Decorating Outdoor Rooms


There’s been a lot of talk around the office about “outdoor living” and what exactly that means. The consensus is that we are not making the most of our outdoor spaces. Think about it: if we’re spending a huge chunk of our time outdoors, shouldn’t we make the spaces we’re using just as inviting and comfortable as any of our indoor rooms?

So we hatched a plan to makeover the backyard of our SVP of Brand Management to prove how easy it is to extend indoor living to the great outdoors. We created three essential outdoor “rooms:” an area for conversation, an area for eating and an area for relaxing.

Pergola: The Living Room

Decorating Outdoor Rooms

The rustic wood-and-tinned-roof pergola offers a shady spot to sit, talk and take in the sights and sounds of the backyard. In other words, it’s the perfect place for a “living room.” Decorating an outdoor living room is not so different from decorating one indoors, so we thought about the most important aspects: style, seating and comfort.

First, we hung a pair of boldly striped indoor/outdoor panels to create a sense of intimacy while softening up the space.

Decorating outdoor spaces

We chose the Madison Sofa for its gracious proportions — it seats three comfortably — and deep cushions. We piled the pillows on and limited the color palette to a fresh, summery combination of navy and spa. The striped pillows tie in nicely with the curtains.

Decorating Outdoor Rooms

Just as we would indoors, we opted to forego the matching collection and chose different pieces to vary the texture, shape and finish of the furniture in our room. We loved the contrast of the dark chocolate aluminum table, plus its spacious top is big enough to accommodate a crowd’s worth of food and drinks.

Suzanne Kasler's Outdoor Campaign Chair

Have we mentioned we’re obsessed with our new Campaign Chairs? We are. (Thank you, Suzanne Kasler!) So adding a pair into the mix was a no-brainer. They’re lightweight and fold up, so they’re easy to move around. We appointed a Garden Seat to each chair to serve double-duty as accent table and extra pull-up seating.

Backyard Space: Dining Room & Bar

Decorating outdoor spaces

There is no rule that says an outdoor dining space has to be on a porch or right outside your back door. You can use any pretty spot in your yard to set up a table and chairs. In our case, it made sense to locate our “dining room” close to the conversation area.

Decorating outdoor spaces

Most dining rooms have a buffet or server, so we outfitted ours with a mobile bar cart — an incredibly convenient way to transport dishes, glassware and cocktails out to the yard. Or as we like to say, “take the party to the party.”

Decorating Outdoor Rooms

Since dining al fresco is even better with friends, we selected a dining table large enough to seat six and paired it with the relaxed style of the Sutton Chairs. Again, we didn’t want to be too matchy-matchy, and the woven texture breaks up the monotony of all that teak wood.

A dining table just isn’t complete without a lovely centerpiece. For a casual look, we cut flowers from the garden and arranged in a hurricane. A large bowl of shells, a row of lanterns or potted herbs would all be wonderful substitutes for easy outdoor tabletop decor.

Poolside: The Sunroom

Decorating Outdoor Rooms

Regardless of whether you have a pool or not, you probably have a few friends who are sun worshippers. It’s a great idea to carve out a sunny spot for reading and relaxing. In our case, we had a pretty poolside space to place a couple of chaise lounges. A tilt umbrella gives guests a reprieve once they’ve had enough sun for one sitting. Since we had the space, we threw in a couple of extra chairs and accent tables to make it fit for a party.

Decorating Outdoor Rooms

And now we’re all inspired to take our outdoor spaces to a whole new level of living. We hope you are, too. It really is as easy as taking inspiration from your indoor rooms.

Find more outdoor decorating inspiration by visiting our Pinterest Boards, or browse all of the outdoor spaces from our catalogs in our Photo Gallery.

How to Decorate Team

We enjoy spending days interacting with How to Decorate readers. From answering Design Dilemmas to writing How To articles and working with guest designers, our passion is to provide informative and accurate resources to help people solve their design problems.


  1. Reply

    Taylor Bishop

    October 24, 2018

    Thanks for this interesting article for decorating outdoor rooms. I’m glad that you mentioned that decorating an outdoor space shouldn’t be any different from decorating an interior room. That said, it could be fun to see how a space could be decorated with large objects since it doesn’t have walls around the area.

  2. Reply


    October 15, 2015

    Amazing no words …absolutely beautiful wawwww.great work team member s effort of all seen