5 Design Ideas That Will Transform Your Outdoor Dining Space

modern outdoor dining space
santa clara dining

When we’re designing our indoor dining rooms the goal is pretty simple: Create a comfortable, welcoming space where we can enjoy great food and good company.

And when it comes to designing outdoor dining spaces, the goal should be the same, right?   But for some reason, sometimes we still may be unsure what to do. So we either a) do nothing at all, or b) plop a table and chairs down and call it good.

If a. or b. describes you but you’d like something more, here are 5 ways to make your outdoor dining space comfy and welcoming:

1.  Comfort.

Though not always necessary, cushions and pillows are a great way to add comfort to your outdoor dining chairs, and a touch of softness among all the hard edges.

Outdoor umbrellas can perform double duty by doing all of the above + temperature and sunburn control.
Dining with cushioned seating and an umbrella for comfort
melbourne dining

2. Color.

Outdoor spaces are a good place to experiment and have fun with colors – even if you’re someone who typically doesn’t use much of them indoors year-round. Soft and mellow or bold and vibrant, they can give your space extra punch or playfulness.

Pillows, rugs, umbrellas, and accessories are easy ways to add it in.

3. Lovely layers.

We always use layers in indoor spaces to add a cozy come-on-in-and-make-yourself-at-home vibe, and you can do the same in your outdoor dining space. Layer tablecloths, runners, placemats, dishes, and decorative elements for an interesting and inviting touch to your table.

And, while it may seem counter-intuitive to add nature outdoors (since we’re already IN nature), popping a few flowers on the table, or plants and branches in pots close by, only enhances that feeling.

dining outdoors under the trees - layering the table

3. Warmth and ambience.

Indoor spaces aren’t the only ones that can benefit from a little mood lighting. So bust out the candles, candleliers, string lights, or whatever your space can accommodate to impart some ambience.

{And if you’re looking to add both visual and literal warmth to your outdoor dining space, you may want to consider a fire pit.  We’ve got some great ones.}

dining outdoors under the trees - lighting hung from trees
By The Yard table/chairs – custom order at Schneiderman’s

5. Mix It Up.

Visually, mixing and matching any dining set can give it a more interesting and custom look. Which is a great reason to do it.

But that’s not the only reason. Functionally, sometimes it may work better to mix up seating options  – e.g., you’d like a bench for the kids, grandma needs a firm dining chair that she can easily get in and out of, and you reeeeeally want a swivel rocker for yourself (yes, please.).  Mixing and matching is an easy way to solve those problems and accommodate preferences.

beautiful patio with outdoor dining furniture and a mix of seating options
table | chair | swivel rocker

With any room design, indoors or out, sometimes it’s easiest to just set the furniture down and walk away.  But with just a little more thought and effort, it’s fairly simple to create a space that’s more inviting, comfortable, and unique for both you and your guests.

Where are you at with your patio? Ready to dine out this summer?

(Browse outdoor dining furniture on our website, and shop our stores for the full selection.  And check out even more inspiration on our OUTDOOR SPACES page!)

2 Responses to 5 Design Ideas That Will Transform Your Outdoor Dining Space

  1. Natalie April 28, 2018 at 10:00 pm #

    In love with the Santa Clara dining set!

    • PK May 9, 2018 at 10:45 pm #

      Great choice Natalie!


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