Patio decor ideas: 16 ways to spruce up your outdoor space
Hit the refresh button on your backyard with these patio decor ideas and dress your space to impress
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Updating your patio decor ideas is guaranteed to give a lacklustre space a refresh for a summer of outdoor entertaining. And just like the interior of your home, those all-important finishing touches can instantly elevate the overall look of your space.
These style injections can be anything from adding some statement lights or updating soft furnishings to using planting for a more natural take on patio decor. There are plenty of quick and easy budget updates too, so you don't have to spend a fortune to upgrade your patio ideas for the season ahead.
If you want to make sure your patio is a welcoming spot that's perfect for relaxing, entertaining and generally lounging around, these on-trend decor ideas will make sure it stands out for all the right reasons.
Try a new look with these fresh patio decor ideas
Adding some of these patio decor ideas to your outside space is a quick and easy way to refresh your paved space. From simple patio cover ideas to chic options for accessorizing on a budget, you'll find plenty of ways to reflect your personal style in our selection.
1. Use bright accessories for pops of color
If you’re planning to entertain friends and family this summer, Dobbies Garden Centre (opens in new tab)'s resident stylist Rebecca Stanton has some suggestions on how you can transform your patio for these get-togethers. 'Spending quality time with loved ones is one of the best parts about summer, so if you’re entertaining this year, have fun with your outdoor decor and inject some personality into the space with colorful accessories, perfect for hosting,' she says.
Simply choosing some bold pieces and funky prints can instantly elevate your patio, without requiring a complete overhaul of your design. 'Colorful glassware is a must for summer soirees, and to give your space a trendy feel, adorn your patio with quirky string lights that will keep your space illuminated even when the party continues after dark,' says Rebecca.
2. Change your paving for a contemporary feel
If you're looking for a way to easily improve the appearance of your patio decor, Ryan McDonough from MyJobQuote (opens in new tab) believes changing the flooring is one of the best ways to go about this.
'With so many different options available with flooring, you can easily improve the appearance of your patio – especially if your old patio paving is looking a little dull and worn,' says Ryan.
'New flooring can instantly transform the patio. Whether you choose traditional brick pavers, colored pavers such as grey or black, or patterned pavers for a unique look. Let your imagination run wild, and choose a flooring that fits in with your budget and your aesthetic goals.'
If you don't have the budget for a new patio floor right now then consider giving your current one a spruce up by learning how to clean a patio with one of the best pressure washers. Alternatively, cover it up with an outdoor rug, or try painting your existing pavers with an on-trend stencil design.
3. Refresh your patio decor with paint
Choosing your patio decor ideas is all about looking at the bigger picture. This includes the background as well as what sits in the foreground. So if your fence is looking a bit old and worn, this can impact on the feel of the whole patio.
If so, why not try painting it to spruce up its appearance in an instant. 'You can choose any color you like,' says Ryan McDonough. 'You could even paint a mural or some patterns on the fence to make it even more exciting.'
Aaron Markwell, color guru from COAT (opens in new tab), recommends choosing a paint shade that enhances your existing decor, whatever that may be. One of Aaron's pearls of wisdom is to choose green tones if you're wanting to create an illusion of space in a small patio.
4. Include lush planting in your decor plans
'This may seem quite obvious, but if your space is boring, you can quickly make it less boring with some plants,' says Ryan McDonough. 'Plants bring life and color to your patio and can make the space seem much more relaxing,' he says.
Using plants for covering walls to create a lush backdrop for your patio decor ideas is also a great environmental choice. Living walls provide shelter for wildlife as well as absorbing CO2 from the air. Vertical planting can also help to offset the hard landscaping materials you use, particularly if you've gone for something like a concrete patio, for example.
If you live in an urban area a layer of planting on your fence or wall will also help to muffle noise from the outside world.
5. Light up your decor with statement twinkling lights
A set of twinkly lights can add a kind of magic to your patio lighting ideas when the sun goes down. Whether you go for the ever-popular festoon lights or something a little more unique, they can completely transform your outdoor space.
'There are many options available at a great price, and many of these are solar-powered, meaning they cost nothing to run,' says Ryan McDonough.
