If you’re seeking inspiration to spruce up your small patio or balcony space, we have some fabulous design tips to help you get started. During the warm summer months, we tend to spend a lot more time outside, so it’s time to design or re-design your veranda to create a cozy ambiance that will encourage you to spend more time in the great outdoors. Try to make the most of your space without spending a lot of money or time by using plants and accessories to your outdoor space. From re-arranging furnishings to increasing your small space with the use of a mirror to even adding an outdoor area rug, these practical tips should help to spark your creative juices. Be sure to let us know which outdoor patio was your favorite!
In case you missed it, we posted an article last week with an incredible collection of inspiring outdoor room design ideas, be sure to have a look here.
Fresh, vibrant plants can transform the look and feel of your patio, so any investment you make here is well worth your while. Give existing plantings a little TLC, remove dead leaves and spent blooms, and water well. If you have empty pots to fill, make a trip to the garden center and choose new plants. Be sure to select healthy plants that are suited to the light levels of your patio — and don’t hesitate to ask for advice if you need it.
Add a small, charming note
Sometimes, especially on a small patio, all you need is one just-right accent to make the whole space come to life. A potted lavender plant (or any other outdoor plant with colorful flowers) on a small side table may be all you need for that extra burst of color.
Add plump pillows
Fresh throw pillows can freshen up the look of a space in an instant. Outdoor fabrics are best, because they are designed to resist sun bleaching and mildew. If you can’t resist using indoor pillows on your patio, simply keep a storage bench in a protected spot at hand to throw them into, and they should last outdoors for a long time.
Define the border
Edging your patio area with plants can help your space feel more inviting and intimate. Planters filled with shrubbery make an excellent border. In a patio that is open to a larger yard, they can stand in as a fence alternative, but even in a small space, they can soften the fence line.
Choose a color scheme
Sticking to two or three colors throughout the space will help your patio look polished and put-together.
Use an indoor-outdoor rug
An outdoor seating area instantly becomes cozier and more welcoming with the addition of a rug. For a dining area, the rug should be large enough to fit beneath the chairs when they are pulled out slightly. For a couch seating area, the rug can fit either under all of the furniture or just beneath the coffee table and reach to the front feet of the furniture.
Add a freestanding umbrella
On an uncovered patio, an umbrella is a must. The freestanding type gives you much more flexibility to place it where it is needed, and will work with any table or chairs.
Create a focal point
Think about what you use your patio for, and what you would like to use it for in the future. Is the furniture arranged in a way that makes sense for your needs? Just as in your living room, it usually looks best to pull the furniture away from the walls. Experiment with different arrangements until it feels right.
Make a fresh start
Giving your patio a top-to-bottom spring cleaning can do wonders. Sweep away leaves and other debris, clean patio furniture, wash exterior windows and hose down the floor. Throw away any junk that has accumulated in the area.
Soften corners with plants
Sharply angled corners are not only a challenge to decorate, but if left empty they can make a space feel cramped and uncomfortable. Fill in tight corners with potted plants to soften the angles — tall plants and topiaries work especially well.
Think about the style and mood you wish to create
Sleek, modern and cheerful? Moody, lush and eclectic? Try to nail down the look and feel you want in a few words, and use them to help you make decisions when you are out shopping.
Hang a mirror
Hanging a mirror on an exterior wall or fence is a great way to create a feeling of spaciousness on a small patio. Choose a mirror frame that can stand up to the elements, and hang it in a covered area.
Photo Sources: 1.-12. Alvhem Makleri Interior, 13. Ana Williamson Architect, 14. Anders Johansson, 15. Anthony Brancato Landscape, 16. apartment f15, 17. Bf Konsult, 18. & 19. Busybee Design, 20. Chioco Design, 21. Designscapes Colorado, 22. ESNY, 23. & 24. Fantastic Frank, 25. & 26. Fastighetsmäklarna, 27. Jeffrey Gordon Smith Landscape Architecture, 28. Katie Leede & Company, 29. Kirkpatrick Design, 30. Magnusson Mäkleri, 31. & 32. Molly Wood Garden Design, 33. My Romantic Home, 34. Notting Hill Gardens, 35. Outhouse Design, 36. Rugo Raff Architects, 37. -39. Stadshem, 40. Stone Acorn Builders, 41. Svensk Fastighetsförmedling, 42. Tomaro Design Group, 43. Victor Myers Custom Homes, 44. Vidabelo Interior Design, 45. Wanda Ely Architect, 46. Wrede, 47. Bethany Nauert
Villa Ercolano is nestled high above the ocean in the town of Ercolano, in the province of Naples in Southern Italy, designed by Fabrizia Frezza Architecture & Interiors. The villa dates back to the 1970s and had an excellent structural base on which to build. The internal distribution, especially at the ground level, did not need substantial changes, however it had to be updated and relieved. A dark and disharmonious atmosphere existed due to the use of tiles, stonework, dark wood frames, custom-made dark wooden furniture, fabrics and decorations of every kind. Moreover, the interior of the villa did not reflect the exterior, which denoted a typical Mediterranean style with its form and the white stucco of the walls. The main objective of my project was to recreate the harmony between the interior and the exterior. I brightened the ambiance with the use of waxed, white terracotta at the ground floor. At the first floor I chose bleached oak wood, more suitable for the sleeping area, which combined the candour of white with the warmth of wood. The window frames themselves have been bleached and modified to let as much sunlight as possible filter through.
