Skip to main content

When arranging a small patio, avoid these 7 common mistakes

Who doesn’t want to enjoy the summer on their patio? Think of all the socializing you can do. Imagine schmoozing over cocktails and sitting in comfy outdoor furniture while your significant other grills steaks. There are all kinds of attractive scenarios that could play out on your patio, and why not? Most people value having a patio as part of their outdoor space.

In fact, up to 58.6 percent of new single-family homes in America have them! However, designing a patio space with the right furniture and decor is easier said than done. There are many factors to consider, and most end up making mistakes that detract from their patios’ overall attractiveness.

Never fear! In this article, we’ll show you how to arrange patio furniture while avoiding seven common mistakes.

Woman enjoying an outdoor patio
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Designing for indoors instead of outdoors

Many people want the transition from their indoor space to their outdoor patio to be seamless. However, you really shouldn’t use the same furniture or decorations on your patio that you use inside your home.

First of all, indoor furniture doesn’t do well outdoors. It can’t stand up to the sun, the wind, or the rain. In fact, most indoor furniture and décor would be ruined not long after setting them up on your patio. Therefore, from the very beginning, it’s best to avoid the issue entirely by choosing patio furniture, which is weather-resistant and made explicitly for the outdoors.

Too little or too much furniture

Another common error people often make is they go to extremes. Knowing how to arrange furniture on a small patio isn’t something you’re born with. Oftentimes, people don’t put enough furniture on their patio, or they put too much.

Of course, when there’s not enough furniture for guests and family to sit on, spending time out on the patio isn’t as pleasant an experience. On the flip side, when you have too many pieces, the space can feel claustrophobic. Plus, having too much furniture makes it hard to walk from one place to another since you have to navigate around or through everything.

It’s a best practice, then, to choose the number of pieces of outdoor furniture thoughtfully, so your patio looks nice and traffic in and out of the house isn’t restricted.

Not enough decor

Speaking of decor, this is another area where people tend to go to extremes. With only a few small pieces, your patio can feel like you forgot something. Too much, and it can seem cluttered. As with your furniture, you need to strike the right balance.

Some excellent weather-resistant accessories you could consider using to provide the right accents include:

  • Wall art
  • Candles
  • Wind chimes
  • Garden statues
  • Hanging ornaments
  • Lighting
  • Pillows and cushions; and
  • Containers and pottery

No plants

You risk having a space that feels a bit lifeless if you don’t utilize plants as part of your decor. Green plants provide a sense of freshness and soften the feeling one gets upon entering the patio space. Moreover, you can’t mimic their pleasant smells with store-bought products.

You might try adding potted plants, freshly cut flowers, a dish garden, or patio trees. Of course, your patio’s size will dictate which of these will work best.

Too many plants

Some people are super nature lovers. They tend to pack their patios with as many plants as possible. However, like other kinds of decor, they can crowd the space. Don’t pack everything together. Remember that you should enjoy the presence of plants while still having plenty of room for seating and other decorations.

Lack of connection between the indoor-outdoor areas

While you don’t want to use indoor furniture and decor out on your patio, it would be a mistake to think that it’s not an extension of your home. It is. Therefore, try to make your outdoor furniture and decor mesh with the overall style and theme of your home’s interior.

Not enough lighting

Remember that to enjoy your patio to the fullest, sitting and enjoying company at night is necessary. You can’t do that if you don’t have enough lighting. Moreover, it isn’t just about having lights that are safe and functional. You want lighting schemes that help enhance the atmosphere. Maybe there’s a certain feeling or energy you want guests to experience when stepping out onto your patio. The right kind of lights can help provide that.

Just a few ideas about outdoor lighting you could incorporate into your design are:

  • Energy-efficient LEDs
  • String lights
  • Solar lamps
  • Sconce fixtures
  • Lamp posts; and
  • Pendant lights

Outdoor furniture on patio at night

The takeaway

It’s all about balance. Whether you want to barbecue and invite people to eat out on your patio or you simply want to relax and talk, you want your patio to feel just right.

However, it’s easy to get carried away and pile too much into your outdoor living space. It’s just as easy to go the extreme minimalist route. Neither is ideal. Ensure that your space is just right by placing outdoor, weather-resistant furniture that’s attractive and functional in such a way that there’s enough seating without the space feeling crowded. Don’t forget to add in decor and plants, but do so sparingly and use only as much as is aesthetically pleasing.

Editors' Recommendations

Will Blesch
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Will Blesch is a copywriter, content writer, and someone passionate about anything that lets him discover more about this…
How to choose the right patio furniture for your space
Metal chairs and table on outdoor patio

Outdoor entertaining is becoming more and more popular as designers become increasingly creative with patio furniture. There is no better way to host a fun party, barbecue, or other get-together than with some comfy furniture for your guests to enjoy. Check out some of the best furniture options for your patio, along with other tips and tricks about picking out the perfect additions for your outdoor oasis.
How do I choose the best outdoor furniture?

There are a lot of factors to consider when you are choosing patio furniture, including your personal style, the main uses of the patio, and the climate you live in. Here are some questions to consider to help you get started:

Read more
Small greenhouse tips: 5 ways to make the most of limited space
Tips to help you effectively use your small greenhouse
Small rounded greenhouse

Having a greenhouse is useful, but it was also a luxury for many years. Now, thanks to smaller, portable greenhouses, almost any gardener can have a greenhouse of their own. There are even small greenhouse kits that can teach you how to make a small greenhouse on your own. However, since they’re smaller, you need to use the space more carefully. If you aren’t sure where to start, we can help.

There are plenty of ways you can use your greenhouse, but here are our top five tips for making the most of your smaller greenhouse!

Read more
How to protect your plants and keep them warm in the greenhouse for winter
Tips to get your greenhouse ready to protect your plants through winter
plants growing in greenhouse

Winter is an unstoppable force, and gardeners tend to have a love/hate relationship with it. On the one hand, we hate watching our garden die off, and we miss watching green things grow. On the other hand, winter is an excellent time to take a break and relax in front of a fire — unless you have a greenhouse.

Of course, a greenhouse can only protect plants under certain conditions, and after a point, it’s too cold even for a greenhouse to do much. It can help a lot, but it can't work miracles. So how do you get the most out of your greenhouse and protect your plants from the cold winter elements? Keep reading to find out!

Read more