How to Decorate Your Patio: A Guide by Patio Size

Originally Published on October 20, 2020. Last Updated on December 18, 2023.

Patios come in all shapes and sizes. But no matter the square footage, any space can be transformed into an outdoor oasis. You just have to understand what you’re working with and how much room you have to play.

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Small Patio
Medium Patio
Large Patio

Average Patio Sizes

Depending on where you live, the overall size of your home, and your personal opinion, what’s considered small, medium, and large patios is somewhat relative. But for the purposes of this guide, we’re categorizing size based on average numbers. To find square feet, measure the length and width of your space (in feet) and multiply those two numbers. 

Patios are considered small when they measure at or below 100 square feet, while medium-sized patios have larger areas ranging between 121 and 256 square feet. Taking up the most space are large patios, with sizes starting at roughly 324 square feet and increasing from there.  

How to Decorate a Small Patio

Limited space doesn’t mean limited potential. Whether you live in an apartment or have an intimate area in your backyard, these tips can help you perfect your small-patio style.

Determine the Purpose of Your Space

A small patio doesn’t have the luxury of being a multipurpose area like a large patio. Before making any decorating decisions, determine what you want to do with your space. Depending on the design and size of your space, a small patio can effectively accommodate one or maybe two activities. Think about your lifestyle and decide what activities are most important to you. Are you a social butterfly who loves entertaining? Do you prefer to have some solitude while unwinding after work?

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Featured: Riviera Modern Lounge Loveseat and Riviera Modern Coffee Table in Black/Dune Burlap

Here are some ideas of how you can use your small outdoor space:

  • A casual dining spot for breakfast, lunch, or dinner
  • A quiet nook for reading or sunbathing
  • An intimate conversation area anchored by a coffee table or fire pit table
  • A minibar where you can mix tasty cocktails for guests

Choose Outdoor Furniture Strategically

POLYWOOD Modern Studio Urban Chair 3-Piece Seating Set in Black
Featured: Modern Studio Urban Chair 3-Piece Seating Set in Black

Choosing furniture that’s too large can overwhelm your patio quickly. That’s why it’s important to measure your area before picking out furniture. Once you have an idea of your patio’s size and scale, you can start to select outdoor furniture that works within your space. 

Keep a few of these tips in mind when shopping for small patio furniture:

  • Consider outdoor furniture that features simple lines, low backs, and no arms. This type of furniture can help make your patio look more spacious.
  • Place a bench along one or more sides of your patio for extra seating.
  • Consider shopping for ottomans. They’re incredibly versatile pieces of furniture that you can use as seating, footrests, coffee tables, storage, and more. 
  • Look for foldable or stackable furniture. Whenever they’re not in use, you can easily stow them away to make more room for your patio.
  • Plan the traffic flow correctly. Don’t block access points or put furniture in spots where it’s difficult or awkward for guests to get around.

Bring in Plants

Plants make excellent flourishes for small patios, instantly adding natural beauty, texture, and color. Depending on the height and placement, plants can also provide shade and privacy for your small patio. 

Consider vertical planters, plant stands, and plant hangers to display your greenery. All of these plant containers add visual interest to a small patio while maximizing the limited space. If you have an open patio, use landscaping to create a border around your area.

Vineyard Deep Seating Chair & Long Island 18" Side Table
Featured:  Vineyard Deep Seating Chair and Long Island 18″ Side Table in Black/Weathered Tweed

When in Doubt, Less Is More

Too much of anything is going to overcrowd your small outdoor space. Extra chairs for impromptu guests should only be out when in use. Small decor items and trinkets should be kept to a minimum. If you feel like your patio is too busy, you may have to prioritize and make some cuts. 

Here are some other easy tips to help make your patio feel larger:

  • Add an attractive outdoor rug to your area. It pulls the room together while also giving the impression that there’s more space. Striped designs in particular help create this illusion.
  • Use vertical and wall space wherever you can. Hanging planters, string lights, and floating shelves are all great examples of this.
  • Mirrors are one of the most effective ways to make your small patio feel open. They also help reflect light into the space.

How to Decorate a Medium Patio

Mid-sized outdoor spaces create an exciting opportunity to decorate. Not too big, not too small. Just right. Here’s how you can help bring yours to life. 

Create Cohesion

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Featured: 4-Piece Modern Studio Folding Adirondack Chair Conversation Set and Modern Studio Plaza Chair 7-Piece Parsons Table Dining Set in Sand

Medium patios are relatively versatile in that you can take them in a few design directions. Whether you have a completely open floor plan or intend to break it up into different zones, choosing an overarching theme not only helps streamline the decor process, but it will make the final result feel seamless. We recommend sticking to neutrals for furniture and adding color with accents in just a couple of tonal families.

Prioritize Multifunctional Pieces

68" Console Table with Storage in Slate Grey
Featured: 68″ Console Table with Storage in Slate Grey

In terms of how the space is used, medium-sized patios offer some extra wiggle room. But they can quickly become cramped with too much furniture or excessive accent pieces. Strike a balance while smartly utilizing the space with furniture and decor that pull double duty. This could be benches and console tables with built-in storage or an easy-to-clean dining set where you can also craft with the kiddos or repot plants. 

