13 Ways to Transform an Outdoor Dining Room for Spring

Mix-and-match seating, outdoor draperies and fresh accessories transform an underused deck into a functioning outdoor dining space fit for spring entertaining.

  • Outdoor Dining Room Makeover: After

    The outdoor space of this quaint Atlanta bungalow was updated with olive green paint and refreshed with neutral-toned drapery panels, low-maintenance furniture and splashes of spring hues.

  • Outdoor Dining Room Makeover: Before

    In its \"before\" state, the outdoor dining area of the bungalow was bland and unmemorable. The ill-fitting bistro table and red metal chairs were permanently removed, but the indoor-outdoor area rug and folding wooden chairs were kept to use in the new design.

  • Accentuate Height

    Although the outdoor dining area has limited square footage, it feels much more spacious than it actually is because of a simple trick. To take the focus off the lack of space and instead focus on the height, designer Dan Faires installed indoor-outdoor draperies on galvanized metal conduit along the pergola.

  • Ambient Hurricanes

    As the afternoon sun slowly fades, hurricanes outfitted with pillar candles provide ambience into the night. While fragrant pillar candles add a welcoming aroma to indoor spaces, they lose their affect when used outdoors. It's best to choose unscented candles for outdoor entertaining.

  • Coordinating Colors

    The entire color scheme for the outdoor dining space was inspired by the spring-toned pattern of its throw pillows. Robin's egg blue was used for some of the servingware, while springy greens were added with dinnerware and table linens.

  • Uniting Spaces

    The back deck of the cottage is made up of two spaces: one for lounging and another for dining. To unite the two spaces visually, each area was outfitted with the same indoor-outdoor rug featuring a blue-grey and dove grey zig-zag pattern.

  • Comfy Host Chairs

    Woven armchairs with thick removable cushions were added to bring extra comfortable seating to the heads of the table. For additional support and an extra splash of color, patterned throw pillows were placed in each chair.

  • Smart Seating

    When furnishing an outdoor dining space, it's smart to think of unexpected ways to add seating. Instead of using a matching set to host springtime soirees, weathered folding chairs were repurposed along one side of the table and a bench was placed along the other. Once guests have left and the space is no longer in use, the chairs can easily be folded and stored away.

  • Low-Maintenance Table

    Wooden outdoor furniture requires seasonal maintenance. If you're interested in much more practical furniture, you should consider metal outdoor tables and chairs with faux wood looks like the one used here. Although the table looks like weathered wood, its metal construction is much simpler to maintain, requiring only a quick spray with the hose to keep clean.

  • Versatile Seating

    In addition to adding a one-of-a-kind look, mixed seating around an outdoor table can actually help maximize seating capacity. In this outdoor dining space, armchairs are placed at each end of the table and folding chairs are used along one side, so the addition of a bench allows up to four guests to sit comfortably along the opposite side.

  • Mix-and-Match Style

    For casual, unexpected flair on the tabletop, a collection of eclectic dinner plates, salad plates and chargers was used. To effectively arrange a mixed table setting, stick with elements featuring different textures and a range of scaled patterns.

  • Add Privacy with Plants

    Rail planters were installed and outfitted with spring plants and flowers to add an extra layer of privacy around the dining area. The more the plants grow, the more privacy and color you'll get.

  • Help Yourself

    Buffet-style serving is a much more practical approach to outdoor entertaining than a formal spread. To play up the pastel blues and greens of the palette, serving dishes and tableware in the same shades were grouped together on the table.

  • Stocking the Bar

    When space is at a premium outdoors, consider using a mobile bar cart. Here, a faux bamboo cart is stocked with sparkling water and garnishes appropriate for alfresco entertaining. Mobile carts are also ideal for appetizer or dessert presentation.

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