15 irresistible outdoor home decorating ideas

More like 15 categories, jam-packed with even more great ideas

Key takeaways

  • Think about furniture, pillows, plants and walls
  • Consider lighting, fire, water, zones and themes
  • Look at windows, numbers, signs and fences
  • Browse bricks, pavers, tubs and windchimes
  • Extend indoor style outdoors, and improvise
DIY

Can you believe this weather? We’ve noticed it’s gorgeous more often, which is a great excuse to get some vitamin D. Unless you’re a vampire, you probably welcome that sunshine and are spending a lot more time outside lately. When you find yourself frequently drifting outdoors, it’s only natural to start thinking about outdoor decorating. Whether you want to add pleasantries to your patio, deck out a new deck, lavish your lawn with reinvigorated attention or improve your pool area, we’ve got some great outdoor décor ideas to spark your creativity. 

How can I decorate the outside of my house? How can I make my patio look nice? How can I make my yard look fantastic? We get these questions all the time, but plenty of people wonder about the answers. Decorating your yard and the outside of your house goes hand in hand with making your patio look nice and feel cozy. So, relax and read on, and all will be revealed. 

From the front yard to the back, and even in the side yard, outdoor home decorating involves each of these considerations and many more, from small spaces to large estates and everything in between. Even if you’re on a budget and tightening the belt, our simple, affordable DIY solutions can make outdoor home decorating both fun and rewarding.

1. Furniture

If you’re hanging outside more often, you need some outdoor furniture. If you don’t have any, or can’t get by with maintaining, cleaning or upgrading what you have, and aren’t up for building it yourself, consider purchasing some used or new outdoor furniture. 

First, you want something durable that can stand up to the weather. An outdoor sofa is a great place to begin. It’s the centerpiece from which you can build a cozy outdoor nook for nesting and backyard gatherings. If you’d like to avoid plastic, wicker is a great option that holds up well and is more environmentally friendly. Outdoor furniture cushions come in a wide variety of configurations and colors, so it’s easy to coordinate a patio-furniture set with the sofa or get funky with your own mix of eclectic styles. Along with the sofa, you may want to add a table and chairs, depending on whether your patio plans are dining-oriented or more casual.

You might also consider a few ottomans or stools and side or end tables, which can do double duty for extra seating while remaining handy to put up your feet and set drinks aside. While you’re at it, grab an outdoor bar cart so you can wheel out all the good stuff to your guests, like drinks and snacks. A bench is another seating option that’s handy when you need a place to work on something or take off muddy boots before heading indoors. 

An outdoor rug can pull everything together and complete your attractive outdoor lounge space. Many rugs designed for outdoor use are durable, colorful, and even made from recycled materials. Whether you have a pool or not, you might want to add a few umbrellas around your lounge chairs and outdoor tables to keep the sun at bay or save you from a spring shower. Folding umbrellas range from simple to chic and can punch up your style quotient.

2. Pillows

How can I make my outdoor space cozy? The short answer is pillows. We’re not just talking about furniture cushions here. Big, beautiful, oversize and colorful, outdoor pillows scream casual comfort and invite relaxation. They also protect your furniture, provide excellent accents that can tie an entire outdoor room together stylishly, and are versatile. If your outdoor furniture is in neutral colors, you can simply change your pillows with the seasons as you make decorating adjustments. 

If you like sewing and know how to find water-resistant fabric on sale, you might even try making your own pillows and cushions. Oversize pillows are great for super-casual hangouts, where friends stretch out on the floor in the outdoors. From sofas to lounge chairs and ottomans to benches, there’s always room for a comfy, cozy outdoor pillow — or three.

3. Plants

Indoors or out, plants make our lives better. They clean the air we breathe, keep irritating insects at bay and add natural beauty. When you decorate outdoors, plants should be a high-level consideration. Are you already deep into decorating but feel like something’s missing? It’s probably the plants, so go green — literally. Plant some trees, shrubs, flowers, annuals and perennials to enhance your outdoor environment. If you’d rather not plant in the ground, you can use just about any kind of planter, from plastic to terra cotta, and fired to glazed. You can paint your own pots and planters to coordinate a backyard look, and hang flowers and ferns from chains for additional privacy and greenery.

Train vines to climb around fences, garden arbors and the edges of your outdoor hangout spots for a nature-friendly look. Repurpose an old pallet by propping it up on its side, painting it as you like, and attaching pot holders for plants and flowers. Add a flower box to your fence or a windowsill. Stash succulents throughout your outdoor space, as long as they’re not in direct sunlight. Repurpose your plant trimmings to make a welcoming wreath for any season. For the unbeatable convenience of fresh herbs like basil, rosemary, chives and mint, start an herb garden in pots or a planter near your kitchen. Go bold and add other edibles like peppers, berries and veggies. These functional additions will enhance your outdoor look while improving your quality of life, indoors and out.

4. Walls

Speaking of plants, let’s talk about walls. How about a plant wall, as in a wall covered by plants? Here’s an excellent way to work in your greens while adding to the privacy and coziness of your outdoor area. Privacy panels are not difficult to install, and they create plenty of room for our little green friends, turning your backyard into a gallery of green. You can attach pots and planters, boxes and hooks for hanging plants, and just about any sort of plant home you can imagine onto an existing or new backyard wall panel. Add varieties of edible, ornamental, annual or perennial plants, or incorporate a trellis and encourage vines to grow around it.

