These 7 Small Outdoor Spaces Prove That Yours Has Potential

published Jun 30, 2023
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A tight patio or cramped yard may be a challenge to furnish, but that doesn’t mean you have to play it small with your design choices. Even the most petite patios can pack a big style punch with the slightest bit of ingenuity. The key to maximizing diminutive dimensions outdoors is to choose effortlessly functional items that just so happen to enhance the area’s aesthetic. 

For example, if the view in your outdoor space is particularly lacking, a stylish wall mural could brighten things up while also providing an interesting focal point. This is exactly the type of out-of-the-box thinking that can lead to some really unique design features. All you have to do is think of yourself as a creative problem solver!

If you should find yourself doubting whether your pint-sized patio has any potential, here are seven design ideas to help convince you that it does.

An Outdoor Couch Adds a Cozy Factor to an L.A. Patio

In the Los Angeles home that Diane Gaeta shares with her two children and four pets, the birdcage style patio is entirely enclosed by wrought-iron fencing. It’s a unique feature for sure, but all of that metal made the area feel cold and hard. To soften things up, Gaeta added a plush outdoor sofa upholstered in an outdoor performance fabric. When styled with a rug, coffee table, and throw pillows, the family now has an entire second living room outdoors. 

An A-frame Pergola Adds Romance in Poland

To create an outdoor alcove, Katarzyna Tabath-Sklorz added a pergola with climbing plant vines above the patio of her home in Poland, which she shares with her husband and three kids. It’s not your average flat-roofed pergola, but rather an A-framed structure that almost feels like the roof of a cabin. It gives the space a cozy vibe while maintaining that open-air feel, and it also provides shade on even the sunniest day. 

A Colorful Wall Mural Brightens an Omaha Home

When Jerica Christensen first moved into the Omaha home she shares with her husband and two kids, she describes it as having “nothing architecturally special” about it. But with a whole lot of creativity and DIY prowess, they’ve slowly turned it into a home full of color and personality — including their patio’s wall mural. The design offers a vibrant focal point, especially next to a flower bed full of blooms.

Credit: Asia Cruz

Hanging Paper Lanterns Add Warmth to a Studio

Having a secluded outdoor patio is what Asia Cruz likes most about her studio apartment in L.A.’s Culver City. It offers her a secondary living space, where she can also entertain and seat up to seven guests. She chose a patterned rug and a wall of greenery to add color and softness, but the festivities really come into play thanks to a trio of paper lanterns over the dining area that she hung. 

Credit: Maxie Optican

A Lush Bed of Astroturf Makes an Outdoor Space Feel Like an Oasis 

The 450-square-foot studio in Venice, where Maxie Optican lives with her dog, Tofu, has an outdoor space that feels like an oasis. But it didn’t start out that way. Thanks to a little help from her dad, as well as some creative strategizing, Optican created the patio of her dreams featuring a lush bed of AstroTurf, which she sourced from a neighbor who was throwing it out. A stylish cow print patio umbrella with fringe trim offers shade over the seating area, much of which was handed down from family members.

Credit: Angie Silvy

An Egg Chair Swing Brings Fun and Style to an Apartment

Once Amber Guyton signed the lease to her San Francisco apartment, she didn’t waste any time “pinning and purchasing furniture” for her outdoor living area. Because having a semi-private patio is a rarity in her city, she gave herself the green light to splurge on stylish pieces, including an egg chair swing. Its womblike structure offers a cozy spot to curl up and enjoy the fresh air — and it’s a great alternative in small spaces to traditional hammocks, as it doesn’t need to be attached to any structural elements.

Sleek Metal Planters Make a Condo’s Garden Possible

When Ryan Louis and Seth Stevenson moved into their Toronto condo, they were excited to have a balcony, as they’re both gardeners. While they found it slightly tricky to adjust to gardening high up with windy conditions, you’d never know it from the plant paradise that populates their outdoor area. Sleek metal planters house various leafy specimens and offer a strikingly modern vibe, while also bouncing light around the small space.