25 decorating ideas to make your outdoor space awesome this summer


Add a fireplace, like this one from Novogratz.

With summer upon us and the holidays looming, we’ve been thinking a lot about how to spruce up our outdoor spaces at home. And it looks like we’re not alone – if you’re like us, you’ve probably noticed that patio decorating is selling out fast online. But we’ve rounded up dozens of options here – suitable for small apartment balconies, large backyards and townhouse patios – all still in stock and all shippable to your 40s.

Attached are our favorite ways to amp up your outdoor space this summer.

Invest in an outdoor sofa *with* cushions

It’s hard to overemphasize the difference cushions make on outdoor furniture. They make seating more comfortable, of course, but they also make a patio or deck feel like a true extension of your living space.

Morocco Graphite Loveseat, $976 (on sale) at Crate & Barrel.
Latigo Patio Sectional, $700 at target.
Emily Isabella Parker sofa, $2,298 at Anthropologie.
Formentera Outdoor Side Bench, $400 to world market.
Urban Outdoor Sectional, $2,799 at West Elm.

Add a spot for an outdoor coffee or cocktail

The key to turning even a small apartment balcony into a pleasant escape from indoor quarantine? A bistro set.

Heidi bistro set, $179 at Novogratz.
Fisher Patio Cat Set, $350 at target.
Haiti Bistro Set, $182 at Overstock.com.
Tarno Table + Two Chairs, $62 at Ikea.

Upgrade your socially distant pendant lights with a fire pit

A way to make sure you stay at least six feet from your friends? Put a fire between you.

Hampton Bay Piedmont wood fireplace with poker, $99 at Home Depot.
Asher Wood Fireplace, $242 at Novogratz.
Concrete Propane Fire Pit By The River, $740 at Wayfair.
Urli Black Hearth, $244 at CB2.
Adara table fireplace with propane tank, $2,399 room and board.

Take a nap in a hammock (because your next tropical vacation is probably far away)

Island breezes and ocean views can’t be delivered to your doorstep, but they can. Just add frozen cocktails.

Riso hammock with stand, $95 at Ikea.
Fennell quilted hammock, $126 at Wayfair.
Canyon Fringe Hammock, $118 at Anthropologie.

Hang twinkle lights, since every date night is now at home

It can be hard to make takeout romantic, especially after 10 weeks of quarantine with a raging global pandemic. But somehow, fairy lights always make a patio more special. (Don’t forget the wine.)

Hampton Bay Edison style indoor/outdoor lighting (48 ft string), $50 at Home Depot.
Glowing orb lights (11ft chain), $12 at target.
Globe patio lighting (25 foot garland), $24 on Amazon.
LED Solar Lanterns (12.5ft String), $18.49 at Overstock.com.

Add some kind of entertainment

Because binging Netflix can be quite depressing when the weather is nice.

inflatable outdoor movie screen, $130 on Amazon. (You will also need a projector. That one is $120.)
Lawn bowling, $127.45 at Crate & Barrel.
Inflatable pool (adult size!), $59 at Urban Outfitters.
Stained boat shoe cornhole board, $142 at Wayfair.

Senior Writer

Marisa M. Kashino joined Washingtonian in 2009 as an editor and became editor in 2014. She oversees the magazine’s real estate and home design coverage and writes feature films. She was a 2020 Livingston Prize finalist for her two-part investigation into a wrongful conviction stemming from a murder in rural Virginia.