How to Design an Outdoor Living Space Based on Your Personal Style
There are so many reasons to love the outdoors. Fresh air, sunshine and time spent in nature repeatedly prove value by lowering stress levels, enhancing moods and promoting healthy lifestyles. Want to bring more of the outdoors into your daily life? Start by creating an outdoor living area that matches your personal style and addresses your functional needs.
In this article, we’ll give you tips and ideas for designing an outdoor living room that you’ll love based on your backyard style, choosing the elements that will help you connect with nature, find peace and relaxation and expand the living area of your home. Before we begin, take our backyard style quiz, then match your style with the outdoor living room ideas below!
Let’s start with swimming pool styles and design ideas.
Swimming Pools and Hot Tubs
Enhance the appeal of your backyard by installing a swimming pool and hot tub. Pools and spas are the perfect additions to your outdoor living space because they are both beautiful and functional. With a backyard pool, you can spend hours lounging poolside, working on your tan and soaking in Vitamin D. Or if you’re an early bird, get your blood flowing before work by hopping in the pool for a few laps. Whatever your lifestyle may be, swimming pools and hot tubs help you spend more time in the great outdoors.
Check out these swimming pool design ideas:
SWIMMING POOLS AND HOT TUBS
|Cabaret||Large pool with dazzling LED lights||Entertain at night|
|Classic||Rectangle pool with blue finish and light hardscapes||Subtle, clean appearance|
|Deep Blue||Free form pool with sea life mosaics and dark blue finish||Exudes sea life, deep water|
|Glam||Grecian pool with reflective finish and raised spa||High-end style with sparkle|
|Grotto||Free form pool with rock grotto||Haven for mermaids|
|Kid Friendly||Pool with slides and jumping rocks||All about fun and play|
|Modern||Infinity edge pool with mirror-like surface||Angular shapes and metallic finishes|
|Natural||Free form pool with green finish||Resembles a naturally occurring waterbody|
|Rustic||Free form pool with stone raised bond beam wall||Structured with a touch of ruggedness|
|World Travel||Geometric pool with travel-inspired tiles||Worldly with international flair|
Rectangular pool with NPT StoneScapes Black pool finish, natural stone coping, stamped concrete decking, raised spa and pergola combines Classic and Rustic styles.
Looking for the perfect enhancement for your pool? Swimming pool water features like deck jets, bubblers and waterfalls add movement and soothing sounds to your backyard. Some water features enhance the pool experience, providing shade (grottos), beauty (beach entries) and fun (waterslides).
Ready to find a water feature that amplifies your backyard style? Check out these water feature ideas:
SWIMMING POOL WATER FEATURE IDEAS
|Cabaret||Fountains||Adds excitement to your backyard|
|Classic||Deck jets||The perfect pool enhancer|
|Deep Blue||Bubblers||Bubbles up like an underwater volcano|
|Glam||Rain curtain||Creates a wall of sparkle|
|Grotto||Grotto||Perfect place for storing treasure|
|Kid Friendly||Water slide||Endless entertainment for the kids|
|Modern||Sheer descents||Sleek and stylish|
|Natural||Waterfall||Replicates a woodland waterfall|
|Rustic||Copper water bowls||This metal looks perfect in rustic backyards|
|World Travel||Swimming pool sconce||Lion heads, gargoyles and filigree are some options|
Sheer descent water features cascade into the pool below.
Pool Floats and Toys
Pool floats make the perfect place to enjoy your backyard. Take in the beautiful views, splash around when you get too hot and soak up the sun on your favorite inflatable. Did you know that there are pool floats in almost every shape imaginable? Think of your favorite animal, food or plant and we bet you’ll find a pool float of its kind.
Here are some pool floats that will accent your backyard style:
POOL FLOAT STYLES
|Cabaret||Floating canopy||Bring the drama and protect yourself from sun damage|
|Classic||Shell float||The world is your oyster!|
|Deep Blue||Sea turtle float||Swim with the fishes|
|Glam||Swan float||Exude elegance|
|Grotto||Mermaid float||Become a magical mermaid|
|Kid Friendly||Unicorn sprinkler||Increase outdoor playtime!|
|Modern||Inflatable lounger||Sit back and relax in style|
|Rustic||Log raft pool float||Showcase your adventurous spirit|
|World Travel||Private jet float||Embrace the jet set lifestyle|
Pool floats come in all shapes and sizes, like this giant swan inflatable.
Outdoor living furniture may be the most important part of designing your backyard, defining your style and providing comfort. Make sure to choose furniture that is weather-resistant and suits your taste. For example, if your space has a bohemian feel, search for a woven hammock. If you want a chair to curl up in and get lost in a book, consider a fluffy and comfy papasan chair.
Here are some other outdoor living furniture ideas:
|Cabaret||Outdoor couch||Entertainment zone|
|Classic||Adirondack chairs||Traditional pool style|
|Deep Blue||Swim up bar||Spend as much time in water as possible!|
|Glam||Chaise lounge||Elegant and sophisticated|
|Grotto||Daybed||Hideout to take in the views|
|Kid Friendly||Porch swing||Lulls you into relaxation|
|Modern||Ledge Loungers||Curvy and sleek|
|Natural||Woven hammock||Gives a bohemian touch|
|Rustic||Picnic table||Reclaimed wood adds rugged style|
|World Travel||Bistro table||Wrought iron gives an old-world feel|
Bright pillows enhance the tropical feel of this caged daybed.
