Reader SOS – Patio Furniture Layout

I’m back with another “DIY Playbook, Save our Space”. My plan for #DIYPlaybookSOS is to take a reader’s space and (virtually) offer design tips & tricks on how to improve it.

Here are some old design problems I’ve solved during this series…

DIY Playbook save our space

I’m tackling an outdoor space for today’s Reader SOS. I figured now that it’s May, many of you are getting your outdoor spaces prepped for the summertime. Today’s question is all about choosing the perfect patio furniture layout and I figured this is a topic that would help out anyone with a deck or backyard space! So let’s get to it…

Patio Furniture Layout – Help Me Design This Outdoor SpaceReader SOS- Help designing an outdoor space

We installed an extended deck two summers ago, and the built-in grill last summer… but have been lacking in the design piece! We have a standard table you can see, but have already been trying to figure out what we want to upgrade to! It’s such a big space we are having a hard time dividing it up!  – Lauren

Backyard in need of some design help

Wow, I’m envious of this amazing outdoor space. So much room for activities (name that movie..haha). As you guys know, the balcony on our Chicago condo is miniature and an awkward triangle shape…yet we use the heck out of it and have made the most of the tiny space. How to figure out patio furniture layout in a space

The reader’s outdoor space is amazing…that built-in grill, the huge deck…there is so much potential to make this an outdoor oasis. Let’s dive into the best way to do just that.

Create ZonesCreating zones in an outdoor space

Image via Studio McGee

An outdoor space should be treated like any other room in your house when it comes to decorating. You want to figure out the purpose of the room and how you’ll use it, and then buy furniture and arrange it to match those needs. For this deck, I think the most important thing to do is to create zones. If you just put a dining room table on the massive deck and call it a day, it’s going to look pretty dinky and odd. Instead, I’d suggest creating multiple zones with different purposes on this large rectangular space.

Here’s how I would layout the new space…Patio furniture layout on a deck

Before, the sweet built-in grill was kinda hanging out by itself in the corner. I would suggest moving the dining area closer to the grill. That way that half of the deck is the “dining zone” with a table and the grill. Then, the other area could be a nice defined seating area that is open to the dining for good flow and open conversation.

The Dining Area Figuring out the perfect outdoor furniture layout for your backyard

Because this deck is really big, I think Lauren could opt for an even larger table. I would shy away from getting a dark brown one, or else it will blend in with the deck too much. Instead, I’d opt for a lighter one like this and gray dining chairs to tie in the color of the house and the grill area. While I love a rug to define a space, I don’t think it’s necessary under an outdoor dining table. In fact, I’d avoid it because cleaning it may be a bit of a pain outside. The dining table I chose doesn’t have a hole for an umbrella, but I do love this striped umbrella for some color if you just placed it in a holder and could move it around the deck depending on where you need to block out the sun.

With this dining table, these chairs, this umbrella, and this bench on one side of the table…the space would be transformed!

Casual Seating Area

Creating an outdoor patio space with casual seating

On the other side, I would make a casual seating area with a couch, coffee table, outdoor rug, and 2 chairs. Here I think the rug would be a gamechanger, especially if she went with a large one (probably at least an 8×10)! It would define the space and help to designate that particular zone as the lounge area. Yes, outdoor rugs will get dirty. But buy a cheap one that will last from now until November and you’ll be a-okay! This is a great one that doesn’t break the bank.

Serena and Lily Outdoor Space

Image via Serena & Lily 

I would place the outdoor couch with its back to the siding of the house. You could float it out a few feet from the house or put the back right up to it (hard to tell in photos what would work best). Then place 2 chairs on the sides and the coffee table in front for a cute living room setup!

This outdoor couch, these chairs, this round coffee table, this side table, and this outdoor rug would complete the look.

Personal Touches

Backyard makeover via I Spy DiY

Image via I Spy DIY

With the patio furniture layout all finalized, the finishing touches would take this outdoor space to the next level. Railing planters, lanterns, string lights, outdoor pillows, and plants galore would cozy up this large space. I also love the idea of adding a DIY pallet sign over the outdoor couch area to personalize this deck even more.

Shop the LookCasual Deck makeover - patio furniture layout mood board

Dining Room Table || Dining Bench || Dining Chairs || Umbrella || Outdoor Rug || Couch || Chairs || Coffee Table || Side Table || Planter || String Lights || Railing Planters || Marble Pillow || Lantern || Striped Pillow || Lumbar Pillow

Wow, this post got me realllllly excited for summer. There’s just nothing like a lazy night sitting outside with a cocktail in hand. Hope you’re now inspired to tackle your backyard and deck space!

Submit your Reader SOS

I always love hearing your design dilemmas. If you have a space you want me to tackle next, email [email protected] with the subject line “READER SOS”. Please include as many photos and information as possible. Can’t wait to read…


The Year of Casey

Hey there!

I’m Casey Finn, the voice behind The DIY Playbook. I’m a Chicago gal teaching you how to design, DIY, and maintain your home…by yourself! Learn more about me right here.