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The Outdoor Room

by | May 12, 2009 | Gardens & Outdoor Rooms

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The Outdoor Room

It is a great time to start planning an outdoor room. Summer is almost here! I love to be able to sit outside on a sunny spring day or cool summer evening and I love it all the more if I have a pretty place to sit!

The Outdoor Room

Creating an outdoor room is basically the same as creating an indoor room, except for that it is outside, of course.  An outdoor room doesn’t have to be expensive and you can use what you have to put together a lovely space. Being creative with what you have is half the fun!

The same basic elements of a indoor room can be incorporated to make outdoor living comfortable and pretty:


As long as you have a small bit of property or tiny porch available to you, even if you rent, you can have an outdoor room. It doesn’t have to be big or fancy, an outdoor room can be as simple as a small chair and a tiny table to set a drink! Even if you only have room for a chair, give it a big personality to magnify its impact. A bold cushion can give a lot of bang for the buck!

The Outdoor Room
pillows: Pottery Barn

Shop the house for items for your outdoor room! Don’t worry about bringing REAL furniture or accessories outside, you CAN do this. it is LEGAL! Tap into your rebellious side! Especially if you have gathered furnishings and accessories from garage sales and don’t have a lot of priceless antiques.

You don’t have to go buy expensive patio furniture. Particularly if you have mild summer weather or a covered porch or are just pulling furniture outside for a fun party, just use regular furniture. Wicker or rattan or old wood tables and chairs look great on a porch. You can always bring things in when the weather changes. Disclaimer: if you bring your sofa outside and leave it in the rain I am not responsible for any damage.

The Outdoor Room

A potting table always is a great idea for an outdoor gardening area!

The Outdoor Room

Look around your house for candlesticks, lanterns, pillows, end tables, artwork, mirrors, benches, stools, birdcages, and even lamps (under a porch roof!) and things you can use to make your outdoor space attractive and comfortable.

If you are worried about fabrics being ruined outside, use outdoor fabric or even thriftier, cute plastic tablecloths (pictured on Martha’s bench, below) to cover pillows and seating.

The Outdoor Room

The Outdoor Room

So, go ahead, pour yourself a cup of lemonade and start shopping your house for your own outdoor room!

I’ll be working on my own front porch in the coming weeks and it will become my summer office! I love my job.

The Outdoor Room

Need more inspiration and ideas on how to create outdoor rooms? Check out these past posts!

photo inspiration:
Front porch with red striped pillow: Country Living Lucas Allen
Coral striped pillow photo: House Beautiful Nathan Shroder
Potting table and b&w striped cushion photos: Country Living Keith Scott Morton
Plastic tablecloth pillows, Martha Stewart
Porch with blue & white striped pillows: Country Living Keith Scott Morton
Last photo: House Beautiful Christopher Baker


  1. Lighting


    LOVE the photos, how could you ever be stressed in surroundings like those? Sooo tranquil! I am currently trying to redecorate my abode to similar themes – relaxed and tranquil. It is so hard to find good (and not ridiculously expensive) products that are not this typical ‘modern’ theme of ply wood and bold colours. Had to share this link with you, great unique products from home & soft furnishings to lighting! Enjoy!

  2. Alyce

    This is great Melissa, I will be back to check out the other links. I really want to put an outdoor rug on my is not covered. And it needs some staining, etc.but I don’t think my husband is going to do that, so a rug to hide it would be nice. They are so expensive though. I’d like to be able to do more to the deck and the front porch, but kinda in a rut..maybe I can get more ideas. Thanks for the inspiration….and …. motivation!

  3. Sarah

    Hi Melissa

    I love the one with the shot of the blue striped cushions, in fact I had that earmarked for my Beach Cottage Inspiration Board.