Wicker chairs with coordinating end tables give a rustic cottage feel to this backyard.
Outdoor décor is what separates a backyard from a fun outdoor living room. The décor you choose sets the tone for your space, enhancing the feel of your backyard, whether that is cozy, funky, glam or sophisticated.
Decorating is one of the most fun parts of designing your outdoor living area because of the freedom to choose what you want and find items that express your personality. We recommended sifting through your garage to find old items to upcycle, visiting craft fairs for local art and shopping thrift stores for one-of-a-kind items.
Below we outline some outdoor décor ideas based on different backyard styles.
OUTDOOR HOME DÉCOR
|Cabaret||Outdoor movie projector||Party time! Show movies or music videos|
|Classic||Blue and white striped umbrella||Nautical décor fits the classic color palette|
|Deep Blue||Seashells and starfish||Decorate walls and fences|
|Glam||Sparkly candle votives||Glitter décor brings glitz and glam|
|Grotto||Rock waterfall||Bring a cavernous feel with large rocks|
|Kid Friendly||Hand-painted birdhouses||Paint together using the brightest colors you can find!|
|Modern||Sculpture||Spotlights 3D art in your backyard|
|Natural||Bamboo outdoor rug||Organic material for natural appeal|
|Rustic||Wooden lanterns||Farmhouse style with a timeless feel|
|World Travel||Mandalas||Celebrates the beauty of international cultures|
Looking for a fun family activity? Paint birdhouses together and display them in your backyard.
These rustic wooden lanterns are given a modern metallic touch.
Outdoor Grills and Kitchens
One of the best ways to expand your living space is to create an outdoor kitchen and dining room. In addition to increasing cooking space, outdoor cooking areas also allow you to spend more time outdoors, entertaining guests or simply enjoying the fresh air.
Design your outdoor grilling area to be as simple or complex as you want. Just make sure it addresses your functional needs as well as your aesthetic. For example, if you love cooking, maybe you need counter space for prep or refrigerated storage drawers. If gathering for a weekly pizza night is your family’s tradition, consider an outdoor pizza oven. Want an outdoor bar? Search for models geared towards entertaining. Whatever your backyard needs, there is an outdoor kitchen or grill that suits them.
Today’s kitchen offerings are available in different materials, sizes and shapes. Here are a few ideas based on different backyard styles:
OUTDOOR GRILL AREA IDEAS
This Bull BBQ Island model has a refrigerator and plenty of counter space for outdoor cooking.
Have you ever tried a grilled pizza? This Margherita grilled pizza looks delectable.
Outdoor Firepits and Fireplaces
Fire is a unifying element, drawing humans together since the Stone Age. In addition to outdoor lighting, fire features also serve as outdoor heaters, extending the usable hours of your backyard. Make your backyard the gathering place for friends and family by designing an outdoor firepit or fireplace.
Fire pits are available in many styles, materials and colors. For example, did you know you can select brightly colored glass pieces for your fire pit interior? This creates an amazing colorful effect in your backyard. For a more rustic look, consider using pavers, brick or stone on the exterior and wood for the interior. You can cook small items like s’mores or hot dogs over a fire pit, but for more advanced outdoor cooking, consider a fireplace.
Fireplaces are vertical fire structures and are usually larger than fire pits, offering greater warmth and sometimes a place to cook (look for fireplace pizza ovens)! Outdoor fireplaces are most commonly designed using stone or brick, but modern contemporary models incorporate concrete and metal.
Which fire feature is right for your backyard? Here are some fireplace and fire pit ideas for outdoor living:
FIRE PITS AND FIREPLACES
|Cabaret||Colorful glass||Brightly colored glass glistens at night|
|Classic||Paver fireplace||A traditional look with great results|
|Deep Blue||Fire and water bowls||Combines fire and water for a cool effect|
|Glam||Fire strip||Adds a touch of luxury|
|Grotto||Stone fire pit||Create a cave-like natural stone pit|
|Kid Friendly||Fire globes||Choose a mythical or wildlife scene|
|Modern||Concrete fire pit||Gray material looks contemporary|
|Natural||Inground fire pit||Create using stones, bricks or shells!|
|Rustic||Brick fire pit||Red brick gives a rustic touch|
|World Travel||Cement fireplace||Gives a high-end ski resort feel|
Belgard Brighton ™ Series Fireplace with wood boxes. Decking is Mega Arbel Pavers.
Cement fire pit with stone interior and light blue furniture exude contemporary beauty.
Now that you’ve filled your outdoor living area with awesome features like furniture, décor and fire features, it’s time to illuminate your design for all to see! Outdoor lighting is super important when designing your outdoor living room because in addition to looks, it also provides safety. Use outdoor lighting to draw attention to walkways, pool areas and more.
