Small Space, No Problem: Outdoor Design Trends You’re Gonna Love

A small patio with a table and chairs.

One of the things about working with a small space is that you can go all out with design, and outdoor spaces are no different. An outdoor living area, or porch or patio, can be a continuation of the interior style or go in a completely different direction. So whether you are working with a spacious setting or micro living area, doing something that is one-of-a-kind, recycled, local, handmade, colorful or artisanal is a trend worth supporting.

A small patio with white furniture and a glass wall.

Although upcycling is no longer a new concept, it remains popular for so many reasons. Also, charming pieces that you hand select over time can have a great impact on a small space. Vintage metal lawn chairs cleaned, sanded down, and painted in a vibrant turquoise can really pop in a small space. Adding colorful cushions and furniture accessories can also give chairs new life. On the other hand, you might choose to leave the chairs in their natural patina and use a clear coat finish or wax to enhance their natural hues and colors. With a little imagination and elbow grease a one-of-a-kind piece is not hard to come by.

A small backyard with a swing and a bench in a small space.

In a small space, simplicity can be very effective. A fountain, some ferns, and a buddha statue could be the zen you want. Streamlined furniture in blacks and greys can be a sophisticated compliment to your minimalist look.

Want to go eclectic and layered? A custom handcrafted tile from Italy that you found at the flea market and installed yourself is so much more inspiring than going to a chain hardware store and purchasing the in-stock tile to cover a small surface. Not to say that you can’t be creative with what’s readily available to you and add your own unique accessories, but it’s often the stories and the adventures and the memories that make a space inviting, memorable, and special.

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A small Japanese garden with rocks and ferns.

Murals and art installations are now on point with trends on how to style your outdoor digs. A collection of vintage license plates or street signs could transform a bland outdoor wall into a magazine worthy feature. Broken tiles, plates, and other pottery could create lovely mosaic in an outdoor space. The use of mirrors could also be a fun twist in an outdoor area.

An old wheelbarrow and flower pots in a small space on the side of a house.

Hiring a regional artist to paint a mandala on your deck seems like a win win. Artists need more opportunities for their creative work and you could easily have a statement piece that no one else has. While working with a small space could be challenging for some, the lack of square footage creates an affordability or potential to splurge on something that will bring you joy for years to come.

A woman painting a small space with colorful floor on a wooden deck.

Continue the trend to support local by picking up some fresh cut flowers or potted herbs from your neighborhood farmer’s market to garnish your outdoor space. Ambient lighting from handcrafted beeswax candles can establish a quaint, relaxing, or romantic vibe. Locally made adirondack chairs constructed out of reclaimed barn wood are a hip and sustainable seating solution.

A small balcony with a table, chairs, and potted plants.

Creative potential is endless, thus designing a mood board could help you define the space you’re interested in tackling. A collection of pictures cut from magazines, found objects, paint swatches, fabric and so on can help you identify the design direction you want to go and materials you might want to use for your project. Small space, no problem. You got this.

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