The lighting coming from outside, reflected by the sea, the white of the stucco and of the floors, the pastel-colored linens in the bedrooms, and the deep purple velvet sofas in the living room, are the background for the family’s antique furniture and for the pieces exclusively designed. Selected family furniture, as the armoires and a large dresser, were rediscovered, whitened and finely decorated with gold patina giving the rooms a harmonious retro feeling. The elegance and simplicity of the house can also be found in the bathrooms, where the white predominates in the stone sinks combined with modern polished steel accessories. The choice of the white has given brightness to the terrace, where the sole colored elements are the blue of the swimming pool, the sky and the sea and the dark wood of some furnishings. The white, built-in chaise lounge at the edges of the swimming pool stands out against the surreal landscape of the city of Herculaneum in the background dominated by the imposing Mount Vesuvius.
Photos: Courtesy of Fabrizia Frezza Architecture & Interiors
Villa Anacapri is exposed to both the north and the south on Capri Island, Italy, designed by Fabrizia Frezza Architecture & Interiors. The house, despite its small size, has two units within which are distinct and separate from each other. The small size of the rooms compounded by the fact that the light could not come inside because of the fixtures in the English style, with little glazed area and the fact that outside there was a heavy arbor wood which threw a shadow on the terrace and windows.
The exterior, however, with coverage at times and white plaster walls, was typical of Mediterranean architecture. Two major objectives of the project: create continuity between inside and outside, thus creating a typical Mediterranean inside and try to redouble square meters through a rationalization of the environments and routes internal, use of appropriate materials and open as possible to those on the outside terrace.
The structure is developed along the North-South axis, and it is along this direction which have been distributed to key environments, such as kitchen, dining room, living room, which go to form that ‘unique’ with the external environment through the use large glass surfaces and the use of the floor inside and outside. Thus, the small size of the villa, only 75 square meters, it doubles and the outside, the terrace which overlooks the living area, is experienced as an integral part of the house. The same material used for the floors, a stone made up, with dark gray, designed and made by hand to achieve, is also used for the bathrooms and kitchen, where sinks and showers are made to measure as small pieces of design, it always continued to give color to the surroundings.
While maintaining the appearance typical “island” with the white of the times and the walls, the project is for the design included a more modern, elegant and minimal at the same time with the furniture designed by Italian personally. The furniture in natural oak wood, fabrics and dark gray color complements vermilion red, which characterizes and contrasts the environments, introducing vibrant color to the unity of housing.
Elegance and design is the core of the project, every single object, from the smallest to the largest reflecting research and innovation. Wood, stone, brick and glass blend with each other through form and function giving soul and warmth than the built and natural beauty that surrounds them. The long sessions of masonry terrace, covered with mattresses and pillows, sinuous move along the perimeter of the villa offering a joyful view of the sea and isolation of Ischia.
Surrounded by a beautiful garden, this vacation house spotted on Nuevo Estilo is located in the residential community of Sotogrande, Cádiz, Spain and designed by the architect Enrique Johansson representing the image of the contemplative life. Designed for an extended family that receives many house guests, the home was designed to be comfortable, spacious and very modern. The gorgeous interiors were designed by Carmen Brujó. Both professionals got the goals set by the owners who wished for a place of rest and relaxation, modern architecture and quiet interiors. The designers had full freedom, with the work being executed in nine months.
The home was new construction, designed as a succession of volumes in an L-shape “closed” to the adjacent streets and set flush into the garden. This relationship with the outside intensified opening horizontal holes to the South and East which it filled with light and creating generous porches. In addition, the social areas with the installation of a living area and a dining room outdoor have doubled. The combination of white facades and exposed concrete produces an effect of dynamism between the varying heights and structural elements.
Cubic volumes and different levels make up the elevation of the facade, which highlights powerfully the greenish blue door.
Throughout the home are Turkish limestone floors, providing a sense of cohesiveness. The interiors are committed to freshness and lightness mixed of warm notes. The eclectic, but balanced, selection of-vintage, contemporary design and family antiques furniture, the skillful use of color to give continuity or prominence, the choice of textiles… Everything contributes to create the pleasant climate of a relaxing holiday home.
