Small Patio Ideas for Your Outdoor Space

Posted by: on May 23rd, 2012 | 19 Comments
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Style Challenge with Hilary Walker of Hilary Inspired


In our Style Challenge series, we challenge some of our favorite bloggers from around the web to surprise us with their ideas for creating a stylish and functional space using a single Home Depot product as a starting point. 

Hilary Walker of Hilary Inspired takes the challenge this time with some terrific small patio ideas, perfect for anyone who wants to decorate a small outdoor space. She tells us how she created a comfortable and lovely front porch setting starting with the Hampton Bay Canton cafe set.

The results are gorgeous, with a delightful helping of vintage quirk:


Small Space Patio


Second only to wearing sun-dresses and eating ice cream sandwiches, my favorite thing about Spring and Summer is time spent outdoors! For an individual who spends most of her Winter mourning the absence of afternoon walks and flower gardening, the arrival of Spring is big! One of the easiest and most leisurely ways to enjoy the warmer months is to spend it on the patio of your very own home. Of course, the right setting is key. Dingy porches and lack-luster decks are uninspiring and can be as un-motivating as harsh winter weather.


Small front porch with seating area


First of all, let’s get one thing straight right off the bat. Size doesn’t matter! No really… my porch is long and narrow with little room for any more than a couple lounge chairs and a side table. I knew when selecting my patio set that whatever I chose would have to be compact and versatile. My husband and I are currently renters but we didn’t want to compromise on comfort or looks simply because of tight quarters. Lucky for us, the Hampton Bay Canton cafe set was not only charming and unique, but it also solved many of the space problems we were facing. Comprising two lounge chairs and a side table/ bench combo, the set is exactly that – compact, versatile, comfortable, and yes… stylish too!


Colorful accent pillow

Fresh flower arrangement


The second thing to remember is that your outdoor area is as much about the decorative details you use to embellish as the actual furniture itself. Don’t be afraid to consider all the options when decorating! After selecting our patio set, I quickly began gathering inspiration to style it. What better place to do that than Pinterest?

During the conceptualization stages, my mind drifted to bohemian lounges and exotic escapes. In order to achieve this look, I decided to work with vibrant layers of color, pattern, texture, and light. I may not be able to vacation in far-off places, but I can at least create something reminiscent at home!


Cobalt glasses with ruby red vase on front porch side table

Potted plant on small front porch


Some of my favorite hues are ruby red, cobalt blue, and emerald green. I applied all three generously through the use of colored glasses, an outdoor rug, potted greenery, and a fired clay container. For pattern, I chose accent pillows with a whimsical jungle textile. The bright blue and green ikat rug further added to the layer of pattern and softened the hard concrete of the floor with a softer woven texture. Various potted plants and a fresh flower bouquet filled out the remainder of the space nicely. This is another excellent way to add texture and color to a patio, especially when entertaining.



I should also point out that the Canton set can be rearranged into multiple configurations. In this alternate layout, I moved the bench to the side and brought the lounge chairs closer together around the movable accent table.


Side table on front porch


As for the final element of light, I had an especially interesting DIY project in mind – one that was simple, inexpensive, and surprisingly impactful.


Mason jar votive candle holders

Mason jar votive candle holders


Canning jars hung from plant hangers and filled with sand and citronella votive candles… simple as that. The result is a decorative element that provides an interesting display during the day and a warm, inviting ambience throughout the evening. Besides the citronella, which is hugely helpful in warding off pesky mosquitos, the warm glow of the flame makes my new patio space absolutely irresistible after dark! It’s cozy, romantic, and relaxing… just what a girl needs after a long day of work. Now, I needn’t go far to find a quiet outdoor retreat.


Mason jar votive candle holders at night

Mason jar votive candle holders at night


Design is, in many ways, a fusion of the practicalities of life and the creative impetuous of art. This is the type of thing I love to explore and enjoy incorporating into my home. Thank you to The Home Depot for hosting me on The Apron blog! I’ll see you around the web from the cozy perch of new patio!!


Hillary is a social media writer, interior designer and stylist. Read more about her adventures in style, art and design at her blog, Hilary Inspired. She writes about authentic personal style through a collection of thoughts, photographs, and features gathered from her life and the lives of others.

Style Challenge is a series of posts from guest bloggers who aim to bring you fresh inspiration and ideas for your home and garden using a single Home Depot product as a starting point. Hilary received the patio set from The Home Depot, but The Home Depot provided no other compensation. The opinions and ideas Hilary expressed are her own.

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  1. Robin Jetzke says:

    I have been looking for the hooks to hang my mason jar lights on and I can not find them any where. Can somebody please help me. I would like 4 of them if they aren’t too expensive.

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  3. [...] Small Patio Ideas for Your Outdoor Space– the hanging mason jar lanterns are so cute! [...]

  4. [...] weeks ago I completed my own real life patio makeover and shared it on The Home Depot blog.  Swing by and have a look if you’d like to see how I spruced up my space HERE.  The [...]

  5. Kellie says:

    I love candles in the jars. Thanks for sharing!

  6. olivia pimentel says:

    I love it; but my small porch has a large window -how could I work with that?

    • Craig Allen says:


      There are any number of ways to accommodate a large window on a small porch. Look closely and you’ll see there’s a large window on Hillary’s porch. Don’t be afraid to put patio furniture in front of the window, if that’s what works best for your porch.

      Or, make the window a part of the porch environment in much the same way a fireplace fits in the decor of a living room. Frame the window with plants and wall mounted lighting, perhaps.

      -Craig, from The Home Depot

  7. JP says:

    This girl is talented. I love the look and feel of this arrangement! It will work for my antique farmhouse side porch which we just redid.

  8. Beth says:

    The placing of colors is so pretty in this space. I wish I were good at this.

  9. Tonia says:

    I love what Hilary did with her front porch. It’s so inviting.

    • Thanks for your comment, Tonia! We’re so thrilled with how Hilary’s space turned out. She really shows how to complement your patio furniture with colors and accessories to create an inviting space!!

      Thanks, Caroline

  10. Marion says:

    What a wonderful feature, and a lovely and entertaining post by Hilary of Hilary Inspired. She does appear to be inspired. I would love to sit on her front porch and have a cold cup of refreshing tea along with a creative chat about life, art, and creativity. And personally, I think every venue deserves a bit of color….and flowers.

  11. [...] Front porch facelift for The Home Depot [...]

  12. Fr. Parthenios Turner says:

    How inviting! I’d like to ‘pop on over’ and relax in this cozy setting whilst sipping a delicious fusion of deep-green iced mint tea and golden brown turbanado sugar!
    Love to you, Dad

  13. Denise says:

    Hilary you are one talented lady! I love your use of color and I think the fresh flowers and the candles are my favorite. What a fun way to jazz up your porch! Lemonade anyone?

  14. Hilary says:

    Thanks so much for having me!!

  15. [...] To see the complete daytime reveal plus more details about the above DIY project, visit my post on The Apron Blog HERE. [...]