See How a Small Layout Tweak Made My Patio Feel Way More Welcoming

published Jul 16, 2023
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Floor pillows and string lights in outdoor patio area.
Credit: Shifrah Combiths

Moving generates new beginnings in all kinds of ways. From providing an opportunity to go through and declutter all your belongings to creating space for re-evaluating habits, routines, and your life priorities, moving, although difficult, can be an extremely rewarding life transition. 

But settling in takes time and patience, and this goes for both lifestyle adjustments and figuring out how to set things up at home. Although my family and I have lived in our new house for a year, I’m still learning how some of the household things we brought with us from Florida fit best into our new life in Tennessee. The process is fun and sometimes surprising. 

This spring, for example, we happened upon a new configuration for our back porch furniture and it completely changed the feel of the space. The thing is, we had no intention of rearranging the furniture. It’s just that after a cold, wet winter, we moved all of the patio furniture so we could power wash the deck and the chairs. When we put it back, we played around with a different layout — and it was such an improvement.

Credit: Shifrah Combiths

Our patio set consists of a couch, two chairs, and a coffee table. When we set it up initially, we put the couch against the longest available railing, with the chairs placed near the two ends of the couch. The table was put in the only spot it could be: right in front of the couch. In the new configuration, we put the couch against the house, facing the back yard. The two chairs were placed next to each other opposite the couch, with the table in between.

Something had always felt a bit off about our first patio furniture arrangement, but for some reason it never occurred to me to tweak how the chairs and the couch were facing. I wonder if holding onto the ways we used the furniture in my previous home prevented me from thinking about it in new ways.

My point is: I’m so glad we decided to try something different. Our outdoor sitting area has a whole new feel now. Having the two chairs together makes the entire space feel cozier, and not having to walk around the coffee table to sit on the couch makes for a much better flow. 

Being open to a change is the first step in experiencing how much a few small changes in placement can enliven a space. Of course every person’s setup is different, both in terms of the furniture and the outdoor space, but trying a different configuration, even if one setup seems obvious, can make a tired, awkward space feel fresh and “right.” This principle holds true whether you’re trying to figure out how to set up a new home or you’ve lived in your current place for years. 

Our new patio furniture layout has made us feel even more at home, and we’ve been going outside every chance we get. This is the real beauty of resetting a space like this: Everyone in the home will gravitate toward it and enjoy it more than ever.