How to Style your Patio with Designer Elle Schwab

Here in Colorado, we live for the outdoors, whether we’re grilling out on our patio or lounging on our decks to catch the warm sun rays during a blue bird day. Patios, front porches, and decks are all great ways to expand your indoor living space to the outdoors.

In this blog, Elle shares her styling and design tips to creating a comfortable, current outdoor living space.

Step 1: Space Planning
When looking at your outdoor living space, plan what type of furniture configurations and combinations work best. It also helps to set clear intentions about the functional purpose of the space and keep that purpose in mind as you choose your pieces.

If your space is larger, consider incorporating a few different seating options that vary in size around a fire pit or coffee table, or include a full dining table to enjoy dinner gatherings outside. If you’re designing an outdoor space for dining, think about where your kitchen is located inside and place dining elements accordingly. Proximity to the kitchen or bar is key.

For a smaller space, such as a front porch, a pair of rocking chairs and a side table look great and give you a place to wait for guests.


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Step 2: Choosing Furniture
Dining Tables: A long, rectangular table works well on a patio that has a lot of length and makes a great choice for hosting large dinner parties. A quaint, round table that seats four serves as serene spot to enjoy your morning coffee and watch the sunrise.

Accent Tables: Side tables work well next to a chair or at the end of a sofa. These become the perfect resting place for your favorite book, morning coffee or evening glass of wine. Surrounded by seating, a coffee table serves to feature your favorite accessories or hold the charcuterie board during cocktail hour.

Sofas and chairs: At Collective, we choose pieces with our clients that are relaxed and very durable, made from recycled plastics, and withstand a Colorado winter. Make sure to select beautiful, yet quality sofas and chairs.

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Step 3: Choosing Fabrics
Performance fabrics are the way to go these days, both outdoors and indoors. There are so many fabric options, making it easy to customize your space based on your aesthetic. Mix and match different patterns while sticking to the same color palette for a fun, summery look.



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Step 4: Choosing Décor
Rugs: An outdoor rug under a dining or living space is a great way to add a bit of comfort to a space while providing the opportunity to bring in some color if desired.

Pillows: Performance fabrics make it so easy to customize your outdoor pillows. Recently, I’ve seen a ton of outdoor floor pillow options. These are perfect for afternoon deck lounging or relaxing on around a fire pit (making s’mores of course!).

Throws: Keep a basket of throws right inside your patio door for when the sun starts to go down. It will keep you and your guests cozy and will add a cozy texture when placed on your favorite outdoor chair or sofa.

Tray: Always have a tray on-hand for serving outside! It’s functional and convenient for trips to and from the kitchen and looks great on the table.

Vases: Add height to your outdoor tables with a beautiful vase filled with your favorite florals.


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The best part of an outdoor living space is the ability to easily change things up over time. By investing in a few high-quality furnishings, accessories can be replaced to reflect changes in style preference or season. With some thoughtful consideration, your deck or patio just might become your favorite room in the house.

Get to know Elle on a deeper level in our designer Q&A where we learn about her design process, what inspires her as a designer and her secret to creating stunning, meaningful spaces her clients love.

CONTACT ELLE TODAY TO DISCUSS YOUR PROJECT

Collective Design Group is an award-winning interior design firm serving Vail Valley, Summit County, Winter Park and surrounding areas.

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