Five Outdoor Design Trends Interior Designers Are Seeing This Summer

Summer has arrived and if your outdoor space needs a bit of an upgrade, now is a better time than ever to make some changes; after all, spending time outdoors is the safest way to socialize. Improving your backyard or patio is a worthwhile investment that’s easy to enjoy. Looking for a bit of inspiration or new ideas to beautify your outdoor space? Whether you are trying to find new furniture or planning to do more intensive work, here are five outdoor trends interior designers are seeing this summer.

blue and pink floral print

Use a bold floral print to make a splash in your outdoor setting this summer. (YanaDesign / Shutterstock)

Floral Prints

Floral prints have been a major fashion trend in recent years, and according to Atlanta-based interior designer Kevin Francis O’Gara, this look has also transitioned to outdoor spaces: “This summer floral prints are going to be big for outdoor decor, especially layers of different patterns for a maximalist look. Outdoor umbrellas with a fringe trim are very popular now, which add a fun decorative detail to an otherwise functional piece,” he says.

outdoor cabana and pool

No travel plans? Try aiming for a resort-like aesthetic with your outdoor space. (Eak021 / Shutterstock)

Resort Style Design

The pandemic put a damper on many travel plans, so homeowners have been making their backyards into resort-like spaces. After all, if you can’t go to the resort, build your own: “Time-tested hospitality styling cues like large planters, tall hedges, and outdoor curtains are on the rise. So garden owners have an extra element of privacy and can create a sense of seclusion. Segregating space smartly can provide that wow factor to a garden and create that relaxing resort-like atmosphere that we’ve all been craving” says Natalia Miyar of Natalia Miyar Atelier

Use bi-folding doors for a seamless indoor-outdoor experience. (PhotoMavenStock / Shutterstock)

Folding Glass Doors

Those heavy (and often dangerous) sliding glass doors are sliding out of style these days with more homeowners choosing folding glass doors instead. “More homes are incorporating accordion doors and intelligent solutions that allow you to pull back and unveil an outside space, beautifully blending interior and exterior areas. Commonly seen more on the West Coast, they’ve started to appear on the East Coast in a varying degree of the trend— for example, double doors that open and enable a seamless transition, merging spaces instantaneously,” says Andrew Bowen, Head of Staging at ASH Staging

hanging day bed tropical home

The use of natural or luxury materials can enhance an outdoor living area.

Luxurious Materials 

While outdoor spaces used to be an afterthought and almost thought of as a separate entity—exterior layouts are starting to get the same white-glove treatment as indoor spaces with a selection of upholstery following suit, explains Bowen: “Luxurious fabrics are becoming increasingly popular in seating for dining layouts, with more cushion options prioritizing neutrality, resulting in classic and sophisticated settings.”

He notes that lighter colors generally don’t wear well, so it’s a better choice to go with off-white cream shades, stones, and grays.

Additionally, homeowners are looking for luxury beyond fabrics, purchasing more high-end outdoor furniture pieces than in previous years. “Gone are the plastics and weary powder-coated metal. These are replaced with sumptuous and luxurious materials such as copper and marble tables, typically previously only seen in prized interior spaces. Copper or marble outside adds to a sense of effortless luxury and vibrancy while providing a perfect perch for a book or cocktail for relaxing or entertaining on balmy summer evenings,” says Miyar.

modern outdoor space

For many, outdoor spaces are now the defacto social area. (JR-stock / Shutterstock)

Bringing The Inside Outdoors

It’s not just about giving the same attention to indoor spaces as outdoor spaces; one major trend is incorporating elements from indoor spaces outside: “Outdoor spaces have now become the main gathering spot for social events. Since the pandemic, our clients have been wanting to revamp their backyards, and we’ve been creating full living room and dining room spaces outside,” Hollis LaPlante of Hollis Jordyn Design tells me.

Even televisions have become essential pieces outdoors. HGTV’s Wilfredo Emanuel tells me, “Creating spaces for people to gather around an outdoor fireplace with a large, wall-mounted tv hung above. It’s about creating welcoming spaces outdoors where people will want to gather and enjoy each other’s company.”

Laplante also likes to decorate outdoor spaces with lighting fixtures that resemble indoor pieces. “We also love decorating an outdoor space with rattan chandeliers which are weather-resistant and add a great textural element.” Just make sure that the fixtures are safe to use outdoors before installing.

A rug completes the overall look: “Our must-have pieces for creating a chic outdoor living room are vibrant outdoor rugs, deep cozy couches, eclectic accent chairs, and colorful textures and patterns to tie the design and bring that wow factor,” says Laplante.