Designing Small Outdoor Spaces: How to Maximize your Minimal Space

As urban and small-space living become increasingly prevalent, creating a well-appointed space to spend time outdoors can be challenging. But giving up square footage outside doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice on comfort or style. Whether you’re looking to design a personal oasis to kick back and relax, a miniature garden to grow your favorite herbs, or a charming spot to entertain al fresco, we’ve compiled some helpful tips and tricks to turn your small patio or balcony into a little slice of paradise.

Choose your seating wisely – chances are, you’ll want to prioritize a comfortable place for you and your guests to sit and lounge. When space is precious, scale down both visually and physically with a lighter chair frame and smaller footprint. Our Provence collection, with its elegantly slim arms, is the perfect option for timeless bistro setting, while our Majorca provides a daintier alternative to classic deep seating, without sacrificing comfort.

Take advantage of corners to maximize the amount of seating you can provide for guests – a corner sectional is perfect to extend the number of seats for you and your guests.

Bring your seating up off the ground to clear up your floor – our Dana Hanging Chair provides a great alternative to traditional deep seating, mimicking the feel of a porch swing, while giving you the comfort of a true lounge chair. Curl up solo with a book and a glass of wine, or let the kiddos climb in together!

To compliment your seating, ditch the full-sized coffee table for smaller surfaces, like a pair of end tables. The Miami rope end table adds both interest and texture, and is the perfect size for you and a guests’ drink!

Double Duty Furniture – Multifunctional pieces that can pull double, or even triple duty are ideal for smaller spaces. Think creatively to give furniture multiple roles in your outdoor living area! A bench, like our Laguna Bench, doubles as compact seating that can be tucked against a wall and easily seats 3-4 comfortably, or as an optional coffee table or potting surface. Our Coastal Teak Tank Cover puts in overtime as a propane tank cover, an end table, or even a storage unit. Multifunctional pieces like these keep your outdoor space clutter free, and allow more opportunity to layer and add depth to your space using accessories.

Think vertically – When short of square footage, utilize every square inch of your outdoor space – go vertical!

Tall shelving units can be used to display candles, decorative accessories or store dining utensils. Sunset West’s Coastal Teak Bookcase offers the perfect shelving for both outdoor and indoor use to add multidimensional design, and literally ELEVATE your space!

Curtains, wall décor, and shelving units all draw the eye upwards, making your space seem larger, while potentially adding some privacy and extra storage when needed.

Set the tone – Create the most impact in your compact space using pops of color – too much, and you can visually clutter the space, but a thoughtful burst of color sets the tone and feel of your oasis. While neutral shades are always relaxing, a splash of color keeps things interesting. Add some cool touches of blues and greens to complement your natural surroundings without overpowering their beauty, or warm yellows and oranges to create a bright, cheery space. Sunset West offers custom cushions in any Sunbrella fabric of your choosing, or personalize your cushions by sending us your own COM!  Personalize your outdoor room with custom cushions that perfectly fit your style.

Light it up – Well placed lighting can ensure you and your guests enjoy your space long after the sun goes down. Use string lights or eye-catching pendants to highlight your conversation or dining area and draw the eye upwards.

Go Green – Greenery can – quite literally – breathe life into your budding outdoor oasis! We recommend incorporating potted plants into your outdoor design, from tall potted plants to tabletop herbs. No surface area for your greenery? Go green with a vertical wall garden! Use walls, fences, shelves or railings as opportunities to grow vines, plants flowers or herbs, or any other vegetation to create your perfect outdoor patch.

Have you designed a small outdoor space using Sunset West furniture? Share your photos with us for a chance to be featured!

Designing Outdoor Spaces- How to Decorate with Color

The holidays are behind us, and with the upcoming change in seasons from winter to spring, we will soon see light, bright colors everywhere.  Now is the perfect time to refresh or re-decorate your home, including your outdoor space.

