Now more than ever, it’s important to embrace outdoor living. Whether you have a patio, deck or even just a small backyard, learn to love what you have with these ideas to create a comfortable and enjoyable outdoor living space.

Thinking of your patio or deck as an extension our home is a simple way to figure out how to decorate it. However, if you live in a part of the country that experiences harsh weather, it’s important that the decor is both flexible and durable to account for extreme weather conditions.

How to Create an Outdoor Living Space

Make it an extension of your home! Don’t be afraid to paint, furnish and decorate it like you would an interior space!

You can see below that our deck needed a little TLC.

dark stained deck before

Bring new life to it using a solid stain! We used Realist Beige, which translates to a warm cream outdoors. It’s the same color that we painted the exterior, it suddenly defined the deck as a “room”, and a cohesive extension of our home. Suddenly the rails felt less obtrusive and more like windows to the world.

Learn how to stain a deck, the easy way.

solid stained deck in a dark cream color

Add a Rug

Just like in a living room, a rug defines a space, adds texture and warmth. A deck is no different and can be treated like an outdoor living room.

There are an array of Indoor Outdoor Rugs that look and feel like indoor rugs, but have the durability to withstand even the harshest weather conditions and hose clean!

If only everything in our home could wash clean with a hose! I ordered an 8.5×11 braided ivory rug that consumes the furnished area of the deck, just as I would in the living room. The front feet of all of our furniture rests on the rug.

You can get all my Tips for Purchasing a Rug here!

light colored deck with an ivory rug and beautiful outdoor furniture
overhead shot of outdoor living space with comfortable furniture

Outdoor Furniture

To create a relaxed Hamptons feel, I selected Martha Stewart wicker furniture in nearly the same color. I debated over a contrast versus “matching” and am so happy that I chose the latter. It creates a peaceful place to relax!

Beautiful outdoor living space with Martha Stewart Living furniture

I think patio furniture is the exception to the rule on “sets”. Indoors, I avoid purchasing a set of furniture, trying to thoughtfully collect pieces that work well together to create interest. Outdoors I want it to be as serene and cohesive as possible.

I broke it up a little using plants and a brass side table. It created a tranquil space and works effortlessly.

Deck with flowers in planters and an armchair with footrest

It was important to me to choose furniture that would stand the test of time in both durability and style. I spent nearly a month weighing the options. The love seat and chairs have already endured golf ball sized hail, significant rain storms, lots of greasy little fingers and looks brand new. The cushions are water resistant and stains wipe easily.

A soft throw makes crisp, cool evenings curled up on the sofa even more enjoyable, allowing us to spend even more time outdoors.

Outdoor couch with comfortable throw pillows and blankets to enjoy outdoor living for as long as possible

I added plenty of pillows for added comfort and style. I love mixing and matching patterns in the same color palette for to keep it serene, but visually interesting. The Flora Crewel, stripes and mangled patterns play nicely together in various shapes.

Floor pillows on the deck make it comfortable for all family members

Of course we couldn’t leave out our sweet pup, Dusty! His gorgeous striped dog pillow can be used both indoors and out. We place it in his favorite perch for watching the deer who frequent our apple trees.  

I’ll be honest, the kids love it as much as he does! It is apparently a great place to read a book or snuggle your pup.

Even a dog pillow is part of the decor so that even pets can enjoy outdoor living

Outdoor Lighting

Lighting is another important element to decorating. Our new copper wall lanterns. Raw copper is a living finish that will patina over time. Over the years, verdigris will become visible adding color and interest.

copper lanterns add character to a deck

Add Greenery

It should go without saying that any space, whether indoors or outdoors, will benefit form the addition of some greenery. Whether that means a planter of pretty flowers, large potted tree or even a simple vase of flowers, it’s really the perfect way to finish off your space.

Natural colored outdoor furniture with soft blue throw pillows and a wooden side table
Beautiful outdoor living space with Martha Stewart Living furniture | create the patio of your dreams with these easy ideas
Side table on the deck with flowers, drinks and plates ready for snacks

Most of my patio plants are temporary as I’m waiting for my favorites to become available – large lavender, lemongrass, and catmint. They’re all mosquito deterrents and extremely easy to care for. The plants currently on our deck are actually going to be planted in our yard, but add that much needed organic touch that’s perfect for now!

Embrace outdoor living by placing your favorite plants, like these hydrangeas, on your deck or patio
Deck table with an open book and a small terra-cotta planter with flowers

Don’t underestimate the value of your outdoor spaces. I am so thankful that we recognized the value of our deck and decided to invest in it.

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  1. I love your outdoor living space!! Beautiful details make such a difference and you have definitely created a space to be relaxed in! I especially love your wicker furniture and of course the Dash & Albert rug!

      1. Hi Julie,

        We are having a deck built and want to paint it white… I saw that your deck LOOKS white… it’s one of the few white wood decks I can find a picture of. Is it white stain/paint that you used? I saw that you wrote something about Benjamin Moore beige?
        Would appreciate any tips you can give!

        Thank you!