The interior designer Carmen Brujó selected from her showroom many furniture and objects that furnished the house.
This orientation of the House mitigates the noise of the adjacent streets. The concrete plasters and paint in white are the dominant finishes.
A previously restored wooden board and industrial legs form this large dining room table.
The dressing room features plenty of natural light with the skylight above.
The top floor terrace offers magnificent views of the garden and the swimming pool.
Prime Nature Residence has been designed by the Department of Architecture in Samutprakarn, Thailand. The owner’s brief for his residence seems at first rather simple – his bedroom on the ground floor, another bedroom for his mother and sister on the second floor, a large interior living space, and an outdoor terrace for the mother who enjoys outdoor leisure. However, a great challenge comes with the site location. The plot is situated at a busy 3-street intersection in an up-scale residential estate that forbids the use of any kinds of fences. This constraint poses serious questions on privacy of the residents living on ground level as well as the problem of trespassing car headlights at night.
In order to cope with the site limitations, a conventional linear fence is broken into series of smaller vertical planes. These planes are projected onto a grid at varying distances from the house thus blocking out intruding views and simultaneously permitting ventilation into the outdoor area. The planes continue horizontally above the entire terrace creating a well-defined semi-outdoor living space.
The planes are made from two materials: metal lattice screens and sheer canvas panels which both allow partial vision from looking through them. Lattice panels and swaying trees cast delicate and moving shadow patterns on terrace floor, building elevations and canvas planes. A large shallow pond further adds intricacy of reflective shadow to the scene.
At night, periphery trees catch trespassing car headlights and cast their shadows on deliberately-placed canvas planes. The shadow images appearing on series of canvases fade in and out and move from one side to another depending on direction and speed of passing vehicles, reminding us of some black and white animations on movie screens.
What resulted from this are an al fresco space that is in constant flux during days and nights – a space where its qualities are defined autonomously by external forces; the wind, the sunlight, and the car lights.
The 5,166 square foot (480 square meters) project welcomes the constraints of site and program as a framework to which molds the Shadow House into a living place filled with playful and imaginative shadow and reflection, and into architecture unique for its location and for its owner.
Photographs: Wison Tungthunya
The ultimate barefoot beach paradise destination, Vamizi’s Private Villa Collection has been designed by South African architects who have are renowned for their commitment to creative design, sustainable development and responsible tourism, creating a unique style of architecture that draws on the multi-cultural influences of Mozambique. The Vamizi Villas are two brand new private villas, each with five en-suite bedrooms, a sweeping private deck for utter relaxation, and direct beach access for those wishing to dip their toes – and more – in the sparkling blue waters of the Indian Ocean.
As with Vamizi Island lodge the service is impeccable, the food is surf-fresh and delicious and your days are your own to choose what you wish to do. Each villa has its personal hospitality team, on hand to talk you through all your options – from exciting and adventurous scuba diving and big game fishing to the more relaxing beach picnics, dhow excursions and whale watching (at certain times of the year). Other activities on offer include snorkelling, salt-water fly-fishing, mountain bike trails and bird walks. The local guides are very happy to lead fascinating walks to explore the island and find monkeys or birds.
Exclusive to the Vamizi Private Villa Collection is the Vamizi Retreats. On selected dates through the year, a four night retreat is offered, led by yoga instructor Claire Finlay. These are the ultimate in get-away-from-it-all relaxation, and are designed to rejuvenate both body and soul. In addition to morning and afternoon yoga sessions guests will enjoy a diving trip, a fishing trip and a luxurious massage during their stay. The perfect option for those wishing to retreat from everyday life, and spend a luxurious few days – guests are guaranteed to leave reinvigorated!
Book your luxury vacation getaway from here.
This unique and completely renovated duplex apartment spotted on Alvhem is situated in Linnéstaden, Sweden. Old and new are combined in an exemplary manner between the two floors that are connected via a white and almost floating white painted custom built staircase with a fitted wardrobe underneath. Quiet and protected on the top floor, one can enjoy fantastic views from the sunny terrace into a beautiful inner courtyard. The 979 square foot (91 square meters) home also features a fully renovated luxurious bathroom, separate laundry area, renovated open kitchen, plenty of storage and a subtle mix between the turn of the century details and modern design. Freshly painted white walls mixed with an exposed brick wall and painted white wooden floors runs like a thread through all the rooms on the lower floor, clean and very tasteful. The kitchen and staircase is at the heart of the home and on the upstairs level there is an impressive living room with dark heated floors, electronic operable skylights with rain sensor, inset spotlights, exposed beams and a glazed side which can be opened up completely to the lovely terrace with views of the open courtyard, and the neighbor’s rooftops.
