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!