Decorating your patio isn’t quite as intuitive as decorating your living room. We see far too many patios go bare. If you’re ready to up your patio game but you don’t know where to start, these # patio design principles can help.

1. Basic Structure

When you flip through Instagram, you’ll see many patios with the same combination, two outdoor couches facing each other, with a chair to one side. That’s a staple, basic structure that anyone can adopt as the starting point for their patio. Don’t have the room for a second couch? Leave it out and keep the same triangular orientation between the couch and chair.

2. Layering Light

Don’t just add one source of light to your patio. You’ll be using the space at different times of day and night, which may call for different kinds of lighting. Plus, having on focal point for light is harsh at night regardless of the atmosphere you’re going for. Combine a main light on the your table with any of these lights:

  • Candles and lanterns
  • String lighting
  • Garden pathway lights
  • Accent lights on side tables

3. Focal Points

Beyond the furniture, it is wise to have a focal point for your patio, one that you can place the seating around. Or, you can direct the seating towards a larger focal point for the whole space (like a pool or garden.) Your patio space could have any of these focal points:

  • A table, whether full sized or a coffee table
  • A fire pit, fire table or other fire feature
  • Large plants, including potted plants
  • A water feature, like a small fountain
  • A sculpture, potentially one in the garden

4. Accents

You can add accents to your outdoor space much the same way that you add them on the inside of your home. Small sculptures, flower vases, and other decorative objects can all be placed on the main or side table in your space. Fabric accents, like throw blankets and pillows, can be placed on the couch as you would in the house. There are, however, some outdoor accents that you can use a bit differently, including:

  • Umbrellas: Giant umbrellas are an excellent accent for your outdoor space. You can put the directly above your seating or off to one side.
  • Potted plants: Potted plants are must-haves for your patio. Place one between the chair and couch and balance it out with two smaller pots on the other side.
  • Rugs: You can add rugs to your outdoor space, but you should choose synthetic material that will withstand the weather.

5. Stylistic Similarity

If your patio space and your living space are in close proximity, and one can be seen from the other, then it is a good idea to keep your patio space stylistically close to what you have going on in the home. Big differences in style can detract from both spaces and make your home feel disjointed.

6. Enhance the Shape

If you happen to have an unusually shaped patio, lean into it by incorporating other objects of the same shape in your design.