Situated on a lot with nine mature post oak trees, Under Tree House has been designed by architecture studio Loop Design in Austin, Texas. The architect designed the home for clients that are good friends, which is a big part of why they were hired for the project. They wanted the house to grow from this bond, to be a place that feels particular when you walk through it, because it was conceived with people who know them and love them. They wanted it to feel like home before they even moved in. The home features a modern exterior and a streamlined, brightly-colored interior, which is comprised of only 1,900 square feet, but feels quite spacious due to its outdoor areas like the breezeway, decks, second floor terrace, and courtyard.
The lot had never been developed and was covered with mature post oak trees; nearly every buildable square foot was in a root zone. The architect protected the trees by designing around them—they are as integral to the house as its walls and windows. To minimize root zone compaction, the driveway is short, with the carport set to the front of the lot. The house floats behind on concrete piers with cedar decks that terrace down to the ground. The screened breezeway is a front porch, an entry foyer, and a pleasant place to play cards even on a hot summer night.
The house is thin and uses a pier and beam foundation so as not to disturb the trees—light, air and views of tree and sky reach in from all sides. The approach to sustainability is largely low–tech: build in an existing neighborhood where you plan to stay, keep conditioned spaces small through good connection to outdoor spaces, make the sun and shade work for you, collect the rain, plant a garden. On this shady lot, the garden had to move upstairs, where it is the railing of the roof terrace. It is here, up in the only spot of open sky, your perspective of the site and the house changes—no longer under the tree canopy, you’re up in it.
Photos: Whit Preston
This private residence duplex located in a residential complex set on a beach, close to a nature reserve just outside of Tel Aviv, Israel was designed by architects Lihi Gerstner and her brother Din Gerstner of Gerstner Architects as a soothing space for the busy owner, who lives and works from his own residence. The two bedroom, three bathroom, 2,583 square foot (240 square meters) house therefore, provides two separate entrances, a private entry in to the heart of the living area and a public entrance through the garden terrace, directing to the external office.
The house is planned as a pure entertainment machine, indoors and out. The concept was to allow continuity between the inside and outside, to open the house to as much light and view to the exterior, a main attraction of the property. While entering the house, the user is exposed to an open kitchen and a large living room with large openings to the garden terrace. The large transparent barrier distorts the separation between inside and outside. The terrace directed to the sea with its lounge bar, kitchen barbeque area, Jacuzzi, dining area and sofas acts as an extension of the interior living space in to the outside.
The pure living space with its built-in furniture hides and blurs the kitchen closets as well as the bathroom doors.
This pivoting door opens up into the home’s entrance hall from the apartment building’s hallway.
The ethereal sculptress staircase engages the vertical space and brings more luminosity and lightness to the main space. These triangular cantilever stairs leads to the private section of the house. A transparent plasma glass wall creates a separation between the private and public sections, allowing a control of privacy over the guest users.
On the second story, a plasma window has remote-controlled transparency, either opening or blocking the view into the master bedroom.
Wood treads in a triangular shape allow for optimum strength in a slim form.
The main bedroom suite, planned as an open room. The bathtub and toilette are exposed to the sleeping area as well as to the outside. A feeling of sleeping and bathing in the wilderness.
The white color palette is a tribute to the owner’s style, but was also selected to allow the view to become the home’s focus.
The office was planned as an extension to the house totally separated from the private area, where the owner receives clients and is accessed via the terrace. It has as well, a full ocean view but is not perceived by the private user, allowing a total separation between work and play.
The architects increased the square footage of the garden terrace and outfitted the space with multiple seating areas and a complete outdoor kitchen. At night a projector, which is hung from the bottom of a balcony on the second floor, displays movies on the stone wall of the neighboring apartment complex.
Photos: Amit Geron
Atherton Residence is situated on a peninsula south of San Francisco, California, nestled on an internal suburban flag lot. Designed by Turnbull Griffin Haesloop Architects, the previous 1950s house had to be removed due to structural problems, but featured mature landscaping and a manmade pond that the clients wanted to preserve. They wanted their new house to be a private retreat that maximizes the drama of the pond and takes advantage of the privacy of the site. The design solution breaks the program into four buildings – main house, study, pool house and garage – that ring the edge of the site and focus inward on the pond, garden and pool.
Large sliding glass doors open directly out to the pond and terrace. The roofs conceal photovoltaic and solar hot water panels. The house is heated with a radiant system in the stone floors, and despite the hot climate it is not air conditioned, but passively cooled with a combination of overhangs, shades, and operable windows. The house also features many green building materials, including high fly-ash concrete, formaldehyde-free casework and denim insulation. The new house creates a special place for the clients, making a main residence.
Photos: David Wakely Photography