Furnishing a small patio can be overwhelming due to the limited square footage, but with some careful planning, you can get the space furnished to suit your needs perfectly. Whether you want your patio to combine a comfortable seating area with a lush garden or you would like to use the space for barbecuing, you’ll need to keep in mind the function you want while shopping for patio furniture.
1. Defining the Purpose and Planning the Layout
Understanding Space Utilization
Start by determining the primary function of your outdoor area. Is it a place for relaxation, dining, entertaining guests, or a combination of these? This decision is crucial as it directs the choice of furniture and the overall layout. For instance, a relaxation area might prioritize a comfortable lounger or hammock, while a dining area would require a compact table and chairs.
Visualizing and Measuring
Once the purpose is clear, visualize how you want the space to look and feel. Take precise measurements of the area to understand the available space. Remember, in a small outdoor area, even a few inches can make a significant difference in choosing the right furniture and accessories.
Creating a Scaled Layout
Use the measurements to draw a scaled layout on paper or create a virtual model using interior design software. This step is vital for experimenting with different furniture arrangements without physical effort or cost. It helps in identifying the best placement for each piece of furniture, ensuring there’s enough room for movement and that the area doesn’t feel cramped.
Considering Scale and Proportion
While planning the layout, consider the scale and proportion of furniture relative to the space. Opt for pieces that are appropriately sized – neither too large to dominate the space, nor too small to be impractical. For example, in a narrow balcony, a slender bistro set might be more appropriate than a bulky outdoor sofa.
Incorporating Traffic Flow
Plan for how people will move through the space. Ensure there’s a clear and accessible path to enter and exit the area, and consider how movement around furniture will occur. This is especially important for entertaining spaces where guests might be moving around with food and drinks.
Flexibility in Design
Given the varying needs of an outdoor space, it’s beneficial to choose furniture that can serve multiple purposes or be easily moved and stored. For example, ottomans that double as extra seating or storage, or foldable chairs that can be tucked away when not in use.
2. Maximizing Corner Space
Corners in small outdoor spaces are often overlooked, yet they hold great potential for maximizing utility. Here are some strategies to make the most out of these areas:
Look for furniture designed specifically for corner spaces, such as corner benches or L-shaped seating. These pieces can provide ample seating or lounging options without taking up too much floor space.
In some cases, custom-built pieces may be the best way to fully utilize corner spaces. Custom seating or storage solutions can be tailored to fit precisely, ensuring no space is wasted.
Integrating with Surroundings
If your outdoor area is bordered by fences or walls, consider integrating corner elements with these structures. Built-in seating or planters that follow the lines of the surrounding walls can look seamless and intentional.
Even if a corner doesn’t lend itself to functional furniture, it can still be a focal point. A statement piece like a sculptural plant, a unique outdoor artwork, or a decorative lighting fixture can add interest and character to the space.
Consider using lightweight, movable pieces in corners so you can easily reconfigure the space for different needs. Folding chairs or a small table can be stored in the corner and brought out when needed.
Transform a corner into a cozy nook with the addition of cushions, throws, and a small side table. This can create an intimate space for reading, relaxing, or enjoying a cup of coffee.
3. Strategic Furniture Selection for Small Outdoor Spaces
Space-Saving and Multi-Functional Furniture
Opt for furniture that offers multiple uses or can be easily stored away when not needed. Examples include foldable chairs and tables, benches with built-in storage, or extendable dining sets that can be adjusted based on the number of guests. Ottomans that serve as both seating and storage are also excellent choices.
Choose furniture that fits the scale of your space. Avoid oversized pieces that can make the area feel cramped. Instead, select compact and streamlined pieces that provide comfort without occupying too much room. For example, a slim-profiled lounger or a small, round bistro table can be more fitting for a tiny patio or balcony.
Versatile and Lightweight Designs
Consider lightweight furniture that can be easily moved around. This flexibility allows you to rearrange the setup for different occasions, whether you’re hosting a gathering or enjoying a quiet, solitary moment. Furniture made from materials like aluminum or rattan is both lightweight and durable.
Ensure your outdoor furniture complements the overall style and color scheme of your home. Consistency in style creates a seamless transition from indoors to outdoors, making the space feel like an extension of your home. Whether it’s modern, rustic, or somewhere in between, choose a style that reflects your personal taste.
Durability and Maintenance
Select materials that can withstand the elements and require minimal maintenance. Outdoor furniture materials like teak, metal, resin, and all-weather wicker are known for their durability and ease of care. Also, consider weather-resistant cushions and fabrics for added comfort.
To maximize seating in a small space, consider built-in seating solutions like bench seating along the perimeter of the space. This approach not only saves space but also adds a custom, integrated look to your outdoor area.
Enhance your furniture with smart accessories. Use decorative cushions for added comfort and style, or employ a colorful outdoor rug to define the space and add warmth. Umbrellas or awnings can provide shade and make the space more usable throughout the day.
If you’re interested in buying furniture designed for smaller spaces, feel free to contact us for recommendations for your patio.