Decorating your space can be a wonderful, enjoyable and creative process, or it can be overwhelming!  With endless furniture options, styles, functions, and colors available, knowing where to start can be difficult.  If you are starting from scratch, or adding a refresh, you can start by deciding the color scheme that you would like to use while decorating.

When it comes to using color, the palette and shades you use help to set the overall tone of your space, while also reflecting your personality.  Color can also affect your emotions so think about the mood you would like your space to convey.  For instance, yellow is a cheerful color that reminds you of the sun, blues can be calming, and reds evoke passion.  Or, if you decorate with all shades of white or ivory, the overall effect is a serene and relaxing space.

However, keep in mind that the best way to ensure that you love your space is to decorate it with colors that make you happy.

Playing with Color and Prints.

Did you know that Sunset West offers custom cushions?  We work exclusively with Sunbrella fabrics, and you can place a custom order for our products using any Sunbrella fabric!  If you are wanting to create your own individual space, the perfect way to do that is through colorful, custom cushions.

Just like your clothes, colorful fabrics can allow you to express your own style and create a look in your home that reflects your personality, and shows off your individual taste.  Fabrics and finishes are some of the few options where you can personalize your furniture, therefore creating your own personal fashion statement.

On this gorgeous poolside patio, designed by Denise Morrison Interiors, this textured, printed fabric shows off a sophisticated yet playful side while still acting as a neutral as it is paired with an ivory pillow and navy umbrella which perfectly complements the stripes.  The warm shade of orange at the foot of our Provence Adjustable Chaise adds an unexpected pop of color and creates a vibrant, inviting look.

Mixing Patterns.

While texture is definitely something to incorporate when decorating your outdoor space, color and patterns are important as well.  Shades of blue are extremely popular in home decorating, as blue can also be used as a neutral, especially in outdoor spaces.

Mixing patterns or shades of the same color adds interest and depth while giving your outdoor space its own custom style. The patterns don’t need to match each other, it’s enough for them to coordinate and go together.  When selecting your patterns or shades, it is helpful to remember to work in odd numbers.

In this beautiful space, also designed by Denise Morrison Interiors, the focal point is our Montecito Sectional with our Montecito Armless Club in this vibrant, rich shade of blue.  Though the throw pillows are in a different shade of blue, the print of the pillows are in a similar shade and still ‘go’ with the sectional’s cushions.  The same is true for the mosaic on the fire table.  Though the shades of blue in the mosaic don’t match the cushions or throw pillows, they still blend wonderfully and create a balance in this space.

Keep It Simple.

Though outdoor fabrics have become more decorative, you can still have your outdoor space be an extension of your home by decorating the outdoors just like your indoor rooms.

If your goal is to have a serene and calm outdoor space, or if color isn’t your thing, you can keep it simple by sticking with neutrals. By taking cues from the continuing popularity of the farmhouse trend, a subdued elegance can be accomplished by mixing grays, and neutral tones.

In this peaceful space, multiple shades of beige are represented in our Coronado Club Chairs, Coronado Sofa, and Coronado Ottomans.  The ivory cushions on the club chairs and sofa are complemented by the ivory and beige printed throw pillows which also ‘go’ with the striped pillows as they are similar shades.  The darker gray throw pillows and ottoman fabric are still in the same monochromatic color palette and when added in, they create a complete look.


A quick and inexpensive way to refresh your outdoor space is with the accessories.  This can include an umbrella, outdoor rug, blanket or of course- with throw pillows.  Adding new colors or patterns can change up the whole feel of your space.

If you are wanting to add new colors and patterns, there are no rules, but there are a couple tricks you can use.  When combining patterns, companion fabrics can be a great way to mix them, and keep in mind that they don’t need to ‘match’.  Placing companion patterns evenly throughout your space will provide a cohesive look and add visual interest as well.  Stripes can go with almost any other pattern, and when combining multiple prints in a similar color palette, you will create a beautiful combination of patterns.