Outdoor lighting is key to your backyard, but with so many styles and options, how will you choose? Below we list different styles of lighting options to help you find one that suits you.
OUTDOOR LIGHTING IDEAS
|Cabaret||Curtain lights||Create a dramatic backyard stage!|
|Classic||Outdoor wall sconce||Simple and sophisticated|
|Deep Blue||Pool interior lights||Highlight your pool's finish and shape|
|Glam||Outdoor string lights||Twinkling resembles sparkles and glitter|
|Grotto||Outdoor spotlights||Draw attention to your backyard's rocky textures|
|Kid Friendly||Rope lights||Form rope lights into cool shapes|
|Modern||Metal sconces||Select understated sconces with metallic finishes|
|Natural||Solar lights||Powered by the sun|
|Rustic||Mason jar lanterns||Upcycle farmhouse-friendly mason jars|
|World Travel||Tiki torches||Transport yourself to a luxury beach destination|
Dainty string lights add a delicate, elegant touch to your backyard.
Conserve energy with eco-friendly solar lights.
Decks and Patios
Have you thought about the hardscapes you’ll use in your backyard? Hardscapes are the hard materials in your backyard, for example decking and patios. There are different types of hardscapes to choose from, from natural stone like travertine and flagstone to manufactured options like concrete pavers and bricks.
Each material has its benefits, unique qualities and availability that you must consider before selecting the right one for your backyard. Here are some samples of hardscapes you can incorporate into your outdoor living room:
DECKING AND PATIOS
|Cabaret||Decorative concrete||Pour into a special shape for drama|
|Classic||Travertine||Choose a light-colored travertine, like Ivory|
|Deep Blue||Porcelain pavers||Gray porcelain pavers resemble sandy beaches|
|Glam||Marble||A high-end, luxurious selection|
|Grotto||Concrete pavers||Concrete pavers have fantastic texture and color|
|Kid Friendly||Composite decking||Safe for kids and easy maintenance|
|Modern||Wood||Wood, especially gray, looks contemporary|
|Natural||Grass||Grassy lawns enhance Zen atmospheres|
|Rustic||Flagstone||Flagstone is dimensional and colorful|
|World Travel||Brick||Produces an old-world feel|
Wood decks are modern and functional.
If having fun in the sun is the goal of your backyard, you’ll want to consider adding a shade structure or two to make sure you’re playing safely. Too much time in the sun without protection spells trouble, so take a water break every now and then to unwind under a beautiful pergola or cuddle up under the shade of a cabana.
The type of shade structure you choose should fit with the overall style of your backyard so that it doesn’t stick out like a sore thumb. Use this chart to get inspired to find the perfect shade structure for your outdoor living area.
|Cabaret||Pool house||Gives guests a changing + lounging area|
|Classic||Gazebo||Traditional garden style|
|Deep Blue||Lounger with canopy||Kick back by the water all day|
|Glam||Cabana||Attach flowy, sheer curtains for more glam|
|Grotto||Patio umbrella||Select purple, blue or green for a mermaid feel!|
|Kid Friendly||Awning||Gather kids under the awning for snacks|
|Modern||Shade sail||White shade sails look modern and artsy|
|Natural||Arbor||Grow vines up the sides|
|Rustic||Pergola||Choose a natural wood model|
|World Travel||Palapa||Thatched huts instantly transport you abroad|
Transport yourself to a tropical island with this thatched palapa.
Grow Star Jasmine up the sides and top of your arbor for a secret-garden feel.
Gardens and Landscaping
Creating a garden is one of the most satisfying outdoor activities you can do. Nurturing plants to adulthood is a peaceful task that builds patience and kindness and amplifies the beauty of your backyard. When designing the landscaping for your outdoor living space, think about the style you’d like to convey. Additionally, consider your environment, as plants thrive under certain conditions.
If you’re looking for some gardening and landscaping ideas, check out this chart matching backyard styles to complementary plants and flowers:
GARDENS & LANDSCAPING
|Cabaret||Moonflowers||Blooms at night|
|Classic||Mountain Laurel||Forms privacy hedges|
|Deep Blue||Blue Hydrangeas||Flowers form large round clusters|
|Grotto||Palm Trees||Creates a tropical feel|
|Kid Friendly||Herb Garden||Teaches kids how to grow and care for plants|
|Modern||Succulents||Provides greenery and cool shapes|
|Natural||Xeriscape||Landscape philosophy that uses native flowers, little water|
|Rustic||Ornamental Grasses||Looks unique and rugged|
|World Travel||Hibiscus||Transports you to a tropical beach|
Shrubberies and hedges form privacy screens and give your backyard a manicured appearance.
This lush backyard features a bench for taking in the surrounding beauty.
Backyard yellow and pink flowers scream “Summer!”
Embrace the Outdoor Lifestyle
The key to outdoor living space design is creating a place that makes you feel good. Your pool, landscaping, patio furniture and more help set the tone of your backyard, so we hope you use these ideas as inspiration for creating an outdoor living room that fits your needs and style.
For more outdoor living ideas, check out our Pinterest board.
Happy outdoor living!
Staycation in Style Team