The Best Ways to Maximize Small Outdoor Spaces

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The Best Ways to Maximize Small Outdoor Spaces

Lisa Wright · Jul 26, 2022
Simple, green, and most importantly, relaxing small outdoor apartment space.

Apartment dwellers don’t always have the luxury of an outdoor space, and when they do, it’s often shared, or postage-stamp sized. Of course, this isn’t the case for everyone (those with large apartment outdoor Edens — we salute you!), but many of us do have to sacrifice a large(ish) outdoor area due to apartment living. So how do you get around this and create the best outdoor haven for chilling in your own backyard?

Lucky for us, there’s tons of great tips and tricks out there for getting the most of a teeny tiny outdoor area, and since we’ve already found them, we’re passing them along to you to share the wealth.

Note: The tips, tricks, and products below can be applied for any outdoor space; they just work especially well in small ones as they are designed to maximize space. But feel free to use them on any space you want, from large outdoor patios to the yard you share with your neighbors.

Now, let’s get you on your way to creating a chill space you can let loose in, because summer is going fast!

Living the Plant Life

Don’t have room for a garden? No problem! You can still dress up your outdoor space with plenty of plant life to make it look lush and inviting. From potted plants to vertical gardens, there are lots of ways to trick out your outdoor space and transform it into a verdant haven of greenery.

Potted plants are a good place to start, as they’re generally easy to move around. Lightweight containers are even more ideal for easy transport, but that doesn’t mean you have to rely on those unattractive, flimsy plastic containers that most plants come in. There are lots of attractive pots out there, so feel free to mix and match! If you don’t mind some heavy lifting, this set of three from Amazon is super cute (and affordable). This basic black tall planter is also incredibly chic, and these painted terracotta pots are also uber-cute.

Growing a vertical garden may not be ideal for every space. But with a little creativity, those with a patio wall can transform that blah surface into something really lovely. This outdoor garden wall grid may look simple, but once you start putting in a variety of plants (think herbs and succulents), it will blossom into something entirely its own.

Plant stands are another way to turn a small outdoor space into a chic oasis. Just be sure to look for one that doesn’t take up too much space, like this one from West Elm. For a more retro look with a touch of glam, this marble 3-tier beauty is a steal on Amazon.

Fab Furnishings

Cute accessories like these planters will surely make your outdoor apartment space pop.

Plants are great, but you want to be able to sit in your yard and actually enjoy them. When there’s not a lot of room outside, it pays to be creative with your furniture, whether that means creating a charming haven for one or curating a more social spot where a few friends can have cocktails.

Placement is key when trying to create the illusion of space in smaller areas. For example, a small table and chairs for two generally doesn’t take up a whole lot of real estate, and when it’s placed against a wall and facing outward, it can even give the illusion of more space than there actually is. This set from IKEA is functional and ideal for small patios or balconies. Just add a cool cushion and cute table setting, and you’re almost ready to host an intimate happy hour gathering.

Multipurpose seating is always a good idea, whether you’re outdoors or indoors. A small bench that doubles as storage is a perfect option for smaller spaces – just dress it up with some decorative pillows for extra comfort. This bench from Pottery Barn has a cushioned top to make it easy, while this one from Target is both durable and trendy.

Stools also work in smaller outdoor settings, especially in addition to the aforementioned double-duty bench. This rattan-wrapped beauty can double as seating and a place to put plants or candles, and this ottoman can be brought outdoors for guests and taken inside to double as a footstool in the evening.

Other Tips and Tricks for Maximizing Outdoor Space

Simple and elegantly furnished outdoor apartment space.

Mix and match fabrics, textures, and colors to create the illusion of a larger outdoor space. This knit blanket is perfect for those cooler nights, and these colorful throw pillows add a welcome pop of color.

Get eclectic with repurposed flea market and yard sale finds (see our tips here).

Small accents go a long way. We’re talking outdoor candles, a cute cocktail set for entertaining, a fun tray for serving drinks, and little accessories like this vintage garden gnome or these simple string lights.

Bring in or store items that are not all-weather, or simply be careful to purchase accessories and furniture that can stand up to the elements.

Add an outdoor rug to create the illusion of more space, like this one from Target.

Now that you have the inside scoop on how to make your outdoor space live up to its full potential, it’s time to turn your patio or balcony into an outdoor oasis that’s cozy and fun for you and your guests.

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