Under this covered patio, the floral and striped pillows are two very different patterns, but they share the same shades of taupe, ivory and the pop of yellow.  When paired with the driftwood finish of our Coronado Sofa and Coronado Club Chairs, they create a cheerful, yet cohesive space.

Designing Outdoor Spaces: How to Seamlessly Mix Different Styles

Using a consistent color, creating a cohesive look.

Decorating with a consistent color allows you to mix styles while still creating a cohesive look.  While there are multiple elements in this outdoor space, the simple, yet subtle, color palette ties everything together.   The taupe and driftwood shades blend perfectly and create a layered, yet relaxing environment.

Our contemporary Coronado Club Chairs here are paired with a contemporary square coffee table, while the pedestal end tables incorporate a traditional style.  The stone fireplace, walls, and exposed support beams are rustic, however the neutral color palette is consistent, and allows the room to flow and appear balanced.

Despite the mix of styles and patterns, the balance of styles is equally distributed.  The overall feel is that of contemporary comfort and a classic, beautiful space.

Neutrals can unify different styles.

This space mixes styles beautifully.  By starting with the larger, functional pieces in one style and a neutral color palette, the main style is created.  Other elements can be added in while still carrying the main style throughout.

Here, the functional pieces include our outdoor furniture which can be used inside the home too, as shown by the Laguna Sofa and Laguna Club Chairs.  The driftwood sofa and chairs of this modern seating group adds warmth along with the varying natural shades of the kitchen cabinets, exposed beams, and trim around the windows.

The coastal end tables, white cushions, light wall colors and tiled floor continue the neutral palette and allow the open floor plan of the home to flow while showcasing multiple styles.

Create a focal point.

The stunning fireplace and landscape of this home shine by allowing them to be the focal point of this outdoor space.  With the focus on the fireplace, the complementing furniture does not need to compete with the view.

While the fireplace reflects a global style, the space is wonderfully balanced with both traditional and contemporary styles.  The scale of our contemporary Coronado Armless Club Chairs surrounding the coffee table mirrors the scale of our traditional Montecito Loveseats in the background.

The two seating groups both create inviting, comfortable options for relaxing outdoors.  The overall color palette is simple and subtle, and the weight of the pieces is distributed perfectly, helping to tie the different styles together.


Styling your Outdoor Living Space for Fall

When fall finally arrives, everyone is quick to purchase pumpkins and decorate their front porch to celebrate the season.  But what about your outdoor space in the backyard?  Make fall the coziest time of year with outdoor fall décor and seating that complements your indoor space.

The same way you decorate your interior, you want your personal style to be reflected in your outdoor space.  Bring cohesion between your indoor and outdoor space by incorporating fall décor that matches your home’s interior.

To accomplish your outdoor fall look, here are a few tips and advice.

Soak up the incredible fall weather as you sit under your pergola and enjoy the breeze.  To transform your pergola into a fall oasis, string some lights to set the mood.  Then, add a focal point—a chandelier.  This adds cohesion to your indoor and outdoor spaces.  Finish off lighting your yard by adding walkway lights.

Once lighting is complete, add depth to your outdoor furniture.

Montecito Collection

To accommodate the guests that will come over for fall dinner parties and cozy firepit nights, make sure you have enough seating.  A sectional sofa sets the mood for an intimate gathering.  To ensure that your furniture will fit in your outdoor space year-round, opt for a neutral upholstery.

To add a little piece of fall to your décor, change up the look of your outdoor chairs and sofa by keeping seasonal pillows on hand.  Take away the bright summer pillows and exchange them with more neutral, green, and orange hues.  Add layers by keeping various sizes of pillows and plenty of fall throws draped over the sofa.

Provence Collection

For your dining space, a cozy table is the perfect setting for hosting dinner parties with your closest friends and family.  Guests can chat across the table and you can easily display your favorite fall centerpiece.  From pumpkins to cornucopias, you’ll love the feel of fall around the table.

