9 Outdoor Design Trends You Might Regret for 2024, According to Designers

published Apr 12, 2024
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Outdoor living
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With warmer days on the horizon, you may be getting ready to style your outdoor space for the season, whether you’re lucky enough to have access to a patio, porch, deck, or full-on backyard. As is the case with interiors, outdoor design trends are always changing,  and designers have some pretty strong opinions when it comes to affordable outdoor furniture, plants, and even color schemes.

Here, eight pros weigh in on the outdoor trends you’re probably better off skipping this year if you want your space to feel current. As always, if you have or gravitate toward something on this list, and it’s working for you, stick with it. You know your home — and your outdoor space — space best!

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Fiddle-Leaf Figs

Is your choice of plants dating your patio? Maybe. “Just like colors and furniture, plants follow trends too,” designer Callie Blanks says. According to the designer, fiddle-leaf figs, which have been practically everywhere over the past decade (and can be slowly transitioned to an outdoor sunny area in the warmer months), may make your outdoor space fall a little flat when styled solo. “I love a huge fiddle leaf, but be sure to mix in plants with more wispy leaves and flowers,” she adds.

Outdoor Rugs 

Designer Alicia Hassen, the founder of Brooklinteriors, finds that an outdoor rug can “end up being more work than it’s worth,” particularly if it’s not shielded from the sun and sky. “Uncovered patios and terraces leave the rug exposed to moisture and will erode the materials overtime,” she says. Still want some pattern underfoot? As an alternative, try a different approach to your patio floors. “You can even use a bold tile design to create a tile rug,” Hassen suggests. Or just make peace with the fact that your carpet probably won’t last more than a season or so. 

All Neutral Everything

It’s time to stop playing it safe with neutrals, says designer Suzan Wemlinger, the founder of Suzan J Designs. “Neutrals can be very calming, which, of course, is not a bad thing at all — but neutrals can also read as boring or as being afraid of commitment,” she notes. Plus, it’s easier than you might think to incorporate some peppy hues in the backyard.

“Get those outdoor seating cushions recovered in bold, fun colors, or at the very least, add some colorful patterned pillows to the seating pieces,” Wemlinger suggests. Plus, as she notes, plenty of great fade-resistant fabrics are on the market these days, so you won’t have to worry about these pieces losing their vibrancy. 

However, going too bold may not be the best decision either, says designer Traci Connell. “I suppose the desire is to make it feel like you are at a ‘beach resort’ every day. However, you are not,” Connell says. For an outdoor space that “looks” more like you, she suggests drawing from the colors used inside of your home as a starting point instead and building out a palette from there. That’ll create cohesiveness between your indoors and outdoors so one feels like an extension of the other.

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Acapulco Chairs

Designer Brittany Marom is more than ready to part ways with this specific style of backyard furniture for 2024. “They come in a million colors, and everyone makes at least one version of them,” she says. “I feel like the only place they should be seen is on the front porch of a one-bedroom Airbnb in a ranch-style home in Joshua Tree,” she adds. “Otherwise, let’s move on!”

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Freestanding Hanging Chairs

Freestanding hanging chairs never really spoke to designer Adnan Anwar, and they still don’t. It’s not all about aesthetics for him either. “They look so awkward and are not that comfortable in most cases, and the metal stands are a total eyesore,” he says. For a similar seating experience without the visual bulk, consider a hammock instead.

Weather-Resistant Fast-Furniture

Say goodbye to weather-resistant furniture “that has a plastic look,” Wemlinger says. “It tends to look cheap and more like an afterthought than an intentional design of the space.” Instead, take a cue from your interiors when tackling the outdoors. “Don’t forget about the throws, poufs, and pillows that look like they could be used either inside or outside the home,” the designer adds. “Using this type of furnishings helps to blend the indoor spaces with the outdoors seamlessly.”

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Matching Outdoor Furniture Sets

Designer Zandy Gammons, the founder of Miretta Interiors, agrees that outdoor spaces should reflect your interior style. “With that in mind, stay away from matching sets of furniture,” she says. “Don’t be afraid to mix different styles and textures just like you would on the interior.” Anwar agrees. “Your outdoor space will look more dynamic and feel more like a room if you vary material and style,” he adds.

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Citronella Candles and Tiki Torches

For a more current look, Wemlinger suggests skipping these picks. “They just don’t go with today’s decor and tend to look dated,” she says. Instead, she recommends an outdoor diffuser for ambiance. “It will align much better with the vibe of bringing the indoors out,” she adds. And if you can’t give up the bug repelling candles, the good news is you can find citronella pillars, which feel more modern than the tin pan or jarred varieties you’re probably used to seeing.

Real Greenery

This may come as a surprise to some, but designer Megan Molten advises her clients to skip live plants outdoors if they won’t be able to consistently care for them. “While a lush, jungle-like exterior may provide a beautiful Instagram-worthy moment, it’s not so pretty when you return a month later to everything dead, wilting, and crispy leaves all over the place,” she says. “Instead, we opt for quality faux greenery in the outdoor spaces to allow for that completed design feeling without the maintenance.”