Adding supersized appeal to pint-size spaces

Flowering plants and vines surround this mini, plant-lovers paradise. Who wouldn’t want to sit back and watch the tomatoes grow. All images by Diane Morey Sitton. Click image for larger view.

When it comes to outdoor spaces, bigger isn’t necessarily better. In fact, a lot can be said for small, intimate alcoves, decks, porches, patios, and balconies that radiate charm and personal style.

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Whether your goal is to transform a tiny space into a conversation hub, secluded retreat, barbeque station or outdoor dining room, remember that the most successful outcomes rely on careful selection and arrangement of furniture, accessories and plants. Cohesion enhances the appeal of small spaces: so does proportion.

A long, narrow rug anchors two chairs and a table on a patio not more than 6 feet wide. A cohesive color theme increases the appeal.

Start with furniture. Make the most of small spaces by selecting furniture that fits the setting. Create the illusion of space with open designs and armless styles. Bar-height bistro sets are space-savers; so are multi-use items such as low, sturdy tables that double as seating. Built-in seating is another space-saver, especially if the benches have storage space underneath. In most cases, mimicking the shape of a deck or patio (round, square, or rectangular) with a table or fire pit of the same shape saves space and creates unity.

Decorate small areas with a purpose in mind. Here, a simple, uncluttered setting lets folks focus on dining. Click image for larger view.

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Next, select accessories. Create privacy, a cozy atmosphere, or a backdrop for furniture by installing lattice panels, curtains or roll-up screens. Establish boundaries with green walls, i.e., vine-covered grids or tall hedges. Use an outdoor rug to define the area or establish a theme. Make the space more comfortable with a shade-sail ceiling. A colorful umbrella blocks the sun and adds resort-like ambience. Beckon friends and family with a fire pit, then sit back and enjoy the flickering flames, the conversation and the companionship. Appeal to your sense of sound with wind chimes or a tabletop fountain. A mini fridge helps reduce treks to the kitchen.

White on white unifies this small stone patio surrounded by azaleas and hydrangeas. Click image for larger view.

Don’t forget plants. Foliage and flowers go a long way in maximizing the appeal of tiny spaces. Fill empty corners with containers, use railings to support planters, place potted plants on stair steps, and suspend hanging baskets from posts. Create a lush rainforest with ferns, crotons, bromeliads and other exotic beauties, or dedicate the mini deck to herbs and edible flowers with mint, basil, thyme, rosemary, nasturtium and miniature roses. Bask in the greenery by adding a chair, a tiny table and a scaled-down harvesting station equipped with clippers, gloves and other supplies.

Vibrant colors and bold patterns transform this small garden room into a fiesta-inspired setting. Click image for larger view.

Go big with color. When it comes to small spaces, color equals cohesion. Coordinate the color of blooms and containers. Unfurl a vibrant umbrella, and then add pillows of the same hue. Paint a rug on the floor, and then paint the railing to match. Tap your inner artist by piecing together a tabletop mosaic, then paint chairs to match. For even more color and cohesion, splash color on birdhouses and other small deck décor or display a garden banner.

Specially designed benches blend with the decking in style and finish, and they take up minimal space on the lower level of this multi-level waterfront deck. The rug-like pattern of the decking helps unify the landing, as well. Click image for larger view.

Pint-size spaces—you bet! When embellished with color, style and purpose, they’ll radiate supersized appeal.

Posted by Diane Morey Sitton
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