Patios, when designed and furnished appropriately, can become an outdoor living space. Without changing the square footage of your home, you can add an entire living room area with intentional design that maximizes the space. Some of our readers had some tips about the best way to make the most of the patio space you have. Keep reading to find out how you can tap into the full potential of your patio.
Paul Money

Paul Money

Paul Money, Founder, and Editor at

Use an Awning

If you’re lucky enough to have a patio, you know how great it is to be able to relax and enjoy the outdoors. But sometimes the sun can be a bit too much, especially in the summertime. That’s where an awning comes in.

An awning is a great way to maximize your patio space. It provides protection from the sun and can even help keep your patio cooler. It can also add a bit of style and charm to your outdoor space.

There are a variety of different types of awnings available on the market, from motorized to app-controlled, so you’re sure to find one that fits your needs. If you’re not sure which type of awning is right for you, a professional can help you choose the perfect one for your patio.

So if you’re looking for a way to enjoy your patio even more, consider an awning. It’s a great investment that will pay off for years to come!

Design with the End Goal in Mind

No matter the size, the perfect patio can be attained with a bit of planning and personalization. Maximizing your outdoor space can be achieved by understanding four things:

    1. How the patio will be used. The first thing to determine is the importance of outdoor living and the role it plays in home life, whether the space will be used daily or occasionally. Understanding your needs will help you design a beautiful outdoor space.

    2. Design the space around who will be using it. If space allows for it, and daily use justifies it, seating for six with a table or two creates an inviting setting. Sofas and loveseats offer additional seating when guests visit. But a blissful outdoor oasis can also be created with a small, round-top dining table, 24 – 48 inches, and two chairs.

    A tabletop design with complementary seating and décor accents can evoke a stylish, bistro ambiance. For two people who want to make the most of a small patio or balcony, a three-piece setup works perfectly fine.

    3. Look for furniture of the proper scale. Large club chairs with big cushions and wide arms will overwhelm smaller patio spaces. Chairs, sofas, and loveseats of an appropriate scale look better and can provide just as much comfort. Elegant lines and refined details are available in all sizes of outdoor furniture. A comfy, cushioned dining chair is sometimes difficult to tell apart from its larger cousin, the club chair, and dining chairs fit well in smaller spaces.

    4. Get creative with the seating and decorating. Ottomans are wonderful for resting your feet during a cozy, outdoor respite, but they can also be used as additional seating when necessary. Stackable chairs are a possibility, too, because they take up very little space, and can be kept out of the way until needed for entertaining. Adding artwork, plants, shade sails, and other accessories enhances the patio with personality.

When thinking about making the most of outdoor spaces, the alignment and negotiation of aesthetics, form, and function come into play. Finding the perfect solution begins with an assessment of the available surface and one’s personal needs and tastes. Comfort and style come in all sizes. The perfect answer will become clear, and can surprisingly open up more creative options than previously imagined.

David Swartz

David Swartz

David Swartz is Vice President of Sales for Paddy O’ Furniture.

Granger McCollough

Granger McCollough

Granger McCollough, CEO & Founder of Elite Patio Direct.

Set the Greenery Right

If you have a small patio space then there are some do’s and don’ts that will affect how big your space will feel.

The first thing you should do when trying to maximize patio space is to have furniture that you can move around or possibly store. If you have a small space and decide to have built-in furniture or heavy, immovable furniture, it could come back to haunt you and compact your space.

The other important factor in maximizing space in a patio set is the greenery around it. It may seem counterintuitive to add plants and greenery around your patio, as it could potentially make your patio physically smaller. However, adding greenery around the edges of your patio will add a depth that makes your patio seem bigger. It hides the edges and almost gives your patio an infinite feel, much like being in a dense forest.

Another way you can use greenery to impact the space of your patio is vertical. If you have tall plants, such as trees or ivy, then it will feel as though that vertical space is part of your patio.

Four Ways to Maximize Patio Space

    1. Add multifunctional furniture. Most patios are limited in terms of space. Thus, plan the layout strategically to make the most of it. For example, an ottoman can serve as a coffee table or extra seating. Your bench can be used for seating or as a place to put potted plants. And built-in benches may double as storage for gardening tools. Arrange your furniture so that it is comfortable for guests to hang and move around while enjoying a conversation.
    2. Utilize vertical space. You can create a more relaxing atmosphere and free up more floor space for activities with vertical space. For instance, use hanging planters or bird feeders from your eaves or fence. Use shelves or racks to store outdoor items like pool toys. You can install a pergola or trellis to provide shade and privacy. It can also create a lovely backdrop for your plants.
    3. Create an illusion of a larger space. Since lighter colors reflect more light, they make spaces feel airier. Good color options for your patio space include white, light blue, or pale green. You can also add touches of vibrant colors to your patio through cushions, table fabrics, and flowers.
    4. Incorporate lighting. Make your patio space more inviting and functional by adding outdoor lighting. You have various options, such as lanterns, tiki lights, and string lights that can create a warm and sophisticated ambiance. Then, ensure key areas and pathways are illuminated for safety, and place security lights to deter intruders.
Kevin Bazazzadeh

Kevin Bazazzadeh

Kevin Bazazzadeh, Founder of Brilliant Day Homes.

Luke Lee

Luke Lee

Luke Lee, Founder of Ever Wallpaper.

