Create an inviting outdoor space

From barbecues and games of bocce to parties and candlelit dinners, an outdoor space can be a hub for
"Try to create a living room for your outdoor space," said Kate Anthony, owner of Kate
& Company Design Studio and Interior Design instructor at the Art Institute of California – San
Diego, a campus of Argosy University.
Whether it’s a small patio or sprawling backyard, design experts from the Art Institutes system of
schools have tips for making the great outdoors a great place to eat and play.
• Focal points. Edward Varias, owner of E.V. Design and interior design instructor at the Art Institute
of California – Hollywood, said a focal point brings everyone together, and can include furniture, a
fountain or a fireplace. An outdoor rug can serve as a focal point and help define an area, and a fire
pit makes a great place for guests to gather.
• Seating groups. "Define the space for the type of entertaining you need," Varias said.
Determine the size of the space, the number of people coming and if you’ll use the space for eating,
drinking and socializing, or playing games.
For a small space, seating can be a simple bistro table and two chairs. For larger spaces, incorporate a
sofa and chair groupings, along with a small coffee table. Anthony adds that a circular furniture
pattern allows everyone to see each other, which is great when playing cards.
• Lighting. Varias recommends providing ample lighting for focal points and providing a mix of electric
lighting and ambient lighting such as candles. Other easy DIY lighting includes strings of lights, which
can be used year-round and simple solar lights.
• Accessories. Anthony recommends bold accessories for outdoor spaces. The starting palette will be very
neutral, with greens and browns. Add pops of color with pillow cases or colored plants. Storage is
another area to consider.
The tips can be adapted for spaces of varying sizes and can range from simple DIY to high-end customized
(Courtesy of Brandpoint)