Whether you are looking to build an outdoor dream room or dress up an existing patio, plan ahead. A design with the perfect amount of square footage can make the difference between an elegant room and an awkward room. Don't worry if space planning seems daunting at first — that's normal. But with the right tools, it can actually be fun.
Here are some design and furniture ideas for outdoor spaces 6 by 6 feet to 16 feet square and more.
Determine how you plan to use your space. Do you plan to relax here or entertain? Is the space going to be for a couple of people or groups?
While outdoor spaces are technically not rooms, the size requirements are similar. Much like a dining room or a family room, you will need enough space for your furniture and to comfortably circulate. Measure the spaces in your house to determine if a similar layout will work for your outdoor deck, porch or patio.
Also be sure that your outdoor space is in scale to the rest of your house. A gigantic outdoor space next to a small home or a very tiny space next to a large home could easily feel out of proportion and awkward. A good guideline is to make your outdoor space comparable to the rooms inside your house.
Outdoor Room 1: Troy Rhone Garden Design, original photo on Houzz
An area around 6 by 6 feet is just right for a bistro table and a couple of chairs — the perfect place for coffee and the morning paper.
The same size space could also fit an oversize chair and side table — it just depends if your outdoor nook is meant for one person or more.
Outdoor Room 2: Sutton Suzuki Architects, original photo on Houzz
If you want a cozy living area with a couple of love seats or oversize chairs, an area that's 8 by 8 feet would provide just enough space. I usually like to tuck these types of outdoor nooks back in a corner, if possible, to make them more private.
Outdoor Room 3: Dave Adams Photography, original photo on Houzz
Side yards make great outdoor spaces. Generally, any side yard that is 10 feet wide or wider has a lot of potential. But keep in mind that side yards are commonly used for walkways, so it is important to maintain at least 3 feet of width for a walkway around your seating area.
Dining spaces generally depend on the table size. I suggest measuring the table you would like to use and allow for 3 feet of circulation around the table. If you use bench seating on one or more sides, you can utilize a smaller space.
In a space that's about 10 by 10 feet, built-in corner seating can easily convert into a living space or a fire pit area. Multipurpose spaces work well in small outdoor areas — especially on rooftop patios.
Outdoor Room 4: Godden Sudik Architects Inc, original photo on Houzz
Courtyards are great for just about any outdoor purpose. I love them for city living.If your courtyard is surrounded by three walls, make sure it is wide enough to let light in. Don't go any smaller than 12 by 12 feet — and if you go larger, it will only feel and look better. Use one wall for a fireplace or barbecue and fill the space with some comfy furniture.
Outdoor Room 5: Amy Jesaitis, original photo on Houzz
If you plan to use a long dining table, allow for enough space to move around when you have a dinner party. Spaces around 12 by 14 feet tend to work well for a setup like this. Once again, I suggest measuring your table and allowing for a minimum of 3 feet around the table for circulation.
A circular space of 12 to 14 feet in diameter works well for fire pits. The circular shape allows for seating completely around the fire pit and has an organic form.Circular outdoor spaces also mesh well with natural landscaping and can easily be juxtaposed with the more rigid form of a home.
A circular space around a fountain is another great idea for a 12-foot-diameter outdoor living room.
Outdoor Room 6: J. Grant Design Studio, original photo on Houzz
Outdoor living rooms can be used year-round when covered and paired with a fireplace. This space, much like an indoor living room, is comfortable at <b>16 by 16 feet</b> and has enough room for multiple seating options and a small table.
Consider creating an outdoor living space with a fountain as a focal point instead of a fireplace. The relaxing sounds of water will create a wonderful atmosphere for you and your guests.
Written by Alex Jewett, Houzz