Use Built-In Furniture

You need to place furniture appropriately so that you can maximize your patio space efficiently and effectively. It means that you need to install furniture in the patio space proportionately. If possible, avoid placing large furniture on a small patio. This is because large furniture in a small patio space can restrict the natural flow of foot traffic within the area.

On the other hand, a few pieces of furniture in a large patio space can make the area look dull, boring, and surprisingly uninviting.

One strategy to add beauty and functionality is to install a table in the patio space immediately. Aside from that, you need to add a large umbrella to give shade in the outdoor space efficiently and effectively. It’s recommended to add enough chairs for your friends, guests, and other members of your family.

You need to install built-in features in your patio space wisely to add functionality to the space quickly. Assign a small kitchen space on your patio so that you can cook outside easily. You can also put built-in benches if you are entertaining guests frequently.

Three Patio Maximizing Tips

    1. Make Use Of Your Vertical Space. No matter how big or small your patio is, you can make it comfortable and functional. You can make it spacious by taking advantage of your vertical space. Your walls can be used for additional space such as shelves and decor. You can also use taller chairs and have vertical or hanging gardens.
    2. Use Flexible Furniture. Invest in furniture that can be used for different purposes. You can purchase an ottoman where you can store items. A footstool that can be converted into a side table would also be ideal. You can maximize your patio space by being smart with your furniture.
    3. Prepare For Foot Traffic. Check out how much traffic your patio gets. Consider the traffic pattern and when and where people go. Make sure that you have enough space for people to move while minimizing the chances of someone tripping.
Joe Taylor

Joe Taylor

Joe Taylor, Founder of PlumbJoe.

Giovanni Scippo

Giovanni Scippo

Giovanni Scippo, Director at 3D Lines.

Choose Patio Furniture Wisely

Reduce your patio furniture and just go for essentials to save floor space. Their size also matters. One trick that works best for small spaces is choosing smaller pieces of furniture as well. This makes the surrounding area feel bigger than it is. You can choose between foldable pieces or those that double as storage.

Opt for small evergreen shrubs, potted plants, or a vertical garden. These things need not consume a lot of important space, you just need to place them strategically. For example, line your perimeter or pathway with them. That wall doesn’t have to be blank and dull; decorate it with plants that have various colors.

Don’t forget the lights! At night, layer path lights, deck lights, and string lights.

Choose Multifunctional Furniture

Do you know that apart from being a lounge for your friends, you can do a lot more with your patio? I’ve compiled a series of ideas on how to maximize your patio space. Being an outdoor area, what to do with your patio can be a really tough call considering the cold and hot weather it’s exposed to.

You can never go wrong with opting for a large umbrella or a shade of cloth for your outdoor patio. It can be installed and removed for any reason without taking up that much space. You can also have a pergola designed for your outdoor space.

For furniture, you can choose modular ones as they are space savers. The lightweight but big furniture is the best option as they are flexible to your needs, and the bigger, the less clutter. Little pieces of movables might look the latter.

Choosing multifunctional furniture is great for accessibility as you can store garden tools and such on your patio. If you love books, you can even make it your little paperback gallery. This saves you a great deal of having to fix a different cabinet for your things. You can choose to have long built-in benches with storage space underneath, just so you can maximize the space for your stuff and accommodate enough seating at the same time.

Of course, a good view is appreciated on an outdoor patio. You can have your cup of tea in the morning while growing your little garden on the side. You can make use of the corners of your patio and care for little plants like succulents, as they don’t need much care. Your patio space, little or big, can be maximized. Just push a little bit of your creativity and you can do wonders!

Jake Robinson

Jake Robinson

Jake Robinson, Co-Founder & CEO, Superdraft.

Paige Anderson

Paige Anderson is an interior design architect at Nitido Design.

Scale Furniture Appropriately

When given space, scale furniture appropriately. If you have a really small deck, you wouldn’t want to go big with a couch because it may take up too much space. You would want to scale it down or put it in the middle of the room.

  • Add color to your space by using accent pillows, small throw pillows, or even a small rug and chair.
  • Incorporate lighting into your space. The option of adding a small lamp is great because you can move it around and it provides light without taking up a lot of space. You could add black and white curtains, or you could add brighter colors.
  • Add bright green plants to your space. Use a small pot on top of a larger planter or use a small planter inside of another planter.
  • Drapery panels are a great way to add a splash of color to a space. It is a great way to add a little more style to your patio. They can also be used to block out direct sunlight.
  • If you want to bring in some lighting, you can add a solar panel to your patio and create a little solar power. You can also use a string of lights for a more elegant look.
  • If you want to add more seating, you can add a bench.
  • A tip for adding visibility to your deck is to add a glass coffee table.

This is a crowdsourced article. Contributors' statements do not necessarily reflect the opinion of this website, other people, businesses, or other contributors.


  • Nate Barrett

    As the President of SRI Decks, my greatest satisfaction comes from the immediate sense of fulfillment that our work brings. From the initial design discussions with our customers to the moment we capture the final project in photos, I feel an immense pride in my team for their dedicated efforts. My passion for hands-on work and outdoor projects is matched only by the joy I derive from seeing a delighted customer when we’ve successfully completed a job. Fun Facts: I like hot chocolate in my coffee. I’ve been with SRI for 12 years, prior to ownership. I have a daughter, 3 dogs and a loving girlfriend.

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