Home > Home Organization > DIY Projects > How to Design an Outdoor Living Space for Any Budget
Sunny outdoor living space

How to Design an Outdoor Living Space for Any Budget

Looking for outdoor living space ideas? As a top dream backyard idea, designing an outdoor living area has a lot of factors to consider—the amount of space you have, the local climate, and how much you’re willing to spend. Here are 32 ideas to create and design an outdoor living space!

Explore Outdoor Living Space Ideas

There are countless ways to transform your backyard—no matter the size. Get inspiration from these outdoor room ideas before you choose a theme and begin making over your space!

Embrace the Classic Outdoor Living Room

An open and inviting outdoor living room encourages gathering together. Try adding a fire pit, hammock, porch swing, or setting up an outdoor game in your backyard living space. If you’re trying to create an outdoor living area in a small backyard, no problem! Providing comfy chairs and sofas, trendy houseplants, 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

Scenic backyard view of house with a swimming pool. Photo by Instagram user @ intexdandc

Photo via @intexdandc

If you live in a city with hot summers or you’re an avid swimmer, you may want to include a swimming pool or pond in your outdoor living area. A water feature will naturally become the focal point of your entertaining space, so you should begin planning and decorating to create a seamless aesthetic. Infinity pools, waterfall pools, pools with slides, elevated pools, built-in jacuzzi pools, and swim-up bar pools are all pool designs that will elevate your backyard.

Or Start Small with a Soothing Water Feature

A budget-friendly outdoor living space design idea is to opt for smaller, unique water features. Add an outdoor fountain or beautiful sculpture in the center of your outdoor space to add a focal point. Pave a small courtyard around your fountain, or provide seating options so you and your guests can admire your outdoor garden feature. Or go for a small, bubbling creek to create a backyard paradise!

Entertain in a Social Front Yard

Your outdoor living space doesn’t have to be behind your home—entertain friends, family, and neighbors with a social front yard! This outdoor living space design idea is particularly useful for people with smaller or already-established backyards. Homeowners can combine socializing and gardening by extending their living space to their front lawn. Expand your porch or add more seating areas to create a bigger social space in your yard for entertaining. Plant an edible garden in your front yard so the whole neighborhood can enjoy!

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. Tailgating in your backyard with your team’s logo emblazoned on decorations is another option to show off your team spirit at a game day party. Entertain guests during commercial breaks or halftime in a designated space for outdoor games like corn hole, frisbee, or horseshoes.

Become the Neighborhood Grill Master

A backyard living area is the perfect space to host a cookout. Looking to become the neighborhood hotspot for bratwursts and burgers? An outdoor kitchen is a fantastic addition to your backyard, allowing you to easily cook and store your food without leaving your guests. Stash your grilling tools in your outdoor kitchen’s drawers or cupboards to keep the area decluttered and organized.

Socialize with Friends at the Bar

Ice-cold drinks are a staple of any great outdoor 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 space with a complete kitchen, you can still keep guests happy and hydrated at outdoor parties with a small outdoor bar.

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

Design your outdoor living area to include a tucked-away garden escape! After all, not every backyard getaway has to be about entertaining. Landscaping around a stone walkway, planting tall shrubbery, or creating visual appeal with a dry stream are all simple DIY landscaping ideas. Bedazzling garden stones, hanging plants, and installing a garden arbor can transform your backyard living space into a secret garden that fits any budget. If you live in the Southwest, try your hand at xeriscaping, which can reduce your water usage by up to 80%!

Search Form Find an Extra Space Storage facility near you

How to Arrange an Outdoor Space

Regardless of the size of your budget or your outdoor space, installing an outdoor living area can add value to your home while also providing you with a convenient and attractive hosting space. Designing an outdoor space often depends on your needs, which can vary from creating a small, cozy nook or a large hosting space. Use these design tips and tricks to help you maximize your outside living space!

