8 Apartment Patio Ideas That Maximize Outdoor Space

Make the most of your outdoor space by maximizing space and design.

outdoor seating painted striped deck privacy screen basket lights
Photo: John Bessler

If you’re lucky enough to have an apartment with outdoor space, it’s likely not very big. Fortunately, you can make the most of limited space without skimping on style or blowing your budget. To help you create the ideal outdoor sanctuary, we're sharing our best small apartment patio ideas. Whether it’s adding pops of color, choosing smaller furniture, or getting strategic with your plant placement, there are several easy ways to create a welcoming outdoor space, regardless of size.

Make your patio an extension of your apartment (and your square footage) by embracing the bones of the space. For example, if your outdoor space is concrete and industrial, try metal furniture with warm touches and a few small plants. Or, try a vintage rocker and a small side table to fit more of a rustic space. Take inspiration from these small apartment patio ideas and create a space you'll love to lounge in.

01 of 08

Hang String Lights

outdoor patio table and chairs

David Land

Embrace the feel of your apartment patio and choose your furniture or decor pieces accordingly. Here, metal furniture in a smaller size and a corresponding planter work well for an industrial apartment patio, but if your patio is more rustic you may opt for wood or wicker chairs. Imperfections like mismatched brick quickly become part of the charm with some other easy design choices. A simple strand of cafe lights is a budget-friendly way to instantly make your outdoor apartment space look bigger and brighter.

02 of 08

Add Functional Decor

dave and jenny marrs walmart collection woven lanterns
Aaron Menken, Hatch & Maas Collective

To avoid clutter on a small apartment patio, only shop for decor that is functional. Here, woven lanterns act as a decor statement, but also provide light for evening gatherings. Using electric candles at night imbues the space with warm ambience and functional lighting so you can see your guests. Woven items like this are an ideal choice for small spaces because the airy nature of the weave allows for more visual space.

03 of 08

Embrace Color

outdoor bench table and chair

Dana Gallagher

When decorating a small outdoor patio, don't shy away from colorful accents. Whites and neutrals definitely have a place when decorating a small area (the white shaker siding makes this small space look larger), but adding color will turn even the smallest of patios into a cozy retreat. Consider adding plants or potted flowers in bright colors, too. If you don't have room for a full plant, a big clipping from a favorite monstera (faux leaves work well too) placed in a pretty vase adds the same effect without taking up too much space.

04 of 08

Mix Different Styles of Furniture

outdoor seating painted striped deck privacy screen basket lights
John Bessler

Don't be afraid to fill your apartment patio with different furniture styles for an fun look that works well in a smaller space. Mismatched furniture paired with an eclectic mix of pillows creates a cool, homey feel that blends together seamlessly. Bolder design choices—like painted black and white stripes on the floor, or a patterned area rug— often work well in a small spot because they don't overwhelm the space.

05 of 08

Try a Living Wall

backyard stone patio seating
Peter Krumhardt

If you're able to create one, a living wall is an instant way to add depth to a small outdoor patio. Ferns, succulents, vines, or air plants work well as they grow upward. Adding plants to a brick wall warms up the space and can make it look even bigger. If you have a concrete floor, greenery and flowers will give an earthy feel and make your patio or porch feel homey rather than industrial.

06 of 08

Use Smaller Furniture

small apartment patio idea

Embrace smaller furniture and opt for thoughtful accents when decorating a small patio. There's no need to crowd the space with a big outdoor table or sectional. A cozy rocker and a side table that can be folded up when you don't need it is really all you need. Add thoughtful details like a hanging plant and comfy outdoor pillow to warm up the space without causing clutter.

07 of 08

Try Unexpected Furniture

small patio lounge chair books moscow mule
Adam Albright

Sometimes a smaller outdoor space calls for furniture that can be easily rearranged or stored, so stylish beach furniture is the ideal solution for extra small apartment patios. Easily unfold a chair or two and pull out a side table when it's time to sit outdoors and read or have a drink outside with friends, then flatten and store them in your coat closet while they're not in use. This idea is especially helpful if you live in a place with snow and prefer to take the furniture inside for the winter. Plus, it's easy and cost effective to switch up the pieces as trends change year to year.

08 of 08

Decorate with Plants

plants on a shelf

Blaine Moats

Add color and life to an small outdoor patio with a few small potted plants. Hanging shelves look understated and low profile on a patio wall, and smaller plants will bring in some greenery without overpowering a space. When choosing the best outdoor plants for your space, keep in mind how much direct sunlight you get; a light wall like this one helps to reflect light for maximum sun and brightness, which also makes a smaller space feel brighter and ultimately bigger.

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