Small-scale, multitasking furniture and décor for petite decks, patios and yards.
Shelter magazines this time of year are fond of featuring expansive outdoor spaces with sprawling gardens and entertaining areas.
But for many people, especially city dwellers, the at-home alfresco area is more postage-stamp than palatial.
Not a problem, says Katy Kiick Condon, a senior editor at Better Homes & Gardens magazine. She advises using the same space-saving tricks outdoors that you do indoors.
Think of the terrace as an extension of the kitchen or living room.
“Try using the same color scheme and styles. The continuity will visually combine the spaces, and make your terrace feel larger,” Condon says. “Outside, you can punch up the colors, and be a little more playful with art and décor.”
A round table can work for stand-up cocktails or as a dining table, with sturdy, stylish, stackable chairs brought into service.
Check out West Elm’s Mosaic table collection; tiled tops in a variety of patterns come on wood or metal bases.
Bend Goods has a hip little stacking chair made of galvanized wire, available in pink, black and white.
Some manufacturers have started producing “balcony height” chairs and tables for the outdoor market; they’re tall enough that you can see over the railing, but not so tall that you could fall over it.
If you’re more into lounging than dining outdoors, forgo a table for one or two comfy chaises or chairs. Look for colorful, folding Adirondack chairs made of recycled, durable synthetic wood.
Target’s Bryant faux wood/upholstered club chair has uptown chic. Use small ottomans and trays for refreshments.
Gloster Furniture’s shapely little Bells matte aluminum table, available in several colors, can be had with either a tray top or ice bucket insert, making it a great space-saver.
Consider a vibrant outdoor area rug. Dash & Albert’s Catamaran collection features jaunty stripes in a range of hues.
“Build up, not out,” Condon says. Use vertical space by bringing in tall potted plants, hanging planters from the ceiling or creating a screen of planters. Look for colorful umbrellas that tilt and shift. CB2 has a small-space sun shade worth checking out.
Design Within Reach has the retro Bullet planter, a reproduction of a 1950s design. Available in a range of midcentury hues, it’s got a space-age-y vibe, perched on tripod legs. Oregon’s Steel Life has the Little Jack tabletop planter with a walnut or powder-coated base shaped like a playful jack.
If you’ve got a view, don’t block it. Orient the furniture to take advantage of it.
But what if you’ve really got no room for any furnishings, and no view either?
“If the best part is just 10 square feet of fresh air, add a gorgeous runner and find some plants to breathe it in with you,” Condon advises.