If you’ve got enough greenery already, there are other outdoor wall décor options to spice things up a bit. Find wall art that is weather-resistant or naturally ages over time, like metal sculptures or hanging outdoor pieces in glass, tile, rope and wood. Add outdoor shelves to your walls to make room for plants or more outdoor trinkets and conversation starters. Attach a shade to your wall to create additional privacy and sun shelter.

5. Lighting

Half the fun of visiting with friends outdoors happens after dark, and getting your lighting right makes all the difference. String lights come in all shapes, colors and sizes, including LEDs that use far less energy and last much longer. Commercial-grade string lights can be left outside year-round. More labor-intensive lighting solutions include targeted lighting installed for steps and pathways. Some of these are even solar-powered. 

If you like old pieces such as metal chandeliers but don’t have electric power outdoors, convert one to hold votive candles instead of bulbs for guaranteed outdoor ambience. Just be extra careful not to set anything on fire! If you’d like to get more creative, a popular trend in outdoor lighting is a grapevine ball light. Google it!

6. Fire

While we’re on the subject of lighting, we cannot overlook an important element: fire. Ah, the outdoor fireplace. There’s something primal about gathering with others after dark around flames. In this category, there are plenty of ways to creatively bring the heat, from tiki torches, wine-bottle lamps, tabletop fire bowls and paper lanterns, to candles, fireplaces, patio pits, chimineas and full-on built-out pit kits for your ultimate bonfire. You can even work fire sources into your backyard swimming pool landscape design.

7. Water

Speaking of the elements and primal reactions, perhaps the only thing better for your outdoor gathering than a communal fire source is a water feature to upgrade the vibe even more. Sure, options for swimming pools are wide-ranging, and it’s wonderful to have one, but not everyone can. Attractive water features are within reach for the rest of us. Options abound, from unfancy fish ponds to DIY fountains and burbling water features that offer a relaxing, pleasing sound.

8. Zones and themes

If you stick with one design theme per zone, you’ll end up with a space that feels more planned and less random. When establishing zones outside, flooring literally draws lines between areas, such as the carport and the dining patio. If you’re unlikely to add new tile or resurface, you can always paint your outdoor flooring for a fresh look, or add pavers for a walkway between zones, such as to the backyard fire pit. Just make sure to keep your lawn in great shape for guests, with regular weeding and trimming. When decorating a porch or patio, consider lighted fans, hanging swings and rocking chairs. You can further identify zones and themes by using flags and hanging outdoor fabrics for curtains.

9. Windows

Another great idea for outdoor zone dividers (or privacy screens) is a set of old windows, repurposed and hanging free outside.  You can tint, paint and decorate them as you wish. While unconventional, shabby-chic windows have massive style appeal.

10. Numbers

You may not often think about your house number and what it looks like from the street, but it has more to do with your home’s curb appeal than you might imagine. Rule No. 1 is legibility. A number you can’t read from a distance isn’t worth much. After legibility, make sure your house number is well-lit and matches the style and era of your home for design continuity. Replacing or upgrading your house number is easy and inexpensive.

11. Signs

Some people love signs, indoors and out, political or not. They make statements on their front lawns, in their backyards, or in their bathrooms and living rooms. Signs help them welcome guests, ward off enemies, proclaim livid stances and execute value judgments. Sometimes less is more, and a simple welcome mat is enough. It’s your call.

12. Fences

Not everyone has fences, but some say higher fences make for better neighbors. If you want a little more privacy, adding a fence might be just the ticket to the backyard bliss you’ve been searching for.

13. Pavers and bricks

Pavers are perfect for pathways between yard zones, as we mentioned previously. They’re also an excellent way to extend the surface area of an existing hangout space, such as a deck that’s low to the ground. If you prefer, you can accomplish the same goal with bricks.

14. Wind chimes

Wind chimes are an outdoor decorating option that might not jump to mind immediately. Whether you prefer the lengthy, multitonal, metal-tube variety, the quiet simplicity of dried bamboo, or the near-silent but colorful and sometimes sparkling beaded variety, wind chimes add atmosphere.

15. Tubs and birds

Galvanized steel tubs, currently in the middle of a resurgent second life as stock pools, are also excellent patio planters. Drill some drainage holes and get that herb garden going. Speaking of tubs, your bird friends need a bath, and maybe a house too. How could you turn down welcoming cute little birds to your yard and miss out on another fantastic outdoor decorating idea?

Whatever your approach to outdoor decorating, you’re usually safe when you bring your indoor style to the outdoors. If you make even a little effort to match the colors and flow that you’ve established inside, your outdoor entertaining aesthetic should feel unified and seamless. When you create or acquire new additions for the outdoors, just remember that they need to hold up in the weather and  not everything has to match. Now you have some useful ideas to help get started.

Still in the decorating mood? Check out our backyard deck ideas on a budget or our survey of the most commonly failed DIY projects. Review our spring cleaning checklist of life hacks we wish we’d known sooner, and enjoy our home DIY tutorial videos with Modern Boca Mom.


The information in this article is intended to provide guidance on the proper maintenance and care of systems and appliances in the home. Not all of the topics mentioned are covered by our home warranty or maintenance plans. Please review your home warranty contract carefully to understand your coverage.

 

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