Small Patio Design Tips

small patio design tips

Make the most of your outdoor space with simple tips to organize and decorate your small patio.

It’s no secret that spending time outside is good for your health. In generations past, fresh air and Mother Nature were part of daily life for most. This is thanks in large part to big porches and lawns. But today’s real estate climate has homes and their patios shrinking in size.

Outdoor spaces have grown small and the tendency for most individuals is to retreat inside because they feel like their patio is just too small to enjoy. But, this doesn’t have to be the case.

In fact, decorating a small patio can be more enjoyable than a large porch. The intimate nature of a small space makes it ideal for holding get-togethers or relaxing by yourself. Plus, it’s much more affordable to decorate a small space.

Use the following tips to make your small patio an outdoor sanctuary perfect for your needs.

8 Small Patio Design Tips

Define How You Want to Use Your Patio

Large patios and backyards can serve multiple purposes. But with a small space, it’s essential that you focus on one purpose or two at the most. Because realistically, fitting lounge chairs, an outdoor dining table, and a kids’ playpen just isn't possible in a small space.

Before you start shopping for new furniture or rearranging your space, ask yourself how you plan to use it. What’s most important to you?

Select Furniture that Maximizes Space

When looking at furniture for your outdoor space, try and avoid pieces that will quickly eat up precious real estate — like overstuffed chairs. Rather, look for pieces with a smaller profile and simple lines. These will provide a comfortable place to sit, while also visually maximizing your patio.

bells tables

Look for Furniture that Does Double Duty

Another good way to maximize your space is to select items that do double duty, like an ottoman with built-in-storage or stools that can double as cocktail tables. You might also find it to your advantage of have furniture that can be stacked or folded and stored when not in use. If you want your small space to serve two functions, this is particularly a good option.

Pick Pieces with Low Visual Weight

In addition to selecting seats with smaller frames, consider tables that have glass tops. These allow you to see through them, reducing any visual divide between you and the rest of the patio.

Allow Traffic to Flow

No one wants to feel trapped on the patio. As you select furniture and start arranging it, be sure to keep in mind how traffic will flow into and off your patio.

plants in pots

Bring the Green in Pots

One of the common complaints about small patios is that there’s no room to garden. Luckily, container gardens are a lovely solution. They are much easier to manage. Plus, even just a few plants can make a big impact in a small space.

But be careful with the plants you select. While a lovely small vine looks good in the store, it may quickly take over your outdoor space. If you don’t know a lot about plants — visit your local nursery and talk to a specialist. They can help you select the right plants for your space. One of the important details they will want is how much daylight your outdoor space gets.

Another thing to keep in mind is the fragrance of plants you select. While some fragrance can be nice, you’re dealing with a small space, so a little can go a long way.

Patio String Lights

Make Sure There’s Light

Don’t let your small patio be a daytime-only space. Be sure to incorporate some lighting options. One of the easiest space-friendly ways to light your patio is with overhead string lights, as these don’t take up any precious floor space.

Don’t be Afraid to Add Prints

Prints and Patterns get a bad rap in small spaces. But they shouldn’t. The trick is to make sure you use them sparingly, limit the number of prints you use to one or two, and select patterns with colors that complement the solids on your patio.


Need to find the right outdoor furniture for your patio? Visit out Seattle our Bellevue store. You’ll find a wide variety of options and outdoor furniture specialists who can help you find just what you’re looking for.