Assess Your Outdoor Space to Determine Its Function
Decide how you want to use your space. If your deck or patio is large, you may want to divide it into different functional areas. For example, you can designate one side as a dining space and the other as a seating area for conversation or relaxing.
Depending on the size of your dining area, you may opt for a large table with chairs or a smaller bistro set. You may want to place your grill nearby for easy access when serving food, but with enough distance to allow for safety and traffic zones.
Your sitting area can be as simple as a few chairs with an accent table or two to hold a beverage or essentials. You can also create an outdoor living space with outdoor lounge sets that offer more sitting space. To create ambiance, hang strings of lights overhead, install outdoor lighting fixtures such as pendants or wall lanterns, or add a fire pit or patio heater to keep you warm as the sun sets or the days get cooler. An outdoor fan is also a great addition on porches or roofed areas to help you beat the heat.
Consider Your Style
Bring the vibe of your indoor spaces outside by choosing furniture with a similar style. If you like modern or contemporary design, select streamlined pieces with simple lines and vibrant colors. If rustic is more to your taste, go with wooden patio chairs and tables, especially Adirondack style furniture. If you live in coastal regions, white painted furniture, wicker, blue and white colors, and nautical-themed accessories are the way to go.
Your outdoor space is where you will want to relax and unwind after a busy day. Pick chair and chaise lounges with thick cushions made from fade- and mildew-resistant fabric. Select furniture with amble room to sit back and put your feet up in comfort. Rocking chairs are always perfect for relaxing.
Be Ready for the WeatherThe best spaces deserve to be enjoyed day and night, rain or shine. Ceiling fans will help circulate the air, keep bugs at bay, and keep you and your guests cool. A patio umbrella will offer plenty of shade on the sunny days. For cooler climates or chilly nights, an outdoor space heater will help you maximize your seating area's use.
Caring for Your Furniture
Although most outdoor patio furniture is made from materials that withstand the elements such as aluminum, all-weather wicker, teak, or resin, you can extend the life of your furniture by investing in patio furniture covers to protect against rain or snow. If you have the room, you can also store your outdoor furnishings in a shed or garage in the off-season. Choose easy-care fabrics and materials that wipe clean with a damp cloth and resist mildew and fading to keep your furniture looking its best.
For more advice and ideas, be sure to read How to Create a Great Outdoor Space and There's No Place Like Home: Make Your House a Staycation Destination.