5 Clever Ways to Make Your Small Outdoor Space Look Larger

Spruce up your small patio, porch, or deck with these decorating tips for creating the illusion of more space.

Not every home comes with an expansive yard or wraparound porch, and outfitting a small outdoor space can be challenging. But with the right furnishing, accents, and lighting, you can make your small porch, patio, or deck appear larger than its square footage. Use these easy decorating ideas for a space that looks deceptively large and comes ready for barbecues, game nights, bonfires, and more.

Porch with couch, curtains, dog
Kim Cornelison

1. Hang Outdoor Curtains

Draw the eye up—and distract from a small footprint—by hanging drapes made with weather-resistant outdoor fabric. Using a fabric like Sunbrella will protect the drapes from the elements and prevent fading from UV rays. Install an outdoor curtain rod, then use the drapes to visually designate an entertaining or conversation zone on your porch or patio.

outdoor patio gardening table pots mirror
Kimberly Gavin

2. Add a Mirror

Hanging a mirror on your home's exterior will reflect sunlight and make your outdoor space feel more open. If your patio or deck is uncovered, shop for a garden mirror made with materials that can withstand the elements, but don't hang it in direct sunlight. To mount this outdoor accent, follow our instructions for hanging a heavy mirror.

lush garden walk with patio and trellis and string lights
Peter Krumhardt

3. Incorporate Tall Planters

Draw eyes upward by adding one or two tall planters filled with flowering annuals, perennials, or succulents. If you prefer greenery, not blooms, plant a small cedar tree, boxwood shrub, tropical plant, or miniature ornamental tree—or, if you aren't an expert gardener, fill a tall planter with branches and faux floral sprays.

corner bench with pillows, blue table, lounger patio area
Kim Cornelison

4. Pick Small-Scale Furniture

Using bulky outdoor furniture can make a small sliver of yard feel even more cramped. Instead, opt for small-scale seating with clean, narrow lines. A bistro set for two provides space for conversation and dining, while still allowing for traffic flow. Here, a chaise-style bench doubles as a sofa for stretching out with a book and seating for two.

patio string lights furnished
Adam Albright

5. Hang String Lights or Lanterns

Illuminate outdoor gatherings and brighten up dark corners with string lights. Decorating with outdoor lights—paper lanterns, battery-powered chandeliers, solar fairy lights, or classic Edison-style string lights—can be a great way to fill vertical space while safely guiding guests to and from your porch or patio.

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