Keep it comfy.
A lot of people think outdoor furnishings have to be hard and impermeable. But, there are so many beautiful outdoor furniture items these days that are weatherproof and comfortable, so there’s no reason to sit uncomfortably on metal benches and plastic chairs. Orlando recommends making your patio space as comfortable and inviting as possible.
Create a color palette.
As with any design, the first thing to consider is color. Choose a palette that makes sense for your outdoor space. If your space is urban and lacks a lot of natural green, bringing in color might be a smart move. If your space is plant-filled, consider the colors of the plants.
Map it out.
Just because your patio is outside doesn't mean it has to lose all functionality. Orlando says that regardless of what kind of space you’re working with, plan it the same way you’d plan an indoor living room. Make sure there’s room to sit, to eat, to lounge, and do whatever else you plan on doing out there.
Go to the flea market.
As I’ve said before, the flea market is one of the best places to find unique pieces for your home. And since store-bought patio furniture can get pricey quickly, buying a flea market set might be your best bet. Choose furniture with a structure you like — from there, you can always repaint, add cushions, and make it feel brand new again.
Add a little life.
In my opinion, plants are the best accessory to a great terrace, patio or balcony. Plants make the space feel more alive and add that fresh, natural pop of color. If you’re still working on your green thumb, succulents or cacti are good beginner plants to start out with because they live off very little water and are pretty hard to kill. Work your way up to potted fruit trees, blooming bushes, and flowerpots when you’re ready to upgrade.
Underneath it all.
It may go overlooked, but what’s underfoot in your outdoor space is important too. Orlando lists an outdoor rug as one of his top three must-have patio items. He says rugs are a great way to bring color and style outdoors, and most can be hosed or swept off if they get dirty.
Outdoor spaces are great during the daytime, but they’re even better if they are set up to be used after sunset as well. Orlando recommends making sure you have ample lighting so your guests aren’t blind if you’re hosting an evening happy hour or dinner party. From candles to outdoor chandeliers, options for outdoor lighting are endless.
Choose a statement piece.
If you’re decorating your patio from scratch, try not to get overwhelmed. Rome wasn’t built in a day, after all. It’s best to choose a large statement piece, which can be furniture (an outdoor sectional or dining table), plants (colorful flowers planted in painted pots), or even lighting (a flea market chandelier). Once you’ve made one decision it’s way easier to make the rest and keep everything cohesive.
Make some shade.
A patio that gets a lot of sunlight might feel wonderful during the colder months. But, in the summer, it will probably be too warm for hanging out mid-day. Invest in a canopy or tent for a rooftop space or an area that’s uncovered. It'll look gorgeous and will allow you to entertain during the daytime, not just at night.
While your furniture and plants might be the obvious showstoppers in your outside area, it’s important to consider decorating the more unusual places as well. Hanging flowerpots, hummingbird feeders, and wind chimes will add a whole new dimension to the areas that happen to be above eye level.
NEXT: Lauren Conrad's Tips For Creating A Cozy Home
From her laid-back, effortless style to a fresh, ahead-of-the-trend beauty aesthetic, Lauren Conrad is a girl after our own heart. So, each week, the born-and-bred California girl and editor-in-chief of LaurenConrad.com will share with us her insider secrets and personal musings. Plus, check out her visually stunning guest pinning here!