Work the Wall

If your mid-size patio has any number of walls, use them wisely. Large wall accents can make the space feel even bigger, and storage solutions like floating shelves can be used to prominently display decor or hold storage baskets. 

How to Decorate a Large Patio

You may think it’d be easier to decorate a large patio, but the vast amount of space can be challenging to fill. But don’t fret. The tips below can help steer you in the right direction and create the patio you’ve always envisioned.

Prescott Deep Seating Chair and Square 42" Fire Pit Table in White/Midnight Linen
Featured: Prescott Deep Seating Chair and Square 42″ Fire Pit Table in White/Midnight Linen

Designate Areas and Sections

With small patios, you can only use the space for one purpose. On the other hand, large patios provide enough room for you and your family to enjoy multiple activities. The best way to plan your outdoor space is to divide it into rooms, just like inside your home. Create a zone for dining, lounging, sunbathing, yard games, gardening, and whatever else you see yourself using the space for.

Whether you want a section for dining, sunbathing, or something in between, there are plenty of stylish ways to divide these areas. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • Specific outdoor furniture such as dining sets can clearly distinguish one area from another.
  • For more distinction, use different patio paver looks for each section.
  • Potted plants and other landscaping effects can help border sections while also adding natural beauty.
  • Pathways and lighting options are great ways to outline an area.

Consider a Full-On Outdoor Living Room

Palm Coast Folding Adirondack, Kids Casual Chair, and Round 18" Side Table in White
Featured: Palm Coast Folding Adirondack, Kids Casual Chair, and Round 18″ Side Table in White

You can choose whatever sections you want within your large patio. But since you have space, consider making an outdoor living room part of your outdoor oasis. It’s so versatile. You can host a game night with friends, relax with your family, and gaze up at the starry skies. The possibilities are endless.

You’re bringing an indoor room outside, so it should be decorated as such. Rugs, throw pillows, pendant lights, ceiling fans, and other design touches are a great way to create a welcoming atmosphere. Just make sure they’re rated for outdoor use. For the ultimate cozy factor, consider adding a fire feature. Home is where the hearth is, after all. 

Covers and Shade Structures

Nautical Curveback Adirondack 7-Piece Dining Set with Trestle Legs in Vintage White and 9' Tilt Market Umbrella & Base in Bronze/Spa
Featured: Nautical Curveback Adirondack 7-Piece Dining Set with Trestle Legs in Vintage White and 9′ Tilt Market Umbrella & Base in Bronze/Spa

Shade structures are a great way to protect yourself from the sun and make a grand statement on your patio. You don’t have to settle for a simple umbrella either. The space is there, so think big!

Consider a pergola with vines growing across the top. This structure blocks out sunlight and serves as a beautiful backyard feature. Additionally, you can opt for a gazebo with curtains or retractable shades. You’ll enjoy a defined, enclosed area while protecting you and your family from pesky bugs.


How can I make my patio look nice?

There are several ways to give your patio a glow-up, but you’ll want to start with these steps:

  • Give your patio and all furnishings a deep clean
  • Find a new home for things you don’t use or create clutter.
  • Toss or repot any unhealthy plants.
  • Replace or repair worn pieces.
  • Bring in seasonal color with a new rug or throw pillows.

How do you dress up a boring patio?

You can take your patio from drab to fab with colorful accents, verdant plants, cozy textiles, and statement sculptures or artwork. 

How to decorate a patio with lights? 

A good rule for decorating any space with new lights is to spread it evenly and incorporate different lighting types (ambient, task, and accent). Out on the patio, the sun will be your main source of ambient lighting, so focus on task and accent lighting with these bright ideas.

    8 thoughts on “How to Decorate Your Patio: A Guide by Patio Size

    1. I recently bought a patio installing service at patios brisbane but i am struggling on how to make it more appealing in the eyes. this blog helped me achieve that. my patio’s kind of big so i followed the ones for large patios. very helpful indeed.

      1. Hi Jerome,
        I’m so glad you found the tips helpful! I’m sure your new patio will be the perfect escape after a long day!
        I hope you’re able to relax and spend time with family and friends for many years to come.
        Have a fantastic day!

    2. I have just built a fairly large deck with views and want to unique touches to not only dining but birdwatching, couches and comfortable furniture. We get powerful wind storms here in Oregon so I will need furniture that will not blow off the deck! Do you have any suggestions? It is a 24 x 24 space.
      Annie Wright


    3. Do you sell furniture covers for your pieces?
      I bought a fire pit and it came with a very nice cover. I’d like to buy similar covers for the other furniture I bought.
      Thank you!

      1. Hey Cindy!
        Thanks so much for reaching out! We do not directly sell covers but we do recommend purchasing from they will be able to help you get the right cover to fit each of your pieces.
        Thanks again!

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