For the more modern fall look, add in black and white gingham.  This pop of pattern is a staple that can transition from fall to winter.  You can add the perfect balance of black and white gingham through throws, cushions, rugs, pillows, and table runners.  Use this as a foundational pattern then layer with solid fall colors.

Complete your fall feel with fall foliage.  Add life back to your falling foliage.  Add in plants in well-layered containers that can withstand the fall weather.  When arranging your containers, you want to create a balanced and full look.  Don’t just stick to you plant or color of plant.  Add in plenty of fall tones and different plants.  This creates natural décor that can withstand Mother Nature and keeps your outdoor space full and alive.

Fire Tables coming soon from Sunset West

Once your outdoor space is full of fall, enjoy your outdoor living space.  Light up your backyard and gather around the firepit to enjoy pumpkin carving, smores, and all fall festivities.  Creating the perfect environment to enjoy the brisk fall weather, you’ll never want the night to end.

Designing Outdoor Spaces: How to Seamlessly Mix Colors

Have you updated your outdoor space recently – if not, what are you waiting for?!?  With summer well underway, it is definitely time to create your perfect space to relax and unwind outdoors.  Last time, we shared how to design your outdoor space by mixing materials.  Another trend for designing outdoor spaces is mixing colors.

One of the best and easiest ways to decorate an outdoor space is by including our resin wicker deep-seating.  The finishes are traditional enough to withstand décor trends, neutral enough to allow you to change up or complement your color scheme without breaking your budget, and sturdy enough to withstand the elements.  You can seamlessly decorate with differently colored furniture, by following these helpful tips:

Add a Buffer

Our Coronado Loveseats, the tiled floor, end tables, fireplace, and coffee table here are each a different neutral shade, which on their own could be distracting – or even worse – boring. But by adding a rug or repeating an accent color, they create a focal point so the furniture doesn’t compete.  Here, the bright blue rug and blue pillows lend a beautiful pop of color and create a buffer, which keeps the room interesting and adds a lovely balance.


White Creates the Perfect Neutral

Teak & Table mixes these neutral tones beautifully with our Coronado Swivel Rockers and this coffee table, creating an inviting space.  Though these pieces vary in color, finish and material, they contrast just enough so that they don’t compete.  The addition of white cushions keeps the space from looking too busy, while repeating the same shade of blue on the umbrella, pillows, and rug creates the perfect harmony.

Balance Light and Dark

Balancing varying wood tones throughout this patio keep the space from feeling too heavy in any area.  Our Teak Coffee and End Tables in Rustic Natural beautifully complement the varied tones of our Montecito Sofa and Club Chair weave.

This space works because well – it incorporates the rule of three by presenting each shade three times and maintains a similar scale with the tables and seating.  It still feels inviting without disrupting the balance and flow of the space.

Designing Outdoor Spaces: How to Seamlessly Mix Materials

As we roll into warmer weather, many of you (and us!) are looking to refresh your outdoor space. American Home Furnishings Alliance and the ICFA surveyed 1,000 adults with an outdoor living space and an overwhelming 70% stated they enjoyed spending more time in their outdoor living space than their indoor space. With this many Americans migrating to the outdoors to spend their time, the demand for better design that complements their indoor style, and easily transitions outside, is here to stay.

One of the latent trends for outdoor furniture, everything pre-packaged and matching, is quickly fading as homeowners are looking to curate different materials to mirror the comfort and style of their indoor space.

Doing this well can be tricky, though it can be accomplished if you ensure your space is unified through coordinating colors, style and layout.

Coronado Club Chairs - Sunset West Outdoor Fine Furnishings

Take a cue from inside your home.

First, consider furniture that is a natural extension of the style inside your home. As the Toll Brothers demonstrate here in one of their model homes, the furniture in the breezeway is in the same vein as the inside of the home, the same color palette, style and mix of wood and metal with wicker. Coronado Club Chairs shown.

La Jolla Dining Chairs - Driftwood Teak Dining Table - Sunset West Furniture

Keep it neutral.