Build Your Own Patio

Make your outside living space more permanent by adding a stone or brick patio. This literally sets the stage for entertaining and lets your guests know that your backyard parties are not a passing fad. A backyard patio can be either attached or detached from your home, and you can incorporate unique design elements into the space with patterned stone floors or pergolas for privacy.

Utilize Deck Space

Backyard getaways don’t have to be reserved for large grassy lawns. Make the most of your covered outdoor living area, and transform your deck with vibrant colors and comfy furniture. Hang plants and place a patio table or outdoor furniture set to give you and your guests some privacy and a space to eat. Make your deck the ultimate relaxing space by adding cozy throw blankets and pillows on chairs or benches.

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, 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. Texturize your space by adding brick, stone, or a wood-patterned wall, or go for an oasis vibe and use linen or thin cotton curtains.

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 helps break up your outdoor space. 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!

Add the Illusion of Space with Levels

If your backyard’s on the smaller side, there are solutions to make it appear bigger. Breaking up the space with levels—like an elevated garden or raised planter bed, sunken patio, or a container garden—creates depth in smaller outdoor spaces. Divide the area with small walls, artificial turf, or decking to better define your outdoor room. Add a structure like a trellis or pergola to direct the flow of traffic through your space while also setting up a focal point in your backyard.

Utilize Decorative & Hidden Storage

An excellent way to keep your outdoor living room organized is to use hidden storage solutions in your backyard! Store lawn care items or outdoor furniture in a shed. Conceal outdoor games in patio furniture drawers. Install fun shelving, paint your shed, or select a storage container with an aesthetic that coordinates with your outdoor living area’s theme!

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 fairy tail-like structure is the perfect way to add a whimsical vibe to your outdoor living area! Especially if you’re searching for large yard or patio decor ideas, an outdoor gazebo can help create a designated entertainment space in your backyard.

Outdoor Decorating Trends

Once you’ve chosen a theme for your backyard paradise and determined the layout of your outdoor living area, it’s time to get into the details. Liven up your backyard with these seven trendy outdoor space decor tips!

Embrace a Neutral Color Palette

An outdoor pool with white patio furniture. Photo by Instagram user @azenco.outdoor

Photo via @azenco.outdoor

Embracing a neutral color palette in your outdoor living area can make your space more open and airy! Achieve a timeless beach aesthetic by going with a white, beige, or wooden deck, pergola, or patio furniture. Accent your main color with other neutral tones within the same palette—like reclaimed grayscale farm wood or woven baskets—to take your outdoor living space design to the next level!

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 for outdoor living areas. Its lightweight and waterproof qualities make it a smart choice for most climates. But just because it’s a tried-and-true backyard decor option, that doesn’t mean you have to stick with the status quo! Wicker patio furniture comes in many different designs and styles to fit your outdoor living space.

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 is less likely to blow away. While you can go with a plain iron bistro set, create a cohesive backyard design and opt for a neutral-colored and elegant iron furniture set. Properly storing patio furniture can ensure your items remain in good condition between uses, and prevent rust from forming.

Embrace Sustainable Decor

Utilizing sustainable decor and installing green upgrades in your backyard is a perfect way to help the environment. Incorporating natural materials like terracotta pots, or purchasing sustainably-sourced wood furniture can make your outdoor living space more eco-friendly. Embrace sustainable practices outdoors by buying furniture made from recycled materials or upcycling furniture pieces you already have.

Add a Fan or Two

The right fan can make your outdoor living room more comfortable. Use a classic box fan on a stand for a quick solution, or install a ceiling fan to help circulate more air in your backyard living area and combat summer heat and pesky bugs. Ceiling fans can also make the space seem more permanent!

Add a Pop of Color with Plants

Small and large outdoor plants placed in the backyard living area. Photo by Instagram user @hekiwihome

Photo via @hekiwihome

Placing outdoor plants in your backyard space can add color and contrast to a plain backyard—especially if you opt for colorful or patterned pots! Setting large-leafed plants near doors or flowering plants near windows overlooking gardens can help to create a seamless connection between indoor and outdoor space. If you’re limited on space, you can build a vertical wall garden to add color and texture to your outdoor living area.

