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How to Design an Outdoor Living Space for Any Budget

Thinking of transforming your backyard into an outdoor living oasis? There are a lot of factors to consider when designing your dream outdoor living room—the amount of space you have, the local climate, and how much you’re willing to spend. Below are ideas to help you create a beautiful outdoor space for any budget!

Explore Outdoor Living Space Ideas

There are countless ways to transform your backyard. Check out these outdoor room ideas before you choose a theme and begin making over your space!

Embrace the Classic Outdoor Living Room

Hoping to create a versatile backyard option? An open and inviting outdoor living room is your best bet! Comfy chairs and sofas, a place to set your drink, and an emphasis on coming together are all it really takes to design an outdoor living room.

Design a Poolside Paradise

If you live in a city with hot summers or you’re an avid swimmer, you may want to dedicate your outdoor space to a swimming pool or pond. A water feature will naturally become the focal point of your entertaining space, so you should begin planning and decorating here to create a seamless aesthetic.

Be the Game Day Destination

Want to dedicate your deck or patio to your love of sports? Place a TV at the center of everything! Investing in an outdoor TV will make your backyard the perfect destination for game day!

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Belly Up to the Bar

Ice cold drinks are a staple of any great gathering! So if you know your parties will center around mixed drinks, design your outdoor living area around the bar! Even if you don’t have space for an outdoor living room with a kitchen, you can still keep guests happy with a small outdoor bar.

Become the Neighborhood Grill Master

Looking to become the neighborhood hotspot for brats and burgers? An outdoor kitchen is a classic choice for your outdoor space. Adding a built-in grill and fridge to your backyard will keep the party going!

Bring the Inside Outside

A stone or brick fireplace is the perfect way to center your backyard living space around coming together. If you’re dreaming of creating a beautiful space for relaxing or catching up on a good book, a fireplace brings the heat!

Escape to a Secret Garden

secret garden getaway with seating and a table and plants on the ceiling photo by Instagram user @gretefaxvaag

Photo via @gretefaxvaag

Imagining a quaint outdoor space to slip away to? Dreaming of a quiet backyard reading nook? Go for a tucked-away garden escape! After all, not every backyard getaway has to be about entertaining.

How to Arrange an Outdoor Space

Regardless of budget or size, there are plenty of ideas that can enhance almost every outdoor area. It’s easy to maximize outside living spaces with these design tips and tricks!

Utilize Deck Space

back deck with multiple seating areas and an umbrella photo by Instagram user @debradolechek

Photo via @debradolechek

Backyard getaways don’t have to reserved for large grassy lawns. Make the most of your covered outdoor living area, and transform your deck with vibrant colors and comfy furniture.

Build Your Own Patio

Make your outside living space more permanent by adding a stone or brick patio. This quite literally sets the stage for entertaining and lets your guests know that your backyard parties are not a passing fad.

DIY Idea: Create a patio on your own! If you’re not afraid to really put in some elbow grease, try recreating this charming DIY from The Family Handyman.

Construct Decorative Walls

natural wood beams in the ceiling and down the walls with wood seating outside photo by Instagram user @surfacetheory

Photo via @surfacetheory

Doors, curtains, furniture, and plants can all be used to give the illusion of an outdoor living room with walls. This allows you to enjoy your outdoor space all while having the option of privacy.

Make the Most of Floor Space

blankets and pillows placed on the floor outdoors to make more room in a small backyard photo by Instagram user @lil._.bird

Photo via @lil._.bird

No grass? No problem! Use blankets, cushions, footstools, and a comfy chair or two to create a cozy area for friends and family to lounge.

Organize Multiple Seating Areas

table and chairs and outdoor couch spaced on the deck photo by Instagram user @iddesign_hun

Photo via @iddesign_hun

When it comes to patio furniture setup ideas, having multiple areas for people to sit is one of the best. This can make your backyard seem bigger, and it helps create separate areas for entertaining. Plants, columns, and outdoor rugs can also aid in creating more than one designated area, no matter the size of your backyard!

Designate Areas with Tiki Lights

Tiki torches and lamps are backyard staples. Not only do these kerosene lamps keep bugs away, but these decorative lanterns can also be used to designate seating areas outside.

DIY Idea: If you’re trying to decorate outdoor living spaces on a budget, reuse what you have! Empty beer bottles or wine bottles can easily be converted into citronella tiki torches!

Incorporate a Gazebo

white gazebo built into a back patio photo by Instagram user @danalli4

Photo via @danalli4

Whether you already have a backyard gazebo or you’re dreaming of adding one to make your space a little more magical, this standout structure is the perfect way to add whimsy to your outdoor area! Especially if you’re searching for decorating ideas for a large yard or patio, an outdoor gazebo is the perfect way to create distinct entertaining areas!

