With thoughtful decor and layout, you can make any small patio feel as comfortable, beautiful, and functional as an extra room. Whether you live on the ground floor of an apartment or condo; in a townhouse with a small backyard; or want to add or outfit a small patio to help make a large backyard space feel more cozy and inviting, it takes just a few simple elements to design a winning space.
Check out these small patios in a range of styles, settings, and price points that will show you how to use seating, lighting, and accessories like outdoor rugs and plants to create the small patio of your dreams.
Add Privacy With Bamboo
This snug and cozy apartment patio from Fantastic Frank adds privacy with the addition of a tall bamboo screen that is eco-friendly, affordable, and lends a natural feel that complements the vintage rattan furniture. Some outdoor Edison bulb string lights, a large potted plant with trailing vines, and soft textiles and accessories in shades of white create a simple, cozy setting to enjoy alone or with company, day or night.
Tile the Walls
If your patio is more of a transition from the indoors to the outdoors, a place to stretch and check the weather rather than sit and read a book, there’s no need to add furniture. On this small Palm Springs patio from Jenn Pablo Studio, a pair of large cacti in oversized planters fill the space and allow the decorative tiles on the walls to take center stage, contrasting with the terracotta floor tiles. Even without furniture the space feels finished and complete.
Add a U-Shaped Banquette
This above-ground swimming pool from interior designer Sara Simon of Handsome Salt has a freestanding patio built along one end. A U-shaped banquette upholstered with printed fabric complements the black-and-white color scheme while a stone floor contrasts with the gravel on the ground to define the space.
Paint the Floor
Most Lovely Things turned an unsightly concrete slab patio into an inviting gathering space by painting it in a simple gray-and-white color block pattern. Here the space is styled with matching black chairs around a low slung fire pit and extra throws hung on a black painted peg rail on the shingled side of the house. The tree stump tables add a natural element and a place to pose a drink.
Living on the ground floor of an apartment building has certain disadvantages. But this ground floor apartment from Fantastic Frank makes the most of its location by giving the outdoor patio a simple and affordable makeover that turns it into extra space just outside the door, located on the shared courtyard. Finished with wood flooring to differentiate it from the concrete courtyard, the patio is furnished with a simple table and chairs and decorated with plants and a raised garden bed around the perimeter that adds a little bit of privacy and creates space for growing vegetables and herbs.
Add Contemporary Flair
This small patio from Gaia Inspired has sleek concrete columns and roofing and polished concrete effect tiles, plus modern all-white furniture accented with vibrant throw pillows. The decor create a seamless transition between indoors and outdoors.
Make It Romantic
This 10×12-foot Catskills tiny house from AHG Interiors has a small patio-style deck that creates extra living space when weather allows. A vintage French cafe table and chairs have a minimal feel and look better as they age and develop a patina from facing the elements, creating a timeless and romantic look that blends in perfectly with the ivy-covered walls of the exterior.
Add Tall Planters
A pair of tall, modern white planters flank the metal and glass doors of this carriage house kitchen from deVOL Kitchens, while a gray cobblestone patio creates contrast with the brick exterior and a transition to the converted space. The mix of materials and striking vases creates a focal point that makes the space look good even when empty, and the open space can be furnished with a table and chairs brought in from the inside if the mood for an outdoor meal strikes.
Use Color to Define Zones
Adding a shot of bright color can wake up a traditional backyard patio, with just a few hours of work needed. This small peanut-shaped backyard patio has an organic feel that blends into the lawn and landscaping, providing space for a dining area as well as a fire pit conversation area that is defined by the bright blue armchairs that surround it.
Add a Plunge Pool
This small but luxurious Dunstable, MA, patio from Soake Pools has a rustic stone fireplace and a plunge pool that is finished in the same stone for a cohesive look, contrasted with smooth pavers and a clean-lined concrete surround that modernizes the pool. A small metal outdoor table and chairs provides just enough room for two and doesn’t take up any visual space to keep the area from feeling cramped.
Mary Patton Design furnished this small patio with all-white furniture, giving the black-and-white space a polished feel. But the designer added a note of whimsy with a small dog and a pair of pink flamingo statues that lighten the mood and keep it from feeling too formal, while flowers planted around the periphery of the patio add a bit of color.
