Brooklyn Patio Makeover

See how one New York couple enlarged their living space by turning a small underused patio into a beautiful lounge area.

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A pair of rustic mirrors reflect the view of Manhattan, making the patio feel larger than it is.

With the three main design components tackled, we turned to a few more designer tricks for maximizing the space and its gorgeous view, adding life and making it feel slightly larger than it is. First, we installed a pair of rustic round blue-gray painted mirrors along the exterior wall to reflect the view of Manhattan, making the scene visible from almost every vantage point of the sectional sofa. Next, we added another layer of visual interest with custom throw pillows and seat and floor cushions made from indoor-outdoor fabric, tying the colors of the rug to the celery-green sofa cushions. To bring life into the space, we installed woven-grass planter boxes along the covered patio's railing and filled them with an assortment of annuals and grasses. As the plants grow, they'll provide Sarah and John with some measure of privacy from neighboring patios.

Lastly, we added ambience to the space with a planter that also provides diffused lighting. "The planter-light is exactly the kind of piece that makes me glad we worked with a designer," says Sarah. Normally I would have walked right by a piece like that, thinking it was too modern for our aesthetic. But placed in the context of the patio design, I see how functional and even neutral, design-wise, it is." Since the space is often used for socializing, proper lighting was key. This way lighting was added and the decorative element of potted greenery wasn't sacrificed.

With the project complete, Sarah and John are now getting more use from the covered patio. The space not only acts as an extra living room but has given John's daughter, Emily, a new chore she fully enjoys. "Emily is primarily responsible for taking care of the plants, and she kind of likes doing it," says Sarah. "A fun chore? What a win-win!" And with the colorful, comfy new space getting as much use as the apartment's actual living room, Sarah is still confused as to what to actually call it. "I find myself referring to our ‘indoor-outdoor living room,' as if they're not separated by a wall, windows and a sliding glass door. But it really does feel like we enlarged our living room by turning the adjacent patio into a lounge area. Just don't tell our landlord our living room grew by 90 square feet or he may jack up the rent."

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