Your No-Fail Guide to Designing an Outdoor Living Room

Upgrade your outdoor space (no matter the size) with these vibrant additions, from weatherproof fabrics to flexible seating to bold accents.

White Patio
The outdoor living room is anchored by pieces made for laid-back summer hangs: an ultra-comfortable sectional by Serena & Lily and a woven hanging chair by CB2. | 
Pacifica Corner Sectional from $4,998, Lido Striped Outdoor Rug $798, Santa Cruz Outdoor Pillow Cover $88, Atlantic Outdoor Pillow Cover $68–$88, all Serena and Lily; Pod Hanging Chair, CB2, $699; Cloudware Bowl, Haand, $28; Assorted Mud Cloths, Cargo; Paint (on Coffee Table), Rust-Oleum; Hairpin Table, Schoolhouse Electric, $299; Wooden Bowl and Large Glass Vase, Nest Fine Gifts.
Photography by Keith Isaacs

You've spent the better part of the past year working on your living room, curating every last detail down to the T—after all, it is the one spot in which we spend a good chunk of our evenings. Come summer, when the warm weather hits and we find ourselves drawn to the outdoors, creating a similar situation in the backyard suddenly becomes a priority. Combining form and function—all the while taking into consideration the square footage you're given to work with—there is an art to creating the ideal outdoor living room.

Whether the space will come to stand in as one that promotes easy entertaining or a spot in which you can simply sit and idle by, it's all about establishing an area that emulates your version of the perfect summer space. To help, we put together a no-fail guide to decorating the ultimate outdoor living space, complete with the season's trendiest prints, patterns, and furnishings to boot. 

Read on for six easy tips, the best new outdoor lines to shop this summer, and three curated looks to shop right now. 

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Santa Lucia Mobile, The Citizenry, $355; Oregon Glass Drink Dispenser, Crate and Barrel, $80; Marin Rope Bar Cart, Serena and Lily, $498; Atlantic Outdoor Pillow Cover, Serena and Lily, $88.
Photography by Keith Isaacs

6 Steps to the Perfect Outdoor Room

 A neutral base allows you to layer in pops of pattern and color with pillows, throws, and rugs—a more versatile and inexpensive alternative to splurging on that statement seetee.

2. Take decorative cues from the nautically inclined: Materials that can withstand the elements and still look good—like brass and rope—add interesting texture.

3. Working with an awkward corner? Make the most of vertical space by bringing in pieces that draw the eye up. This hanging chair proves that a cozy nook doesn’t require an expansive sofa.

Orange and Yellow Patio
Cloudware Chemist Cup, Haand, $35; Bamboo Dinner Plates by Xenia Taylor, West Elm; Sunflower Napkins, Heather Taylor Home, 4 for $82; Smith Flatware, West Elm, 5-Piece Set $27; Cloudware Bowl, Haand, $50; Bormioli Rocco Bodega Modern Wine Glass, West Elm, $18; Flowers by Bowerbird.

4. Foldable furniture makes your setup easily adaptable to party size and is a great option for even the smallest of spaces (think: flat storage when not in use). Pieces that sit low to the ground create a relaxed, lounge-y feel, whether a sleek sofa or comfy floor cushion.

5. A side table on wheels does double duty as a mobile drinks station and handy storage unit to keep the party flowing.

6. When setting the table, mix and match hardworking materials with elevated favorites, such as picnic-approved melamine plates, linen napkins, and brass flatware. A bright bunch of blooms completes the look.

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Introducing a new wave of colorful upholstery fabrics that are durable enough to live indoors and out. Clockwise from top left: 2006182-37 by Lee Jofa, Kravet; Salemi by Maria Flora, Walters; Lagos, Pierre Frey; Breeze Stripe, Osborne & Little; Vertex by Kelly Wearstler, Kravet; Cap Ferrat, Clarence House; Amlapura by Palasari, Designers Guild; Monterey, Suzanne Tucker Home; Loofah Stripe, Kravet; Study, Maharam; Fig Leaf, Peter Dunham Textiles; Stream, Jim Thompson Fabrics.
Photography by domino

3 Outdoor Lines to Shop This Season 

CB2 x Fred Segal: In its second iteration, the highly coveted collaboration marries Fred Segal’s California-cool aesthetic with CB2’s contemporary furnishings for a collection that exudes effortless elegance.

Thomas O’Brien x Century: Durability is at the core of Thomas O’Brien’s inaugural outdoor collection, which is characterized by two antique-inspired materials: wicker and metal. Reinvented with a modern flair, the versatile designs make any space pop.

Wendy Jane by Gabby: Gabby’s new line features high-performance, weather-resistant pillows that don’t compromise on style. Built to withstand even the most trying outdoor elements, the pieces perfectly combine form and function.

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Photography by domino

4 On-Trend Summer Looks to Shop Right Now

Sunset Suite 
From left:
1. Para(d) Chair, Nova Obiecta $2,218
2. Star Cloud Rug, Shore Rugs, from $565
3. Tassa Indoor-Outdoor Sofa, Anthropologie, from $2,298
4. Klein Blue Series Vase, Bzippy and Co., $400
5. Crystal Series Console Table, Saerom Yoon, $6,550

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Photography by domino

Beachy Boho
From left:
1. Boho Kilim Nagar Indoor-Outdoor Rug, World Market, from $149
2. Rambler Picnic Table, Boxhill, $5,800
3. Ceiling Fan, Haiku, from $995
4. Macondo Hammock, Wayuu Hamocks, $249
5. Retro Bullet Planter, Hip Haven, $170
6. Bol Corten Fire Bowl, Palo Form

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Photography by domino

Pattern Pop
From left:
1. Bertjan Pot Bench, MoMA Design Store, $5,495
2. Greno Cushion, Ikea, $9
3. The Downtown Minimalist Sconce, Barn Light, $124
4. Aura Brass Bell Chime, Ladies and Gentlemen Studio, $95
5. Nubby Planter, Erin Smith, $54
6. Dakota Indoor-Outdoor Rug, Lulu and Georgia, from $83

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Photography by domino

Monochrome Chic
From left:
1. Portal Side Table, CB2, $329
2. Hanging Circle Planter, New Made LA, $38
3. Basketweave Indoor-Outdoor Rug, West Elm, from $59
4. Tropicale Bench, Selamat Designs, $1,115 
5. Eastport Umbrella, Serena and Lily, $698
6. Outdoor Gregg Lamp by Foscarini, The Future Perfect, from $415

This story originally appeared in the Summer 2018 issue with the headline The Domino Guide to Outdoor Living.

See more outdoor inspiration:
8 Ways to Transform Your Porch into a Bohemian Escape
9 Homes That Make the Most of Indoor-Outdoor Living
These Modern, Grassless Backyards Are Outdoor Goals

Published on June 17, 2018 - 1:00pm EDT

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