Keep It Light and Neutral
A small front patio subs in for a front porch in this Southern California home from Leanne Ford Interiors that is covered with a white lattice that creates shadows on the all-white space outfitted with a small table and chairs.
Use Earth Tones
This Mediterranean-style villa located two hours from Barcelona from Fantastic Frank has dramatic stone arches and walls, dark wood stain on the windows, and brown bentwood and cane seating. White upholstery complements the darker hues to create a soothing earth-toned seating area in one part of the wrap-around patios surrounding the home.
Add Warm Sconce Lighting
On this small St Paul, MN, patio from Martha O’Hara Interiors, a pair of black metal sconces flanks the modern metal and glass doors, adding symmetry and pleasant warm light that makes the outdoor space feel comfortable to use as the light fades or after dark.
Create an Oasis
A small patio can help to structure a large outdoor space, making it feel cozier for smaller gatherings. This small patio beneath the front porch on the front lawn overlooking a stream from Crisp Architects creates a conversation area for small groups and creates an additional zone so groups can split off as desired when there’s a crowd.
Blend It In
A built-in covered patio with a tile roof is located in the corner of this Spanish villa property from Fantastic Frank to take advantage of the spectacular ocean views, furnished with earth tones that blend in with the stone facade, terracotta roof tiles, and dark wood stain on the window trim and shutters.
Keep It Simple
Fantastic Frank added a simple wooden table and matching chairs on this small patio that is lined with flowers and feeds into a lawn surrounded by high living walls.
Rightsize Your Furniture
A large backyard pool can leave you with a smaller patio, but you can make the most of it with appropriately scaled furniture like the table and chairs on this patio from Mary Patton Design.
Add a Roof
This front patio from Fantastic Frank is close to the ground, but otherwise has the feel of an open front porch. A solid roof over the patio shelters it from the elements and adds dimension to the facade of the home.
Hang a Fabric Canopy
This driveway turned patio designed by Ajai Guyot for Emily Henderson Design has a large dining table and chairs that is surrounded by a large fabric canopy with a roof and tied back gauzy curtains that can be closed to create a cocoon for candlelit dinners after dark away from the prying eyes of nosy neighbors. The table is set with black and white tableware and linens, dried flowers, and gold accents, making it an ideal setting for a special event.
Break It Up
This ground floor townhouse pool patio from Fantastic Frank maximizes space by setting up two separate seating areas with a small table and two chairs across from one another that keep the central walkway clear and allow for people to pair off as desired.
This small outdoor patio in a Swedish country house from Fantastic Frank has overgrown pavers and vintage furniture that make it feel lived in and relaxed.
Use Mismatched Vintage Furniture
Mismatched vintage furniture and accessories add charm to this small patio from Fantastic Frank. Choosing vintage furniture is a sustainable choice that you can feel good about. Shopping vintage can also help you find smaller sized furniture that was built for the smaller spaces that were the norm before our supersized age of McMansions with sprawling patios.
Blend Warm and Cold Finishes
This patio from Forge & Bow Dwellings mixes warm and cold finishes and materials, from the wood and metal pergola to the concrete flooring and fire pit to the brick on the exterior walls.
A dramatic angled concrete fireplace defines this small seating area on a brick patio, giving the space its own identity and creating an outdoor focal point.
Add a Pavillion
A Beautiful Mess renovated an abandoned outdoor patio pavilion, adding a small fire pit, a sectional seating area, plenty of plants, string lights, and a pastel pink rug that softens the concrete slab and complements the surrounding greenery.
A small stone patio on the front of this large waterfront home helps to create a cozy conversation area on the sprawling property that is integrated into the natural setting.
Painted Concrete Pavers
Thistlewood Farms created a smallish patio on a large lawn that is made from a gravel base covered with DIY stencil painted paver stones for a more personal look, and decorated with black furniture and accessories, black-and-white patterned textiles, and pink flowers.
DIY a Midcentury Privacy Screen
A Beautiful Mess constructed a DIY midcentury modern-inspired privacy screen between the driveway and the patio, adding landscaping to soften the transition.
Add Colorful Accents
A Beautiful Mess added DIY throw pillows to this built-in backyard patio banquette that complement a colorful rug, while plants and string lights add to the festive decor.
