Originally Published on March 26, 2020. Last Updated on December 5, 2023.
Enchanting, elemental, and inviting, fire pits greatly enhance the ambiance regardless of space size, season, or design style. And if you don’t have the budget for a total renovation, a fire pit table can single-handedly transform your outdoor area without breaking the bank. Here are our favorite fire pit ideas to inspire your next backyard glow-up, including several from renowned designers.
For Waterfront Living
Traci Connell’s Lakeside Retreat
After a day on the water, there’s nothing better than gathering by a warm fire with the whole crew. For her lake house, interior designer Traci Connell opted for a white square fire pit table with ample surface space (hello, happy hour) around the inner glow. The color-coordinated deep seating furniture and stormy-grey cushions blend beautifully with her surroundings.
Poolside Fire Pit Table
Whether you have a pool or intend to install one, a nearby fire pit area makes the space feel extra inviting. Not to mention, fireside drinks at dusk or s’mores with towel-wrapped toddlers are the perfect ending to a day of fun in the sun. Since there will be lots of bare feet, we recommend a smokeless fire pit for your pool setting.
For City & Suburban Settings
Anthony Carrino’s Urban Rooftop Deck
You know what they say: Two fire pit tables are better than one. And Anthony Carrino’s layout is proof. To build out his rooftop deck in Jersey City, the designer/developer used two square pieces to create a large rectangular fire pit that a large group can enjoy together. What a bright idea.
Kara Williams’ Cozy Nook
Want to create a semi-secluded nook in a spacious backyard? Take a page from influencer Kara Williams’ design book. Using stone pavers and her existing fence, she designated a corner of her yard for loved ones to dine and unwind around an in-ground fire pit. Globe string lights add even more shine to this already luminous location.
Outdoor Fireplaces for Endless Ambiance
Taryn Whiteaker’s Outdoor Living Room
From after-work aperitifs to Sunday morning snuggles, home is where the hearth is. Designer Taryn Whiteaker’s built-in stone and brick fireplace creates a natural focal point in her family’s outdoor living room, where candles, farmhouse-inspired furniture, and cuddly-soft layers complete the space. It’s giving warm fuzzies.
For Large Yards
Taryn Whiteaker’s Modern Backyard
Sleek and chic is the name of the game in this Seattle-based backyard designed by Taryn Whiteaker. Low, angular seating encircles a statement concrete fire pit, while poufs and plants bring in softness and natural energy to this modern gathering place.
Anthony Carrino’s Stone House
In terms of function, style, and overall design potential, a large backyard leaves plenty of room to play. But without a plan, it can feel a bit barren or easily become unkempt. The key here is to frame your sprawling space into “rooms.” Designer/developer Anthony Carrino pulls this concept right off at his home in the Catskills. An in-ground fire pit anchors the primary seating area, while a hanging cauldron brings rustic warmth to the yard’s back corner.
For Scintillating Small Spaces
Tabletop Fire Pit Bowl
If you rent, are low on square footage, or aren’t ready to commit to a built-in design, tabletop fire pits are a cost-, space- and time-saving alternative. These portable designs have a smaller footprint while still offering loads of ambiance. Adding to the versatility, there are endless sizes and styles out there, which makes these one of the most crowd-pleasing fire pit options.
The floating effect of a freestanding bowl makes a bold statement and accentuates a circular patio or any small space. All you need before you order your concrete basin is your budget and preferred color. Use the color scheme of the outdoor furniture you already own to create cohesion or opt for a contrasting shade for visual interest.
Whether you have a modern home or a rustic wood cabin, the charm of a cauldron-inspired fire pit is unrivaled. These portable fire pits typically boast a tall base that supports a large, steel bowl where you can burn wood safely and enjoy the nostalgic aroma, cozy crackling sound, and magic of flickering flames.
For Cool-Weather Celebrations
Fall is truly the fire pit’s season to shine. Whether it’s Friendsgiving, at-home Oktoberfest, or hot cocoa night, center your celebration around a fire pit table, which has integrated surface area to set down drinks or dish out your famous apple pie. For an at-home date idea, you can sharpen your s’more-making skills and toast champagne under a starlit sky.
Beat the winter blues by bundling up together by a roaring fire. While we typically retreat indoors during chilly months, a cozy fire pit gives us a good reason to get back outside and breathe in the fresh air. Not to mention it’s a great option if you have a full house and need another hangout spot.
DIY Fire Pit Ideas
In-Ground Stone and Brick Fire Pit
In-ground fire pits blend seamlessly into your backyard’s landscape, adding casual elegance and creating a gathering place. This type of fire pit can cost you less than $100, depending on where you buy supplies. But first and foremost: Research full instructions for how to create and use your in-ground fire pit correctly.
Note: Since they’re less visible than other options, in-ground fire pits may pose a safety issue if you have small kids or pets.
Round Stone Fire Pit
Stone DIY fire pits are among the most affordable options if you want to take on a weekend project. You can find many full tutorials for this online, but here’s the general idea:
Determine the intended dimensions of your fire pit. Use spray paint to make a circle then excavate the area to a depth of about six inches, making sure it’s level. Then start building your fire pit up using your chosen fire-safe stone material. You may want to add concrete or mortar between layers for added stability. When choosing your material, look for palletized stone to ensure a uniform shape and size.
Square Concrete Fire Pit
Concrete fire features are becoming increasingly popular thanks to their sleek, modern aesthetic. These can also be built high enough to comfortably roast marshmallows as you lounge in a deep seating sofa. This DIY project is ambitious, so find a blueprint and plan that meets your skill level.
Easy Fire Pit Project
Looking for a fire pit project so easy, a caveperson could do it? Gather medium and large stones from around your property and arrange them in a circle. You want the rocks tall enough to contain the flames and seating situated a safe distance away. If you already have firewood or artificial outdoor fire logs, you can achieve this cozy, campground-inspired set sans any fancy tools, dollars, or trips to the hardware store.
What are propane-powered fire pit tables?
This is a type of outdoor fire feature that, instead of burning wood, is fueled by propane. And as the name suggests, they’re designed with a tabletop for food and drinks. Propane fire pit tables typically ignite with a push-button or similar easy-to-use ignition system.
What do you put in the bottom of a fire pit?
Depending on the look you’re going for, you can top off a base layer of sand with gravel paver base, lava rocks, or fire glass to line the bottom of your fire pit. (Some may opt to just use a layer of sand or dirt.) These non-flammable materials help unify the overall aesthetic and extinguish rouge embers.
How do you style an outdoor fire pit?
To style an outdoor fire pit, you want to start with durable, weatherproof seating that’s comfortable enough for extended gatherings. Then layer in soft blankets, throw pillows, and other tactile accents. Finish the look with decor that speaks to you: large potted plants for privacy, a sculptural firewood rack, or a statement vessel with fire tools.
What is the best coping for a fire pit?
The best materials to use as your fire pit coping stones (the topmost layer of your fire pit’s walls) include natural stone, concrete, and brick. What you choose will be determined by the fire pit design you have in mind and whether you want a cohesive look or an extra pop of color and textural contrast.