    There is nothing like being outside on the deck which is one of the reasons I love it here in Australia so much, the sub tropical climate means we can be outside all the time all year round apart from 3 months of the year at night when it does just dip down a little too low to sit about outside, unless of course you get your hot water bottle, a sun lounger and a very bit blanket and sit out under the stars, crisp air all around…now that has to be a winter treat

    happy days

    A Beach Cottage

    Sarah @ A Beach Cottages inspiring blog post..Beach Cottage Makeover & A Giveaway!

  4. TheOld PostRoad

    One of my biggest problems with my screened back porch is my sweet, but smelly, lab. OBVIOUSLY, I just need to bathe her more often and she will be a nice accessory to my porch!

    TheOld PostRoads inspiring blog post..New Birthday Week Tradition

  5. Becky K.

    I love the pillows!

    This is an area we need to work on. Every Spring I make some improvements to our deck area and then the heat of summer sets in and I ignore it. Bad me!

    Becky K.s inspiring blog post..From Brown to Green!

  6. Astrid

    We can finally enjoy being out on our deck! Every year we try to enjoy meals on our deck only to be hurried inside by all the wasps, flies and mosquitoes that apparently love our neck of the woods. We finally got smart and set up a metal frame gazebo with netting…perhaps not the prettiest thing but it’s so nice to eat a meal outside and get to enjoy it! I’d love to get some fun lights to hang from the ceiling of the gazebo & an indoor/outdoor rug…and add a few pretty plants. Unfortunately that’s all that I have space for in my new “room”.

    Astrids inspiring blog post..Happy Late Mother’s Day & More!

  7. Jennifer

    Oh Melissa, you are speaking to me today. I have a fairly large covered back deck that I am just dying to decorate. I want the outdoor curtains and all but I have felt overwhelmed at the thought of it. I just sit out there every day with my kids and look at wood and a table and chairs thinking, this place needs some life!!

    Love the pottery barn pillows. I love red. Hopefully I will get un scared and just go for it fairly soon.

    Jennifer @ Blogging God And Mes inspiring blog post..How To Do Mother’s Day On The Cheap

  8. Beverly

    I want the porch in the first picture! That is so beautiful.

    We have a private deck which houses our hot tub right off our bedroom. I have a couple of nondescript Adirondack chairs out there, but not much else. I’m dissatisfied each time I’m out there. I’ve wanted to add pillows or cushions to the chairs, but am afraid of mildew, etc. Your idea of plastic tablecloths is genius! I know what I’ll be doing today!! Thanks for the inspiration!

    Beverlys inspiring blog post..Happy Birthday, Katharine Hepburn!

  9. Christi

    Lovely! I’m so looking forward to creating an outdoor space at our new house. I just know it’ll be in use all the time!

    Christis inspiring blog post..project procrastinators party

  10. Kimm at Reinvented

    I love the idea of tablecloth pillows! I may have to try that one, I’ve been looking for inexpensive ideas to brighten up my small front porch.

    Kimm at Reinventeds inspiring blog post..The Family Couch

  11. {this is glamorous}

    Hello Melissa! Great minds . . . posted on a similar theme this morning — what a lovely idea to work from your front porch! The last two images are perfectly dreamy.

  12. Moi

    What a great idea! I wish I had a porch or something like that – maybe my patio would work!

  13. beth daggett

    Well, we’ve got our outdoor room all ready to go, now all we need is some nice weather! It has been much cooler around these parts this year. We should be in the mid seventies to the low eighties, but it has been in the low sixties and very windy!! Sigh….so ready for summer.

    beth daggetts inspiring blog post..Gifted

  14. teresa

    I’m so ready to get to working on my outdoor rooms- they need a little tender care right about now- thanks for the tips-

    teresas inspiring blog post..Make it Pretty-

  15. Rhoda

    Hi, Melissa, I adore outdoor rooms & wish we had a covered porch so I could really go all out. I’ve already got all the wicker, just nothing covered out there. I’ve considered getting one of those huge gazebos covered with fabric. These are all fun ideas! Hope you’re starting to enjoy your summer.

