5 Design Ideas That Will Transform Your Outdoor Dining Space

Outdoor dining room by the lake. Beautiful neutrals - such a pretty dining set!

When we’re designing our 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 because outdoor decorating is a little different, or so we think, it can leave us feeling unsure of 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 more comfy, welcoming, and unique:

1. Mix and Match Seating.

Visually, mixing and matching is a great way to break up any dining set and give it a more interesting and custom look. Which is one of my favorite reasons for doing it.

But that’s not the only reason. Functionally, sometimes it may work better to mix and match  – 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.

So much to love about this outdoor dining space, and the furniture. Mix and match seating is just always so much more fun, isn't it?
SHOP THIS LOOK: table | bench | chair | swivel rocker

2.  Softness and color.

Outdoor seating has come a long way, so it’s not always necessary to add cushions or pillows from a comfort standpoint. But sometimes it is and, just like interior spaces, it can also be a great way to add a touch of softness among all the hard edges.

And/or pump up the color and/or pattern.

Table cloths, placemats, and napkins are another simple (but good) idea, and outdoor umbrellas can perform double duty by doing all of the above + temperature/sunburn control.

Outdoor dining on the patio. Spa blue color scheme.
SHOP: Melbourne Dining

3. Bring nature to the table.

We’re big fans of decorating with natural elements, like plants, flowers, and branches, because of the life they can bring to a room.

And, while it may seem like counter-intuitive 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.

Fun outdoor dining space under the trees - yellow runners over a table cloth - floral arrangements in glass jars. Pops of yellow and blue.

4. 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.)

LOVE this outdoor dining space! Fun ideas to use the bar height outdoor table and chairs under the tree (and those lights!)...
By The Yard table/chairs – custom order at Schneiderman’s

5. Think outside the box.

With any room design, indoors or out, sometimes it’s easiest to just go with what’s typical or expected. And many times that’s what’s best for the space, but not always.

So think outside the box, and explore all of your options before deciding on the outdoor dining furniture and design elements that are perfect for your unique space.

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

(Shop for outdoor dining furniture on our website, and check out more inspiration below!)

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