How To... Create a Comfortable Outdoor Space

How To... Create a Comfortable Outdoor Space

Lily Gahagan
Jun 3, 2009

My Great Outdoors month is just kicking off here at Apartment Therapy, but we're already excited by what we've seen and are anxious for more. If you're gearing up to overhaul your outdoor area, be it a balcony, porch or actual yard, here are a few tips for creating a cozy space in which you'll want to spend the whole summer...

This balcony from Canadian House and Home may be small on space, but it still manages to feel like a true extension of the home. Here's our list of essentials for creating the same effect:

Take into account what you'd primarily like to use your outdoor space for before purchasing any seats. Will you be doing a lot of entertaining out there? If so, table-height chairs will be a must. We recommend a few folding ones (like Fermob) for a particularly small area, as they can be easily stored to the side when not in use. If you'd like to use your space primarily for relaxation, try creating a reading nook or lounging area with a nest of thick, weather resistant pillows. It'll be the perfect spot for napping or doing the Sunday crossword.

Ambient lighting Set the mood for a relaxing evening outdoors with some soft light. A few hanging lanterns (like in the photo above) are fun, or a few candles strewn about. We also like the look of a strand of white Christmas lights for a twinkling glow.

Even if your outdoor oasis is in the middle of an urban jungle, you can create a garden-like space with some well placed potted greenery. Work in plants of several different heights to create a more true-to-nature feel. We recommend potted dwarf citrus trees for taller vegetation that won't take up too much space - their blossoms smell beautiful, and you can harvest a few of the fruits for your cocktails.

Make it your own
We all know a few personal items can really make or break a room, and the same goes for an outdoor area. Obviously photos and art aren't going to hold up outside, but there are plenty of other options. Add a statue, like in the photo above, to show your interest in a particular area of art, or maybe a lawn gnome (or five) if you enjoy a dose of humor in your decor. Perhaps a handmade birdhouse to show your crafty or avian affinities? The possibilities are endless.

Care to add any suggestions? We'd love to hear them!

(Image: Janis Nicolay for Canadian House and Home)

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