figuring that the surrounding area will do the trick. But adding a few plants to your patio will breathe new life—along with pops of color—to the space. Consider placing large potted plants, like topiaries, on floor stands to break up the weight-balance of heavier furniture; hang a few draping ferns from overhead to draw the eyes up; or add some succulents to sconces along the wall. Your climate will determine which plants to choose, but you can’t go wrong incorporating plant life into your patio plans. 

Add a Soundtrack

Outdoor spaces of any size can benefit from a little musical accompaniment, whether you’re pumping in a little yacht rock for a lively backyard barbecue, or streaming soft symphony while you sip your morning coffee solo. The tunes are up to you and the occasion, but having a few well-placed Bluetooth speakers can amp up any patio space—and they’re easy to charge and store inside when not in use.

Let There Be Lighting

Your patio may already be equipped with built-in lighting, but don’t stop there. To create just the right ambiance, you’ll want something softer. Consider draping strands of weatherproof globe lights along a balcony, or hang paper lanterns from overhead. Experiment with tiki torches along the perimeter of a ground-floor terrace, or play with gas or electric wall sconces that cast a warmer glow than traditional overhead lighting. Candles are an easy addition, and a central firepit can lend the perfect light to patios of all sizes, while also keeping you cozy on chilly nights.

Ready to refresh your patio space from the ground up? Browse the Panama Jack Patio and Outdoor Collections to find furniture and outdoor accent inspo to suit every style.