Add a Wood Slat Privacy Screen
This covered outdoor patio is built beneath the home’s second story, providing shade and a dining area that’s conveniently located just off of the main living space. A floor-to-ceiling wood slat privacy screen on one side helps to shield the space from the house next door without compromising light or views, while the other two sides are left open to the backyard.
Paint a Rug
A Beautiful Mess decorated this concrete patio with a DIY painted area rug that anchors the space and adds a bright and modern feel to the backyard. Outdoor furniture, billowing tie-back curtains, bright throw pillows, flowers, and plants tie it all together for a cheerful outdoor living room feel with a view of the wide open backyard.
Add a Roof Canopy
This Los Angeles outdoor space from Blanco Bungalow is comprised of multiple zones, including a small side patio off of the converted garage that is defined by a flat wooden roof canopy to provide shade. The white and neutral space is decorated and furnished like an outdoor living room, with a small sofa, pair of armchairs, area rug, tables, and a decorative ladder leaning against the wall.
Zone It Out
The backyard of this property from Fantastic Frank includes a wood deck enclosed by leafy landscaping as well as a curved path that leads to a round stone paver patio outfitted with dining table and chairs to create a dedicated space for dining.
Use Soft Colors
A pink and gray palette, wood and woven accents, and decorative planters give this outdoor patio from A Beautiful Mess an indoor feel.
Creating small detached patios in a larger yard can help structure the outdoor space, reduce water use needed for a large lawn, and provide more options for gathering outside. This Northern California backyard from Cathie Hong Interiors includes a small patio that mixes wood, concrete, and tile, with an L-shaped banquette that defines the space.
Hang a Ceiling Fan
This Austin, TX, bungalow from Martha O’Hara Interiors includes a covered backyard patio with a flat screen TV and comfortable outdoor armchairs around a small fire pit that creates a place to enjoy the outdoors protected from harsh rays. A ceiling fan helps keep things cool on hot summer days and nights.
Shelter It With a Canopy
A Beautiful Mess added a canopy and draped the support poles with outdoor fabric to soften this small backyard patio to give it an intimate and cozy feel.
Add a Tabletop Fire Pit
This small backyard patio seating area from Urbanology Designs is simply decorated with an outdoor rug, sofa, and coffee table with a small tabletop fire pit.
Dazey Den outfitted this small Palm Springs patio with vintage white wicker and rattan furniture, located the detached patio in the shadow of a large hedge to provide shade in the daytime.
Build It for Two
If you have more front yard than back yard, consider installing a detached patio area in your front yard instead. This small free-standing front patio from Brophy Interiors has stone slabs that match the front walkway, plus a circular fire pit and two lounge chairs, while the nearby small front porch is finished with wood.
Indoor Outdoor Bar Patio
This indoor/outdoor bar from Kern & Co. has shared flooring that runs from inside to outside before shifting gears, helping to define the space.
Is a 10×10 patio too small to be comfortable?
A 10×10 patio should comfortably allow up to four people to relax around a dining table or sit around a fire pit. Size is relative, depending on how much space you are used to living in and how much elbow room you find comfortable. If a 10×10 patio is the best size for your outdoor space, your budget, and the size of your family, choose furniture that is comfortable but compact enough not to overwhelm the space.
What should you put on a small patio?
Your choice of furnishings, decor, and equipment should be adapted to your lifestyle and how you plan to use your patio. You can furnish a small patio with a table and chairs to create an al fresco spot for meals; install a built-in or portable fire pit area with seating for a dedicated fire pit area for roasting marshmallows; or create a conversation area with loveseats or armchairs and a coffee table or side tables to create an all-purpose place to gather and retreat. Decorate your small patio with everything from outdoor rugs to lighting to plants and water features.
How do you design small patios?
The easiest way to design a small patio is to create a space that is adapted to a specific use, like a fire pit conversation area or an outdoor dining space. Whether you are building a back patio for a small yard or a small patio as part of a larger outdoor space, be sure that it works with the style of your home and landscaping. A small patio off of the back door or a ground-floor apartment or home with a small yard will blend in easily if you stick to clean lines and keep it in proportion to the outdoor space you have available. Freestanding small round patios can work well in smaller yards, break up a boxy lot, or be integrated into a larger yard with landscaping for an organic feel.