The number of different materials you can use in a given space is limitless. As we see in this beautiful example of mixing different materials and silhouettes, this space is perfectly unified with matching upholstery on the grand dining chairs as the seat cushions on the metal frame chairs. Accents such as candles and pottery thread the theme throughout the space resulting in a cohesive, inviting setting. La Jolla Dining Chairs and Driftwood Teak Dining Table shown.

Montecito Club Chairs - Sunset West Outdoor Furniture

Use an accent color.

DMI (Denise Morrison Interiors) does an excellent job of mixing, wood, metal and wicker with different tones by following the ‘rule of 3’. We see the presentation of 3 concrete tables with 3 wicker pieces (two club chairs and an accent tray). The finish of the wooden swing is married with the undertone in the wicker and the stone colored cushion ties the piece to the concrete tables. The continuity of blue as an accent color creates a flow that allows each piece to complement each other. Montecito Club Chairs shown.

Laguna Dining Table & Coronado Dining Chairs - Sunset West

Choose similar colors and tones.

This sophisticated dining space perfectly balances contrasting textures by mixing a teak-inspired aluminum with woven dining chairs. The similar wood tones and neutral shades give the space an inviting, on-trend rustic farmhouse style and look. The complimentary tones also set the stage for introducing and experimenting with different pops of color to add even more dimension and interest. Laguna Dining Table and Coronado Dining Chairs shown.

Outdoor Living Trends for 2018

With the start of 2018, we’ve seen a lot of exciting new trends for the year.  Gone are the days of patio chairs scattered across a brick foundation.  The trends for 2018 project more upscale, modern luxury in the outdoor scene.

People want their outdoor space to be an extension of their home.  Establishing an outdoor room they can go to at the end of the day for some relaxation is the key concept when designing an outdoor space this season.  Homeowners are looking for a place of comfort and convenience without the costs associated with extending the square footage of their home.  Plus, who doesn’t love the great outdoors?  Whether you live in the mountains or on the plains, there is something peaceful about getting outside and soaking up the sun.

Check out these design ideas that are trending this year.

Coronado Dining Collection

Luxury furniture that’s fit for any indoor space. 

When you want to relax, there’s nothing more important the relaxing furniture.  The last thing you want to sit on at the end of a day is an uncomfortable fold up chair.  That’s why luxury furniture is the focal point this season.  With aesthetics and comfort in mind, the advances in technology allow for fully upholstered outdoor furniture.

The Provence is the perfect combination of indoor comfort with outdoor aesthetics.  With wrought iron in a century pewter finish and lush cushions you can spend hours in, this timeless outdoor collection offers poise and luxury for any outdoor living space.

Provence Seating Collection
Provence Seating Collection

Smooth and Fashionable Flooring

There’s nothing worse than stepping into your outdoor oasis and hurting your feet on uneven flooring.  Everything is changing this year.  Smooth flooring makes outdoor living desirable.  Whether you opt for tile, sealed concrete, or good old-fashioned wood, make sure it’s been treated to create a smooth texture and finished to handle Mother Nature.

When designing an outdoor space, you want your floors create cohesion with your space.  Painting the flooring can give your outdoor space a polished look.  If you’re creating the illusion of a bigger space, you can paint stripes or a checkerboard pattern.  Add an outdoor rug to finish off the look.

Solana Seating Collection
Solana Seating Collection

Modern Hardware

Creating cohesion with your indoor space is important when extending your living space into the outdoors.  Match your hardware for an intentional aesthetic.  If you have a wrought iron light piece, consider wrought iron furniture.  If you have stainless steel accessories, consider a stainless steel ceiling fan.  These small details can drastically transform the look of your space.


Learn more about the following Sunset West Collections:

Creating Paradise in a Small Outdoor Space

Provence Deep Seating Collection
Provence Deep Seating Collection

When your outdoor space is limited, it can be difficult to find the motivation to create a luxurious outdoor living space.  Often times, homeowners will draw the blinds and pretend the backyard doesn’t exist.  This can be true for condo and apartment living too.  Instead of shutting off your outdoor space, transform it.