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 on patio tables or near pools! If you live in a climate with extreme weather, consider purchasing a removable umbrella, so you don’t have to replace season after season.

Make Your Space Stand Out

Give your guests something to talk about with an interesting feature that’s central to your patio’s design! Transform your backyard into the best outdoor living area on your block with these five ideas!

Include a Fire Pit

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

Photo via @sheahomesco

Create the ultimate outdoor living room by installing a stone or brick outdoor fireplace. Having a fire feature is a popular outdoor living area idea because it’s the perfect way to center your backyard living space around coming together. If you don’t have the space or the budget for a fancy fireplace, opt for a budget-friendly or build your own fire pit.

Designate a Sports Area

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 by incorporating an outdoor putting green in your backyard! Whether you choose a professional installation or do a homemade backyard golf course, you’ll quickly become the go-to neighborhood hangout. Include other equipment like a soccer net, tennis net, or basketball hoop for a variety of active entertainment.

Swing in a Hanging Chair

Make your outdoor living space cozy and fun, and DIY some outdoor furniture! This allows you to add personality and style to your outdoor living area—and it’s budget-friendly! Use outdoor seating you’ve always wanted, like a hanging egg chair, hammock, or swing. Just be sure the structure is able to bear the weight! To create the ultimate relaxation spot, add decorative pillows and cozy blankets to your hanging chair.

Try a Backyard Canopy

Not only will these deck or patio shades create visual interest, but an outdoor canopy will also help block the wind and sun at your next garden party. Stick to traditional design styles with a fabric sail or create a canopy with lush vines and leaves for a more natural feel. Or make your own shade by finding the perfect material and canopy design for your outdoor living space.

Set Up an Outdoor Cinema Space

Want to watch your favorite film under the stars? Hang fairy lights, set up an outdoor projector, and cozy-up outdoor cushions or chairs to create the ultimate entertainment space for movie night! You can project your movie on the side of your house or on a large sheet to ensure all of your guests can see the film.

Experiment with Outdoor Lights

Outdoor lighting plays a key role in brightening up your space at night! Plus, as a home feature buyers want most, investing in landscape lighting can help increase your home’s value. Learn more about which lights work best for outdoor living areas below!

Place Tiki Lights Strategically

Tiki torches are backyard staples. Not only do these kerosene-fueled lamps keep bugs away—they can also be used to designate seating areas outside. Plus, tiki lights are a great place to start if you want to try out DIY patio ideas—empty beer bottles or wine bottles can easily be converted into citronella tiki torches!

Pick Out Eco-Friendly Lighting

Utilizing sustainable lighting in places like a walkway, around pergola columns, in your lamppost, or throughout your garden is an eco-conscious backyard idea. Go with solar landscape lighting for free illumination of your space. Replace old lightbulbs with LED lights can make your space more eco-friendly while also reducing energy consumption.

Add a Chandelier

A chandelier placed above the backyard seating area. 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 a unique lighting fixture placed above a seating area or your entrance door. Common types of outdoor chandeliers include large pendant lights, chandeliers with woven metallic frames or rectangular frames, and classic candelabra styles.

Install Garden Lights

An assortment of outdoor lighting illuminating the backyard. 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 glass orbs for seamless transitions between design themes. Your outdoor lighting can personalize your backyard if you want lights shaped like mushrooms or birds.

Don’t Forget String Lights

No matter your budget, twinkle lights are a simple and affordable way to decorate your outdoor living room and make the space feel cozier! You can hang string lights on trees, a railing, on a fence, or under the roof of a covered deck and patio. There are also many different types of string lights that are easy to incorporate into your backyard living area, including colored lights, wire rope lights, and solar LED lantern lights.


Need somewhere to store your backyard decor? Extra Space Storage has self storage locations across the country that can help you get more space at home. Find self storage near you!

Pinterest graphic: Backyard Paradise: 32 Design Ideas