Outdoor Decorating Trends

Now that you’ve chosen a theme for your backyard paradise and determined the layout for your patio furniture, it’s time to liven up your space with some decorating tips!

Embrace a White Color Palette

white deck with pergola attached to the house over the deck photo by Instagram user @ahrremodeling

Photo via @ahrremodeling

You don’t need to be in the Hamptons to give a white color palette a try! Create a timeless and beachy outdoor living space with a white deck, pergola, or furniture.

Don’t Forget String Lights

small table on a patio with string lights hanging between posts photo by Instagram user @blesserhouse

Photo via @blesserhouse

Tying together an outdoor living room can be as simple as adding fun lights! No matter your budget, twinkle lights are a simple and cheap way to decorate and make the space feel cozier!

Try a Modern Twist on Wicker

wicker furniture in backyard with flowers on table photo by Instagram user @twojasiesta_pl

Photo via @twojasiesta_pl

Wicker furniture has been long been a staple of outdoor furniture. It’s lightweight and waterproof qualities make it a smart choice for most climates. But just because it’s a tried and true option doesn’t mean you have to stick with the status quo! Wicker patio furniture comes in many different designs and styles.

Invest in Iron Furniture

Sturdy outdoor furniture never goes out of style! Especially if you live in a windy city, iron or stone furniture will last longer and be less of a risk for blowing away.

Add a Fan or Two

The right fan can make your outdoor living room more comfortable. Fans make the space seem more permanent, and they combat summer heat and pesky bugs. Your guests will thank you for it!

Create Shade with Umbrellas

blue umbrella on a deck with seating around photo by Instagram user @gruth3

Photo via @gruth3

Protect your skin and keep your drink cold with a sun umbrella! Not only do umbrellas provide shade so you can enjoy the outdoors on hot days, but they also make great decorations!

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Install Garden Lights

small dining set under a pergola with garden lighting leading to seats in grass photo by Instagram user @have2havehome

Photo via @have2havehome

These tiny lights help create a path for guests to see where they’re going and instantly add charm to your outdoor living space. Opt for timeless solar-powered glass orbs or get funky with lights shaped like mushrooms or birds. Gardeners.com has lots of unique options!

Make Your Space Stand Out

Give your guests something to talk about with an interesting backyard piece! Design the best backyard living space on the block by adding some visually interesting elements.

Include a Fire Pit

firepit installed outside the home on back patio with seating all around photo by Instagram user @sheahomesco

Photo via @sheahomesco

Having a fire feature is a staple of any outdoor living area. If you don’t have the space or the budget for a grandiose fireplace, finding a budget-friendly fire pit or building your own are both great options.

DIY Idea: Make S’mores your new family tradition! Try building this simple and inexpensive DIY fire pit from Keeping it Simple.

Add a Chandelier

outdoor patio with pool in the background and chandelier hanging from ceiling photo by Instagram user @lightsonline

Photo via @lightsonline

Fancy lighting isn’t just for indoors! Add an element of sophistication to your indoor-outdoor entertaining space with an unique lighting fixture.

Create Fun with a Putting Green

backyard putting green with three holes using fake turf photo by Instagram user @scott_dfw_turf

Photo via @scott_dfw_turf

Add fun for the whole family when you incorporate a home putting green! Make the most of extra green space with backyard golf and quickly become the go-to neighborhood hangout.

DIY Idea: Family fun doesn’t have to cost a fortune! Try this budget-friendly DIY outdoor putting green from Dogwood Golf.

Go with a Hanging Chair

Make the most of your pergola or covered deck! Get the cozy yet fun outdoor seating you’ve always wanted with a hanging egg chair, hammock, or swing. Just be sure the structure is able to bear the weight!

Incorporate a Water Feature

Looking for an idea to make your space stand out? Try an outdoor water fountain! Not only will this add visual excitement to your backyard, but it will also create a relaxing sound for you to enjoy!

DIY Idea: Want to learn how to build your own backyard fountain? Can’t wait to get your hands dirty? This do-it-yourself tutorial from This Old House is for you!

Show Off an Outdoor Sculpture

tiki sculpture place in a planting bed in the backyard photo by Instagram user @5_oh_tiki

Photo via @5_oh_tiki

Adding backyard art will instantly make any outdoor space look more refined! If classy cocktail parties and book clubs are on your agenda, consider adding a sculpture to your yard or patio!

Try a Backyard Canopy

Not only will these deck or patio shades create visual interest, but a canopy will also help block the wind and sun at your next garden party. Stick with traditional design styles with a fabric sail shade or create a canopy with lush vines and leaves for a more natural feel!

DIY Idea: Want to make your own shade? Try this simple DIY outdoor canopy from AllYou!

Whether you’re searching for small patio furniture, fire pit ideas for a spacious backyard, or the perfect focal point to make your yard pop, the outdoor room of your dreams is possible on any budget!

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