    Rhoda @ Southern Hospitalitys inspiring blog post..Granite in the Kitchen

  16. Angie

    Once again you’ve made me wish I could jump into the screen, to relax in a coastal inspired back porch! Furthermore, you have inspired me to make the best of our situation (apartment living) and create a back patio that makes me drool. A place I can hang out, relax, and work in the coming summer evenings.

    Oh and lastly, you said “Being creative with what you have is half the fun!” – one of my fave mantras! Happy Day Melissa!

    Angie @ The Creative Mamas inspiring blog post..Overcoming the “White Wall Woes”.

  17. Vee

    Wonderful ideas. I would dare to take regular furniture to a porch, but not to the deck, which is what I have. But, I was thinking why shouldn’t I decorate that back wall when it’s finished? Someday, I’ll be trying to remember what you’ve said and I’ll be back running through the archives looking for inspiration. How’re the chairs coming? ;>

    Vees inspiring blog post..Ready for the Tin Man

  18. Courtney

    i so wish that under our large deck we had a porch to do something like the first picture. one of these days we will do it and maybe I can be inspired by that picture.

  19. Mrs.Rabe

    I so miss my porch from my old house! Loved it!

    Here we have a deck and I am slowly making it into a more usable space –

    Thanks for the inspiration!

    Mrs.Rabes inspiring blog post..Update on Tim

  20. Chie

    Hi Mel,
    I just finish my entrance porch w/ a romantic theme this year §:-)
    I’m in my mood of a pink, white, green & roses therefore, am busy although my situation (a new operated) suppose to chill out. But my mind is full of crap asking me to do so.

    This is ready for your “Project Procrastinators Party: ” on the 14th of May isn’t it? So, I keep this till then.

    Thanks a mill for sharing lots of ideas that I applied some of those.

    Have a great Tuesday!

    Chies inspiring blog post..Me and My love of White, Pink, Green &… WHATEVAH MONDAY

  21. Gina

    I love this, it’s so great to have a little space to rest outside in the fresh air. Last year I spent 50 dollars on two chairs and pillows for a little spot to sit. It gets the morning sun and is so wonderful to start the day there, the best money I’ve spent on our yard in a long time!

    Thanks for the inspiration.

    Ginas inspiring blog post..The Work of Patience

  22. LeAnn

    Hi Melissa,
    I love this post. We live in a 1911 farmhouse and every year I look forward to decorating the porch. I was at Lowes the other day and they have the cutest blue and white wicker chairs, I haven’t been able to get them out of my mind since. I too will be working on my porch these next few weeks. Great photos.


    LeAnns inspiring blog post..I like FREE!!

  23. songbirdtiff

    I am working on our back porch for the procrastination party. I have A LOT of work left to do! It won’t look like any of these rooms, but it will be a vast improvement over what it is right now. :)

  24. rue

    Hi Melissa :)

    My porch isn’t as fabulous as these (yet!), but I just posted about mine yesterday. I love love love sitting out there :)

    Thanks for more ideas!

    rues inspiring blog post..Mother’s Day on the porch

  25. Lynne

    Hi Melissa!
    These outdoor living pictures are so inspriring! I love the “outdoor living” look! I’m going to get started on mine- just as soon as “pollen season” is over – mid-June. I don’t like to put out my good cushions only to have the covered in the yellow powder… I’m going to bookmark this post for next month! Thanks!!

    Lynne @ Our Happy Homes inspiring blog post..Interview with Brendan – The Mommy Edition

  26. Palabuzz

    I think that an outdoor room doesn’t really need to be fancy.

    when I was young we used to have an outdoor room wherein we could play. It is just steel set which is placed on the terrace. now we don’t have the space.

    Palabuzzs inspiring blog post..Christian Bautista in on a hospital

  27. melissa

    Gorgeous spaces! I am breaking a sweat trying to finish by Thursday. What is it called again? Oh yea, project PROCRASTINATORS. Very fitting. :)

    • Melissa

      You can do it! Yes you can!