Small outdoor living can be your home’s greatest asset, if your design is right.  Here are some tips to help you take your outdoor space to a new level of luxury.


You can have the greatest furniture with the best view of the city skyline, but if you don’t bring in natural elements to your landscaping, your space will feel incomplete and unnatural.  Whether you’re working with a balcony or a small yard, you can create a beautiful oasis that easily becomes your favorite place to relax at the end of each day.

Landscaping makes a huge difference in the way you view your space.  You don’t have to add a full garden to make your space feel approachable.  Pressure wash your space, clean and repaint if necessary, and add some green (that doesn’t require a lot of maintenance).


Once you’ve got a clean space to work with, it’s time to fill it.  When you have a small space, you want furniture that is sleek, not bulky.  Find pieces that fit your style and create cohesion with your indoor living space.

Here are some pieces that make a small outdoor space pop! From stools and pub tables to club chairs and occasional tables, there are so many options that will keep your outdoor space cozy and classy.

Cardiff Dining Collection
Cardiff Dining Collection

The Cardiff collection has a transitional frame and is designed with a thick walnut resin weave.  This collection shows that a thick weave can work in a small space.  With the tall pub table and stools, the eye is drawn up and it makes a small space seem bigger.

The Moorea club chair and end table are the perfect complement to a small outdoor space.  With an open design, this set doesn’t create a bulky look that creates a cluttered look in a small space.

Venice Bar Counter Stool
Venice Bar Counter Stool


Determine the focal point of your outdoor space.  Do you have a fire pit?  Do you have a great view? Do you have absolutely nothing to work it?  Whatever your situation, create a focal point.  Maybe you have the beach as your background.  Position your furniture to allow the setting to be the focal point.  If you don’t have a focal point, create your own.  Position your furniture around a fire table to create an intimate and relaxing setting.

Staging is a crucial part of designing any space.  You can have all of the right supplies, but without proper placement, your space looks cluttered and forgotten.  Transform your small outdoor space into a piece of paradise and enjoy the peace of outdoor living.

Manhattan Outdoor Furniture Collection
Manhattan Outdoor Furniture Collection

Outdoor Living Space Style Inspiration

Creating the perfect look in your outdoor space is simple when you have a backdrop, like the ocean, to guide your creativity.  But when you live in a suburb and don’t have Mother Nature to guide you, finding the perfect design is difficult.

To help you find your style, create your own backdrop, and fall in love with you outdoor living space, we’ve compiled some serious outdoor living inspo!  Take a look and let us know which is look is your favorite.

Notice the clean lines on this seating collection.  Simplicity is key to this look.  With crisp white linens and a pop of color in the accent pillows, this look is all about letting nature speak for itself.

To shop this look, click here.  You’ll find the La Jolla Collection.  It’s filled with club chairs, couches, a chaise, and even an ottoman.  This collection is a contemporary take on luxury.  From the open concept of these pieces to clean lines on this European design, the La Jolla Collection fuses aesthetics and comfort into one crisp design.

In this outdoor living space, rich, bold curves take center stage.  From the dark chocolate weave to the contrasting white linens, this look evokes a sense of warmth and comfort.  With simple plants in the background, this outdoor space would be easy to emulate in any setting.  Shop this look here.

Can we take a moment to obsess over this fireplace?  It’s the perfect focal point!  Even with the mountains in the background, the eyes are naturally drawn to the fire place and it’s incredible structural design.  As you look at the fireplace, your eyes wander down to the coffee table then out to the couches.  Even with so much open space behind the fireplace, because of the staging of this outdoor living space, your eyes are never lost in all of the outdoor grandeur.

To create this look in your outdoor space, take a look at the Emerald II collection.  The pieces in this collection feature all-weather wicker for maximum durability and aesthetic appeal.  With the pop of color in the accent pillows, combined with the jute rug, this look is sophisticated and comforting.