6. Dress up your patio with pretty paper lanterns
To accomplish a well-thought-out, welcoming space, Marketa Rypacek, Managing Director of Industville Ltd (opens in new tab) believes you need to embrace the complete range of lighting sources available and vary them to create little pockets and pools of illumination.
Ryan McDonough likes paper lanterns, hung from something like a pergola, to provide a laid-back party vibe and illuminate the space above your patio. 'These lights can provide a warm glow to the area, which is great for when you're sitting outside during the summer months,' he says.
Here, the lighting is layered up and uses multiple sources of light, which creates added ambiance for a social gathering.
7. Add a patio umbrella for a practical finishing touch
No patio decor is complete with some shade overhead for those hot summer days, and a classic garden parasol is one of the best ways to achieve this.
Here, a timeless cream design complements the neutral tones of the pool patio perfectly, but there's no reason why you can't use your patio umbrella ideas as a way of introducing a bolder splash of color to your decor.
Decorative fringed designs are a popular garden trend this year, plus they'll instantly transport you to more exotic climes thanks to their vibrant hues and pretty patterns.
8. Decorate a table for a patio party
Need to take your patio decor up a notch for a get-together with family and friends? Going all out with your outdoor table decorating ideas will quickly transform your patio from an everyday space into the perfect setup for a special occasion.
For a classic cottage garden patio vibe like this one, stick to a simple mix of neutral tones for your backdrop and then introduce one or two accent colors to lift the look. Surround your guests with beautiful scent by adding freshly cut flowers from the garden as stunning table centerpieces.
7. Include permanent patio wall lighting
Marketa Rypacek believes in approaching the lighting plan for your patio decor ideas in the same way you would when redesigning an interior room. 'Work out which elements of your outdoor space you wish to highlight, both for practical and aesthetic reasons,' says Marketa.
'After selecting the style or styles of light needed for a space, the next thing which needs careful consideration is their positioning. Think about the direction of each light to ensure you are highlighting areas of your patio that you wish to draw attention to,' says Marketa.
Exterior lighting can accentuate the architecture, colors and textures of your patio materials as well as any patio furniture and planting. 'Make sure you experiment with different positions before you decide on a final placement. You can use a large torch in varying angles to see where it is likely to provide light. For glow without glare, opt for downward facing wall-mounted lights that create a relaxing atmosphere to be enjoyed by all,' recommends Marketa.
9. Make your own DIY patio decorations
'Candles are a great way to add some natural light to your patio area,' says Ryan McDonough. 'Consider dotting around some lanterns with candles inside if you want to light up the flooring area of your patio. Alternatively, if you have some patio furniture, you can simply place some candles on the tabletop to add light to the area.'
No matter the size of your space, this simple DIY table centrepiece will give your patio decor an instant lift. Simply fill terracotta plant pots with sand and then insert several candle sticks inside, making sure you firmly wedge them in so they stay in place when lit. It's a really cheap garden idea and a simple way to decorate your space without requiring you to spend money on accessories that may be thrown away after they've been used.
10. Add a fire pit as a focal point
Fire pit patio ideas are a brilliant addition to your decor if you have the space, suggests Ryan McDonough. 'This will not only add some natural light to the patio, but it will also help to keep you warm when sitting outside at night.'
Take this enclosed patio as an example. The steely silver fire bowl is a visual statement as well as a practical solution for adding warmth. When the log fire is crackling, sitting outside on plump cushions and warm lantern lights, you'll get the ultimate Hygge feeling.
11. Go for on-trend botanical decor
Give your patio decor ideas a whole new look without breaking the bank by updating accessories such as throws and cushions. Striking monochrome paired with green and gold geometric and leafy details is a stylish way to create a holiday-at-home look.
Botanical prints are a great match for foliage plants too, so think about including some of these in your patio gardening ideas. Opt for low-maintenance evergreens like ferns and a statement palm like the musa basjoo (hardy banana) which can survive as an outdoor plant in zones USDA 10 (UK H2) .
12. Cozy up your patio with an outdoor rug
For a simple cozy patio idea and to make your space feel extra welcoming, add an outdoor rug to your decor plans. 'Outdoor rugs are a popular trend,' says Rebecca Stanton. 'Much like the way houseplants can bring the outside in, rugs bring the indoors out and help create a natural flow from home to garden, tapping into the trend of blurring the line between indoors and out. They also create wonderful dimension in outdoor living spaces and will add an extra layer of creativity to your patio.
