Spruce up your small patio, porch, or deck with these decorating tips that fake more space.

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Not every home comes with an expansive yard or wraparound porch, and outfitting a small backyard for all its many duties can be challenging. But with the right furnishings, accents, and lighting, you can make your small porch, patio, or deck live larger than its square footage. Equip your small yard with these easy decorating ideas for a space that looks deceivingly large and comes ready for barbecues, game nights, bonfires, and more.

Porch with couch, curtains, dog
Credit: 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 drapes made with outdoor-friendly fabric, such as Sunbrella, will protect them from the elements and prevent color fade from UV rays. Install an outdoor curtain rod to hang your drapes, then use the curtains to visually designate an entertaining or conversation zone on your porch or patio.

outdoor patio gardening table pots mirror
Credit: Kimberly Gavin

2. Add a Mirror

Hanging a mirror on your home's exterior will reflect sunlight to 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, and prevent hanging under direct sunlight. To mount the outdoor accent, follow our instructions for hanging a heavy mirror.

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

3. Incorporate Tall Planters

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

corner bench with pillows, blue table, lounger patio area
Credit: 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
Credit: Adam Albright

5. Hang String Lights or Lanterns

Illuminate outdoor gatherings as well as 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 are all fair game—is a great way to fill vertical space while safely guiding guests to and from your porch or patio.

Comments (3)

Better Homes & Gardens Member
July 25, 2021
Please DON’T hang a mirror outside - that’s a good way to spark a fire! However, all of the other ideas are wonderful.
Better Homes & Gardens Member
July 21, 2018
Thanks for sharing such great read. The tips mentioned above are really very helpful in making the outdoor space look amazing and attractive. As we all know that a beautiful furniture or patio can act like the cherry on the cake in such an environment, so choosing the trendy looking chair and desk for outdoors can be a brilliant idea. This can be done by surfing the internet for the websites like Office Furniture Solutions https://www.officesolutionsfl.com/new-furniture/lobby-and-lounge/ or any e-commerce store. One should always try to shop the top quality furniture which can increase the beauty of their yard.
Better Homes & Gardens Member
May 31, 2018
LOVE the mirror idea! We have a lot of deck space... surrounding an above ground pool and a waist high railing all around. Hanging drapes isn't an option, I sure wish it were!