Bring a Boutique-Hotel Look to Your Patio

Long summer days allow us to stretch our time in the backyard with friends and family, enjoying daylight and warmth well into the evening. To maximize your outside enjoyment, approach your exterior decor the same way you’d approach your interior’s—with comfortable seating, ample lighting and accessories to tie the whole thing together.

Ready to upgrade your folding chairs or standard patio table? Consider these ideas for your own boutique-hotel approach to outdoor living.

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The aim is to replicate the comfort of a living room outside. Happily, manufacturers are making all-weather sofas and sectionals that look as stylish and are as comfortable as their interior counterparts. Deep seating and mountains of pillows implore you to sit back and chill out. Be sure that the sofa and pillows are upholstered with sun- and weather-resistant outdoor fabrics.

Add cocktail-height side tables and a coffee table so you’ll have a place for drinks and snacks while you enjoy the golden hour. This will also make the area feel more furnished and help anchor the seating group within the great outdoors.

An area rug helps anchor the space and adds a touch of color. Today’s all-weather polypropylene rugs come in a vast array of patterns and colors, and are often indistinguishable from their interior brethren. Layer on pillows and candle lanterns to create the feeling of a Mediterranean casbah. The more indoor-style furniture and decor you use outside, the more of a boutique-hotel feeling you’ll create.

Planters and a trellis add the feeling of an oasis and help define the perimeter of the space, much the way walls define the boundaries of a room. They also help to create privacy and edit views.

Curtains also help define an outdoor space, making it cozier while affording shade and a buffer against breezes. Add a hammock and you’ve got the perfect setting for a nap.

A shaded trellis and overhead heat lamp make a patio inviting for more of the year.

Your lounge can be a built-in element. This striking poured-concrete sectional hits a modern chord without feeling harsh, thanks to a wooden seat, ample greenery and the softening presence of gravel and rounded stones. The cushions are soft and cheerful.

Don’t overlook lighting. String bulbs overhead or add an all-weather floor lamp to extend the amount of time you use your patio. A fire pit adds both light and heat, and provides a focal point for the built-in lounge—especially at night, when the view might not be visible.

Outdoor lounges aren’t limited to suburban backyards. A rooftop deck can be turned into a compact retreat with the same elements of deep cushioned seating, residential-style lighting, a table for food and drinks, and some shade. Don’t be afraid to pick a theme and have fun with it, as was done with this Marrakesh-inspired lounge.

Besides picking a theme, it’s also fun to think outside the expected. A canopy shade over an outdoor bed makes this rooftop lounge feel romantic and dramatic (and diffuses the light on a bright day). Check out that headboard with all those candles—an easy DIY project that results in an unforgettable scene.

An outdoor lounge area should be assembled out of elements that suit your family first, as well as the architecture of your home. Creative thinking can produce some cleverly devised spaces. A family with kids may want to incorporate less seating but plenty of shade—and even a sandbox—to make the most of their private outdoor getaway.