Make the Most of a Small Backyard

For city dwellers and those who live in small spaces, creating an outdoor space that you can enjoy at home can be a challenge. Here are some tips to help you make the most of your small outdoor space.

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November 25, 2014

Include Multifunctional Pieces

It’s important to treat an outdoor space just like you would any room inside of your home. And with small outdoor spaces, that principle should be carried even further. Look for multifunctional furnishings that address all of the needs and possible uses of your outdoor room. Interior designer Matthew Lanphier advises, "Multifunctional pieces are important in small spaces. Tables that can also be seating, stools that can also be tables. This coffee table spins, so it's user-friendly when the space is packed with guests." Image courtesy of MJ Lanphier Interior Design

Create a Cozy Environment

In a small outdoor space, maximize elements of comfort and create cozy nooks for you and your guests to enjoy and relax in. An outdoor fireplace can be a great way to add a cozy feel to your outdoor space, and there are lots of options that are eco-friendly and safe for small decks and patios. Image courtesy of MJ Lanphier Interior Design

Marry Form and Function

The structure of your outdoor space can be a guide for the type of furniture and accessories you will need. Here, a dining table is nested next to a curved stair that can double as additional seating for large gatherings. Image courtesy of MJ Lanphier Interior Design

Less Is More

In a small outdoor space, less can definitely mean more. Even a few key choices of furniture can have a big impact when furnishing a small lounge area or patio. "Don't clutter small spaces with small objects. Less is more, as always. I only accessorize and furnish outdoor spaces with a few choice, properly scaled objects. This means easier maintenance too," says interior designer Matthew Lanphier. Image courtesy of MJ Lanphier Interior Design

Furnish According to Your Needs

Not likely to have a huge outdoor bash? Choose only as much furniture as you will need to make your small outdoor space work for you. Here, a bistro set on an apartment patio adds a just enough space for two people to enjoy meals alfresco or dive into a good book. Image courtesy AphroChic

Make Your Small Space Work Overtime

Just because your patio or terrace is small doesn’t mean that it can’t meet all your needs for outdoor living. This rooftop deck is only 11 feet by 7 feet, but it has enough room to seat six around the dining table and additional people in the adjacent lounge area. Use furniture that is slim with clean lines to accommodate a crowd without being crowded. Image courtesy AphroChic; Photo by Rachel McGinn

Decorating Is in the Details

For small outdoor rooms that can’t fit large pieces of furniture, have fun with the details. Here, an elephant planter is being used as a side table with the addition of a simple tray. Accessories like this will give your outdoor space character and style. Image courtesy AphroChic; Photo by Rachel McGinn

Maximize Space

Look for pieces that can help you maximize your small outdoor space. This vintage bookshelf was turned into a full-service bar on a rooftop deck. It doubles as a storage shelf for tableware and serving pieces. Image courtesy AphroChic; Photo by Rachel McGinn

Colorful Comfort

Guests will be more apt to linger outdoors if the furniture is layered with comfy throws and pillows. Find pieces made from water-resistant fabrics that are created specifically to withstand the elements. Design by Jamie Durie

Enjoy the View

What city patios lack in space they often make up for in breathtaking views. Embrace the sweeping views, but use privacy screens, plants or curtains to block the prying eyes of close neighbors. Image courtesy Viceroy Hotels and Resorts

Go Vertical

No room for a traditional garden? Think up! Vertical gardens add much-needed greenery to city spaces without taking up precious square footage. Get more vertical garden inspiration here.

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