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7 patio trends that are here to stay for the summer

Outdoors is the new indoors.

Upscale modern patio furniture with a coffee table, plants, throw pillows, and a blanket next to a pool Credit: Getty Images / stevecoleimages

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We've been longing for this moment all year. It's finally time to prop your feet up with a cold drink in hand and take in the smells of the season’s first barbecue wafting through the air. Now that warmer temperatures are in sight, get ready to embrace your patio space with open arms.

A big home design trend for this year is about incorporating elements of Mother Nature—like sisal rugs, grasscloth wallpaper, and rattan furniture—into the décor inside your living room, office, or den.

Conversely, designers, and DIYers are also bringing styles and pieces traditionally used inside the home outdoors onto patios and porches to create comfortable, inviting spaces. “[Outdoor spaces] are becoming a real extension of your indoor space,” says Melissa Hill, interior designer and co-founder of Hartley and Hill Design.

With summer gatherings and hangouts ahead, the time to update your patio space is now. Here are seven patio trends that are here to stay for summer 2021.

1. Cozy textures

Stylish patio with cozy accents like blankets and pillows
Credit: Getty Images / KatarzynaBialasiewicz

Small accents like outdoor rugs, throws, and pillows can create a cozier space.

Creating a comfortable space that mimics the indoors is amongst the top requests that Hill receives from her clients. Think big comfy couches, soft fabrics, and accessories you would see in your living room.

Outdoor rugs are a no-brainer for creating that homey feel on the patio. Go for a rug that can withstand outdoor elements or can be washed. This soft, neutral rug from Ruggable is water-resistant and can even be thrown in the washer and dryer when it needs to be cleaned.

2. Multipurpose greenery

Two wooden rocking chairs on patio surrounded by plants and flowers
Credit: Getty Images / BbenPhotographer

Beautiful greenery continues to be a go-to accent for the patio area.

In past years, flower gardens have been a go-to for the outdoor space. But this summer, plants like succulents and vines will remain the most popular for the patio.

There’s an abundance of greenery options that can liven up your space, including potted trees, wall-mounted containers for herbs and spices, or ornamental grass—all of which can be mixed and matched around your patio.

If you’ve been looking for an excuse to work on your green thumb, start a vegetable garden on your patio. “Gardens are popping up all over this place—everyone’s wanting their own produce,” Hill notes. Make your spice and produce garden part of your patio décor, along with various heat-tolerant greenery like bamboo trees and succulents.

If you prefer more decorative greenery, try shopping online for your new generation of outdoor plants. Sites like The Sill and Lively Root are great choices for gorgeous plants for your patio space.

3. Sustainable pieces

Left: up close image of the clay planter, Right: planter with plant in it next to a stylish folding chair with a throw pillow
Credit: The Citizenry

Small choices like fair trade pottery make for a more sustainable space.

Sustainable shopping has grown in popularity and continues to be a priority for shoppers. Sustainable patio furniture and décor are becoming more and more accessible, so now's your chance to start curating your outdoor space with this in mind.

Growing your own plants and produce is a great start. Another small step you can take is switching out old lights in your outdoor fixtures for energy-efficient options—or even better, try solar-powered lamps and lighting.

You can also look to environmentally conscious furniture and décor that will last. Fair trade vases and planters are small details you can add throughout the patio. This fair-trade clay planter from The Citizenry is handcrafted by master artisans in Jalisco, Mexico.

When shopping for patio furniture, keep an eye out for recyclable materials like wood (which also happens to be an on-trend accent). Brands like Yardbird and The Homebodies are making eco-conscious furniture and décor more accessible, with items that use some (or even all) recycled materials.

4. Outdoor cooking with a twist

Outdoor kitchen with a pizza oven next to a dining table
Credit: Getty Images / Onfokus

Homemade pizza is a summer staple.

Summertime calls for a whole lot of grilling, and flat-top grills, which function similarly to griddles, are becoming a go-to for summertime grilling.

“They’re not just for a typical grill dinner—it’s for any time,” Hill tells us. From eggs in the morning to burgers at night, flat-top grills should be a summer staple for any foodie.

Outdoor pizza ovens also remain a patio must-have. If you’re willing to splurge on this appliance, this handmade wood-fired grill sold at Wayfair is a top-rated choice. For something more affordable, reviewers love this portable outdoor pizza oven sold at Williams Sonoma.

5. Warmth by the fire

Patio next to a fire pit at dusk
Credit: Getty Images / chandlerphoto

For gatherings with friends and family, a fire pit is the perfect centerpiece on the patio.

Fire pits are a quintessential patio accessory and that won’t change this year. “A simple fire pit is something that everyone is wanting,” Hill says.

They are the ultimate centerpiece to gather around on a summer evening, and they can add a layer of privacy to the patio, creating a cozy nook for entertaining. Plus, when fall rolls around, you’ll still be able to cozy up outside.

This top-rated propane-fueled fire pit features a stylish faux wood tabletop, and it even has an adjustable flame control knob for full control on the fire.

6. Mix and match lighting

Outdoor seating area with people setting the table under string lights
Credit: Getty Images / vgajic

String lights remain an essential accent on patios this summer.

Layering different types of lighting can help to create depth and dimension to any space, whether you’re indoors or outdoors. On a patio or deck, it adds a special ambiance, particularly after dark.

String lights have become a staple on patios, porches, and decks over the last few years, and large versions are still a staple, says Hill. Draping and zig-zagging string lights create a cozy atmosphere while relaxing on the outdoor couches or roasting marshmallows by the fire pit. Customers give these weather-proof outdoor string lights from Wayfair rave reviews.

Additionally, mixing and matching lighting fixtures, like landscape lighting and wall lights, is a great way to create depth in the space. Consider wall-mounted lighting, for example, on surrounding walls or columns to provide ambient lighting throughout.

If you own a pergola, try hanging pendant lights to draw attention to a dinner table or couches surrounding a fire pit.

Having outdoor lighting raises a question on how to power them. There are many solar-powered options, like this top-rated LED solar hanging chandelier.

7. Storage as furniture

Wooden deck box on a patio with blue towels on top
Credit: Sol 72 Outdoor

When it's time to clean up, choose a stylish deck box to keep your patio organized.

Outdoor storage is not an eyesore anymore—rather, use storage containers for essentials like gardening tools, cookware, and towels, as outdoor accents that tie together patio pieces.

For example, bar carts serve as chic space savers and can decoratively display your favorite cocktail glasses, potted plants, or candles. If you’re looking to stow items, then stand-alone cabinets are also simple ways to keep bowls, plates, and other miscellaneous items accessible.

Storage benches and ottomans create discrete storage options and are stylish, too. Try this top-rated wood deck box from Wayfair for organizational bliss.

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