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5 ways to make your small outdoor space look deceptively large

5 ways to make your small outdoor space look deceptively large

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Make your outdoor space feel a little more spacious than it actually is.

It only takes a small amount of outdoor space to enjoy the sun on your face and the breeze in your hair from the privacy of home — but if your outdoor space is petite, you might want to consider incorporating a few of these ideas to help your mini getaway feel a little more spacious than it actually is. These tips can help boost your enjoyment of your outdoor space while fooling everyone into thinking it’s bigger than it is.

1. Use outdoor drapes

Adding drapes (in outdoor fabric) to your small space will draw the eye up and draw attention away from a small footprint. And in addition to expanding the vertical space, outdoor drapes also create a cozy vibe that will make your outdoor space feel even more like a comfortable outdoor addition to your living area. Use a bamboo pole as a curtain rod or purchase an outdoor metal curtain rod to hang your drapes. Look for drapes made with Sunbrella fabric or another hardy, outdoor-friendly material to help protect them from the elements and prevent color fade from UV rays.

2. Hang a mirror

Adding a mirror to your small outdoor space will reflect the light and make the space feel more open. This is a quick and easy way to make your tiny deck, gazebo or patio appear much grander than it actually is! (Hint: This also works inside, should you have a room that you’d like to feel a little more spacious.)

3. Lay out tall planters

Adding one or two tall planters filled with flowering annuals, perennials or succulents will draw the eye up and minimize the small square footage of your outdoor space. Add a small cedar tree, boxwood shrub, tropical plant or miniature ornamental tree if you prefer greenery over blooms. You could also fill a tall planter with branches and faux floral sprays if you don’t have a green thumb.

4. Pick small-scale furniture

Don’t make your small space feel cramped by using outdoor furniture that’s too big. Adding small-scale chairs and a table, like a bistro set, will not only increase space for traffic flow but will make your space feel larger, too.

5. Hang string lights or lanterns

A string of outdoor lights will illuminate and visually open up your outdoor gatherings as well as brighten up those dark corners. Decorating with outdoor lights is a great way to fill the vertical space and draw the eye upward. Add dimension and style with any of these hanging light ideas: paper lanterns, decorative metal lanterns, outdoor battery-powered chandeliers or mason jars filled with tea lights and sand.

(Better Homes and Gardens is a magazine and website devoted to ideas and improvement projects for your home and garden, plus recipes and entertaining ideas. Online at

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