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When you picture a luxury, resort-style backyard, you may envision an area that is quite sizable. However, that is not always the case. Even if you have a small outdoor living room, there is no reason it cannot be filled with beautiful accessories and the highest quality furnishings. Just remember that size matters. If you do not have a large area available to work with, you can still transform your outdoor space into a backyard oasis using these tips.

Advance Planning

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When designing a small outdoor living room, every square foot counts. And that is why you should take the time to draw up a plan in advance. Include plantings, focal features and the outdoor furnishings you find necessary to turn it into a comfortable space. Don’t forget about the extras, such as firepits, grills, privacy fencing and the like. There are plenty of tools online to help you with this task or feel free to call us and ask any of our sales professionals for advice.


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If you are wont to entertain family and friends in a small outdoor living room, plan the rest of the space around an outdoor dining set or seating arrangement. Just like designing indoor rooms, you will need to ensure you have enough room for all diners to have a bit of elbow room and be able to push their chairs back from the table without falling into a planter bed. This short guide on dining room dimensions and figuring out how much space is needed will help you to do the same outdoors. When in doubt, find a similarly sized space inside your home and draw lines with pieces of string or chalk to represent the furnishings you wish to add.

Keep Furnishings to Scale

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Although there is not much square footage, everything in this space is to scale.

One of the most important design details is scale. This refers to the relation of one object to the size of other objects in the same space or, when designing outdoors, even its relation to the size of the house and the yard. A small outdoor living room would be overwhelmed with a large gas fireplace whereas a smaller fire feature would be appropriate.

Make It Cozy

rattan outdoor cuddler seat Hausers Patio
An outdoor cuddler provides a cozy space to cuddle up with your significant other.

You may not have enough space outdoors to throw a big barbecue and invite all your neighbors but do make what area you have work for you. A bistro table and chairs tucked into a corner is a lovely place for morning coffee or an evening aperitif. If you prefer more opulent seating, look for an outdoor loveseat or cuddler with ottoman for maximum comfort in minimal space. A built-in banquette is a great way to add seating while saving prime, central square footage for a focal point such as a fountain or fire feature.

Extend Usable Space

seaside casual buffet Hausers Patio
This buffet from Seaside is a great choice for a lounge area in a side yard or on a deck.

If you have a side yard that is being used for nothing more than storing garbage bins and providing a walkway from the front drive, consider adding this space to your design plans. We have an article dedicated to just that; you can read all about side yard styling here.

courtyard Hausers Patio
By –, CC BY 2.0,

Courtyards are another excellent source of extra space in your small outdoor living room. Because they are usually enclosed completely or on three sides, these backyard areas can feel closed in. Use our ideas in this article for designing a courtyard with style that still feels open and inviting.

Tommy Bahama royal island lanai fire pit and chairs Hausers Patio
Tommy Bahama royal island lanai fire pit and chairs

Another idea is to create a circular area in the middle of your small outdoor living room for a fire pit or fountain. Place curved benches around the central feature and use the areas flanking it for foliage and lighting accents.

Just because you have a small outdoor living room does not mean you can’t make it feel luxurious and serve your needs using these ideas.

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