  28. Katherine aka. Urban Flea

    I really love the idea of putting artwork outside. It’s those unexpected touches that really make it into more than just an outside space, it really turns into a real room. I can’t wait for summer!
    xo Katherine aka. Urban Flea :-)

    Katherine aka. Urban Fleas inspiring blog post..Daily High: Room Service

  29. Sara

    Beautiful outdoor living photos. I wish I had a deck or porch that lovely. I’m working on sprucing ours up with furniture and flowers. Thanks for the ideas and inspiration photos.

    Saras inspiring blog post..Gardening Galore

  30. Joanie

    Hi Melissa,
    I just love that, “it is LEGAL. Tap into your rebellious side!” So, true! What an inspiring post. I don’t have a deck or a porch in the back, so I am a little jealous. But, I do have a covered front step that would be larger enough for maybe one cozy chair and a little side table for my lemonade. Maybe some strategically placed large pots of flowers to provide a little privacy. Hmm, maybe there is hope for some outdoor summer lounging after all!
    Thanks for the inspiration,
    The Bright Side

    Joanies inspiring blog post..fur baby #1: the cuddler

  31. LuLu

    I love outdoor living spaces… great pictures and full of inspiration.

    LuLus inspiring blog post..More Than A Door….

  32. jane

    melissa. those are super photographs: how can anyone be sad in one of those happy outdoor rooms? i’m having a party for my two college grads (under and post grads) and for the party i’m going to shop the house and make my outdoors as lovely as your posted photos, thanks to you! cannot wait to see what you do for your own room. jkj

  33. Claudia

    What a great way to expand a small living space. I have an itsy bitsy deck on the back side of my kitchen and long to have some wonderful out doors porch to “live” in.

    thanks for the ideas… I maybe having to look into moving just for the serenity aspect!

    I am even PROCASTINATING making a list of the things i procastinate about… its wayyy too over whelming, but I might just jump in feet first!

    Thanks for the nudge always.

    [email protected] inspiring blog post..Finding Inspiration

  34. Pretty Organizer

    So what these magazines never mention is: What do you do with the black widows, cockroaches and dust storms? These outdoor rooms are beautiful but in AZ we have prehistoric wildlife whose God given roll is to decompose everything…. The cockroaches decompose me every time I see one! They’re everywhere and they’re the size of your thumb. Melissa, they’re huge. Still, there are rooms here called Arizona rooms, sun rooms of sorts that are well decorated and I’m sure cockroach free. I think the owners must be movie stars in Scottsdale.

    Sorry I’ve been out of the loop on blogging. I’ve needed a little recharge time and priority maintenance. This summer is going to be interesting with 6 kids home. I’ve got to get my act together! Great inspiring post today, as always. I’ll get BD posts ready.

    Pretty Organizers inspiring blog post..Someone Exhumed my Exercise Gene

    • Melissa

      Black widows, cockroaches and dust storms? Oh, no! You poor dear! I never see any of those things! And here I whine a little because we have more rain than I would like! Arizona does not sound like my kind of place!!! Icky bugs. I think I would want an Arizona room…cockroach free.

  35. (((((HUGS)))))  sandi

    OH ~SWOON~! I am dreaming, and wondering if such beauties in my neighborhood would get stolen… LOL! Still I LOVE the outdoor pics and mirrors~AAAAHHHHH! What a cozy niche…. (((((HUGS))))) sandi

    (((((HUGS))))) sandis inspiring blog post..From our Ai Boon!

  36. ToddandJen

    Great thing about this is that you’re showing everyone that the outdoor room truly is the same concept as an indoor room. All the elements are here in your photos and done very well.

    Think we’ll spend some time on the deck tomorrow, unless it’s 95 degrees….again!

    ToddandJens inspiring blog post..Jun 29, Curtains and drapes are fundamentals of great living room decor



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