'Outdoor rugs come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and colors, meaning there’s something to suit every aesthetic,' she adds. 'Much like its indoor counterpart, you should be mindful of how your outdoor rug fits in with your furniture and consider the mood you want to achieve. If you’re looking to create a calming space, consider a pastel rug in a soft pattern.'
13. Use your patio decor to create a sense of calm
If you’d like to give your patio a tranquil look and feel, Rebecca has some zen tips to get you started. If you’re looking to create a relaxing outdoor space to unwind and spend time in nature, comfort is key. 'Start with a comfortable sofa set in a natural material such as Acacia wood and opt for cushions in a neutral shade to create a calming effect,' says Rebecca.
'Decorative pillows and cozy throws will soften the space, and you can play around with your favorite textures and patterns to add depth and interest. Pastel tones work well to bring a sense of calm to an outdoor area, and simply switching out your dark containers for garden planters in warm pastel varieties will make a huge difference.' she says.
14. Layer up textures for added interest
For those looking to create a more intimate patio area, Rebecca suggests playing with tones and textures to inject warmth. 'Even if you’re working with a large and airy outdoor space, you can create a cozy vibe by layering different textures and playing with deeper tones such as terracotta and rust.
'Dark wooden garden furniture, such as a bistro set, is the perfect choice for those looking to enjoy an intimate alfresco meal in the warmer months, and textured throws and cushions in woven fabrics will help soften the furniture’s look,' she adds. 'Accessories in deep jewel tones will add dimension to the space, and to add an extra layer of warmth, a fire pit or chiminea makes the perfect finishing touch.'
How can I decorate my patio cheaply?
If you don't have a budget for spending money on your patio this year that doesn't mean you can't give your space an update. Ryan McDonough has the answers:
- Get creative with some bricks: You can easily build a fire pit out of some curved bricks as a great DIY patio idea. They're not very expensive and can hold without mortar, so it's a quick and easy job to complete.
- Upscale old home items: You can easily create DIY outdoor furniture with old household items. For example, some old shutters can become a great plant stand or side table.
- Re-do your old furniture: Painting garden furniture is an easy way to upgrade it, and you could even add some new upholstery.
- Paint the fence: One of the quickest and easiest ways to update the appearance of your patio decor ideas is by painting the fence. If you already have some old paint lying around, you could even paint your fence at no cost. Our tips on how to paint a fence will ensure you get the best results.
- Buy second-hand furniture: Buying used patio furniture is much cheaper than buying it new. A simple patio furniture set can completely transform the appearance of your patio, and it will also give you a place to relax.
How can I make my patio look nice?
If you're stuck with a starting point for your new patio decor ideas then you might find Ryan McDonough's suggestions inspiring:
- Display plants on a fence: If you're looking for a way to spruce up your wooden fence, try adding some plants to it. Mix and match your favorite plants in pots to provide an eye-catching look.
- Add accessories: Some simple but stylish accessories such as a woven serving tray for drinks and snacks are a must-have for a sociable and inviting environment.
- Incorporate a swing chair: A swing chair is a playful but elegant piece of furniture that looks great and provides extra outdoor seating.
- Add a fountain: Water feature ideas can add some sophistication to your patio, and the water sounds are extremely relaxing and a great boost for your mental health.
- Think green: The more greenery and life you can bring to your patio, the better. Try adding some potted plants, trailing vines, and hanging planters.
- Invest in all-weather furniture: Think about adding some durable furniture that will see you through every season. Give your best garden furniture a fresh appearance with some graphic pillows and cushions.
- Add a garden parasol: There's nothing better in the summer than a stylish patio umbrella that provides shade when needed and improves your patio's appearance.
Teresa has worked as an Editor on a number of gardening magazines for three years now. So she is lucky enough to see and write about gardening across all sizes, budgets and abilities. She recently moved into her first home and the garden is a real project! Currently she is relishing planning her own design and planting schemes. What she is most passionate about when it comes to gardening are the positive effects it has on our mental health to grow and care for plants, as well as being great for the environment too and help provide food and shelter for wildlife.
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