As soon as summer hits, you may feel the urge to move everything you own outside so you can live under the sun and stars. Utilizing whatever outdoor area you have is especially important when you call a small space home, because it can give you the dining room, living room, or reading nook your place typically lacks. Whether you have a balcony, a rooftop, or an entire backyard to work with, these $100-or-less details will make it feel like an extension of your home.
Get it Glowing
The outdoor string lights hanging overhead transform this tiny San Francisco backyard from The Everygirl into a prime entertaining spot and give the patio, shown at the top of the post, designed by Emily Henderson for RUE, a warm glow. Festive outdoor lighting extends a home's party space and draws visitors outside.
Get the look: Patio Cafe String Lights, $17 for 10 feet or $45 for 30 feet, from Save on Crafts.
Pile on the Pillows
Taking cozy accessories outdoors not only makes an outdoor space more comfortable, but it also extends your decor style into the backyard. Indigo pillows arranged around the table invite guests to take a seat on Design Love Fest.
Get the Look: Zuma Strip Indoor/Outdoor Pillow, $36, from Pottery Barn.
Use Rugs to Set the Stage
Grounding a deck or patio with a rug that can withstand the rain is a low-maintenance way to bring indoor luxuries outside. A soft rug with a bright tropical design at Bec's Sugar Shack encourages you to take off your shoes and make yourself at home.
Get the Look: Tropical Banana Leaf Outdoor Rug, $99, from Sky Iris.
Transport Everything on Trays
Carry snacks, drinks, books, and other indoor essentials outside using sturdy lacquer trays that won't get ruined if you accidentally leave them out overnight. An adorable dotted one corrals a book and vases on Helt Enkelt.
Get the Look: Square Lacquer Trays, $34, from West Elm.
Give Each Chair a Soft Seat
Inexpensive seat cushions make slatted wood chairs comfortable enough to camp out on. The tiny balcony above, from My Domaine, acts as an al fresco dining room for a cramped studio apartment.
Light Some Lanterns
Candles twinkling inside glass lanterns make a space feel instantly lived-in. The hanging Moroccan-inspired ones above were snapped at Cafe Stella in L.A. by Jessie Webster for Lark & Linen.
Get the Look: Antique White, Cream, and Silver Lanterns, from $18 each, from Jamali Garden.
Create an Outdoor Movie Theater
Turning your backyard (or balcony, or roof) into your own personal cinema is like having a second living room—only better. Use a blank wall or a sheet as a screen, and play the film from a portable projector, as Melissa of The Sweet Escape did for her screening of "Almost Famous," above. The quality of the image will vary with the cost of the projector, but the inexpensive iDGLAX model below is a great value at only $86.
Get the Look: iDGLAX iDG-787 Mini Portable Projector, $86, amazon.com.
Take It Outside
If you've ever looked at a perfectly-styled photo of a patio and thought about what a hassle it must be to pull everything inside when it starts raining—here's one solution. Fill a small rolling cart with plants, as seen in Elizabeth's Color-Filled Apartment, that you can be wheeled inside during a storm, or use it as a bar cart that can be brought indoors when the party's over.
Get the Look: RASKOG Utility Cart, $30, from IKEA.
Just Hang Out
Your outdoor area will definitely become your favorite room in your house when you hang up a swing chair hammock to lounge in, like the striped one above seen on Nord No. 27.
Get the Look: Brazilian Cotton Hammock Chair, $60 (hardware and stand not included), hayneedle.com.