More seating or less seating? Tall lamps or hanging lanterns? When designing your perfect indoor-outdoor living area, it can be hard to get all of the details right. When you consider that you have to take into account temperature, weather, and lighting, blending an indoor space with an outdoor one can be challenging! If you’re struggling to locate design inspiration for your indoor-outdoor living space, then keep reading. We’ve collected design pros’ best tips for making the most of this tricky space!


Bright indoor outdoor furniture space with 4 seated dining table, complete with vase of flowers and other décor.
Design by Eleven Interiors / Photo by Michael J. Lee

Define It

Before you dive into crafting your dream indoor-outdoor living space, first decide what the purpose of this space is. Should you design an outdoor rustic kitchen, complete with an outdoor grill and oven? Or perhaps your home would benefit more from an expansive outdoor dining area or cozy outdoor seating nook. This space should be personalized to your needs and wants. Remember: your options for indoor-outdoor living are nearly endless! So choose the one that speaks to you the most.

Indoor-Outdoor Bedroom living featuring a turquoise ceramic drum stool
Design by Brown Design Group / Design by Matt Weir

Keep It Cohesive

Don’t forget to keep your indoor-outdoor space cohesive with the rest of your space! Rather than branching out into an entirely new style, choose a style that complements the rest of your home. For instance, someone with a more modern home might look for Bauhaus or Mid-Century outdoor furniture options. Elsewhere, an Art Deco house might best be complemented by contemporary outdoor furniture. Remember: your outdoor space doesn’t need to be a perfect replica of your indoor space, but repeating shapes and colors both indoors and outdoors can create a calming sense of cohesion.

Keep It Light

Another key aspect of furnishing gorgeous indoor-outdoor living spaces is to keep things light! Avoid harsh lighting that might compete with the sun or be jarring at night. Instead, find ways to create a gentle ambiance. Combine a variety of lighting options such as wall sconces, chandeliers, and lamps to create areas that seamlessly transition into one another.

Light and open floor plan living space with matching indoor outdoor furniture.
Design by Wills Design Associates / Photo by Tommy Agriodimas

Keep It Natural

Likewise, don’t neglect nature in your indoor-outdoor furniture layout. Find fun ways of incorporating nature into this space by adding unique planters or installing retractable or sliding glass doors. Indoor-outdoor living spaces are a great way to add fresh air to your home, so stay creative in how you connect to nature in this space!

Keep It Comfortable

As always, choose indoor-outdoor furniture that’s comfortable. Like any other area of your home, this space should be inviting and relaxing. Rather than limit yourself to wood or metal seating options, explore durable upholstery alternatives. Not only will comfortable seating entice you to sit outside more, but it will encourage your guests to linger as well.

Photo by R. Brad Knipstein

Keep It Intimate

By that same token, don’t forget to keep this space intimate! Outdoor living spaces can often feel like living in a fishbowl. To alleviate this feeling, invest in flowy curtains, tall fences, or large screens to help create a sense of privacy. Similarly, large umbrellas or tents can be installed to protect yourself from the elements as well as add to the overall sense of ambiance of the space.

Keep It Prepped

Lastly, make sure your outdoor space is prepared for the weather! Invest in durable indoor outdoor furniture as well as sturdy lighting options to avoid having to renovate your furnishings every few years. Additionally, that large overhead tent or cabana can also help protect your furniture from sun damage as well as light rain!

Design by Kristina Crestin Design / Design by Jamie Salomon Photography

Lead image design by Design by Douglas C. Wright Architects / Photo by Richard Powers


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August 3, 2022

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