34 Outdoor Living Room Ideas for Cozy Entertaining Spaces

By Interior Designer TRACY SVENDEN | Published February 06, 2024 |

Are you looking to create a cozy outdoor space steps away from your back door, complete with comfortable seating, ambient lighting, and a tranquil ambiance? Here, you’ll find design tips to turn your backyard area into an extension of your living space, allowing you to enjoy the great outdoors in style and comfort.

I’ve compiled stylish outdoor living room ideas to transform your backyard into a true oasis. Whether you have a spacious yard or a small patio, many options exist – from modern and sleek designs to rustic and cozy setups.

Discover how to create the perfect outdoor living room by incorporating weather-resistant furniture, decorative accents, and practical storage solutions. Whether you’re looking to entertain friends and family or seeking a peaceful retreat, these ideas will inspire you to make the most of your outdoor space. Feature image courtesy of Brooke Wagner Design.

Outdoor Living Room Areas

Outdoor Living Area with Bold Accents | Jeremiah Brent/Nake Berkus Design
Image courtesy of Architectural Digest

The Benefits of Creating an Outdoor Living Room

The first step in transforming your backyard into a stylish outdoor living area is understanding the benefits that come with it. An outdoor living room allows you to expand your living space and enjoy the beauty of nature at the same time. It provides a peaceful retreat where you can relax, unwind, and escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

An outdoor living room provides the perfect space for entertaining guests. Whether hosting a dinner party or having a casual gathering, your backyard can become the ultimate entertainment area. With the proper setup, you’ll be able to impress your friends and family with a stylish and comfortable outdoor space.

Here are a few design elements of an outdoor living room:

1. Choose the Perfect Location

When it comes to creating an outdoor living room, location is key. You want to choose a spot in your backyard that is both functional and aesthetically pleasing. Consider sun exposure, privacy, and proximity to your indoor living space.

How to Design Beautiful Backyard Spaces

Beautifully Designed Courtyard Seating Area
Image courtesy of Pottery Barn

2. Asses the Layout of Your Backyard

Start by assessing the layout of your backyard and identifying areas that have the potential for an outdoor living room. Look for spots with natural shade, or add a pergola or umbrella to create shade. 

You’ll also want to consider the view from your outdoor space. Position your seating area to take advantage of the best views your backyard offers.

Assessing the Layout of Your Backyard

Assessing the Layout
Image courtesy of Mindy Gayer Design

3. Choose a Color Scheme by Taking a Cue from Your Interiors

Choosing a color scheme for your outdoor living room similar to your indoor space can create a cohesive and unified design. By incorporating similar colors and patterns, you can create a seamless transition between your indoor and outdoor areas, making your outdoor space feel like an extension of your home. Additionally, by choosing a color scheme that complements your indoor decor, you can create a sense of continuity and flow throughout your indoor and outdoor areas.

Choosing a Color Scheme for Backyard Areas

Outdoor Living Room Ideas & Color Schemes
Image courtesy of Schafer Buccellato Architects

4. Create a Design with Privacy in Mind

Depending on the layout of your property, you may want to add privacy or landscaping elements to create a sense of seclusion in your outdoor living room. One of the simplest ways is to add tall planters with foliage or install a trellis covered with vines or climbing plants. 

Another option is to install a fence or privacy screen made of wood or bamboo. You can also create a wall of curtains or drapes to add a soft texture and create a feeling of intimacy. 

Privacy in Outdoor Spaces

Country Kitchens with Round Pedestal Farmhouse Tables
Image courtesy of Amber Interiors

5. Ensure You Have Seamless Access From Indoor Spaces

Consider the proximity of your outdoor living room to your indoor living space. Ideally, you want your outdoor space to be easily accessible from your home. This will encourage you to use it more frequently and make it a seamless extension of your indoor living area. Create a clear pathway from your back door to your outdoor living room to enhance the flow between the spaces.

Creating a Seamless Transition in Outdoor Areas

Creating a Seamless Transition
Image courtesy of Brooke Wagner Design

6. Choose Stylish and Functional Outdoor Furniture

Once you’ve chosen the perfect location for your outdoor living room, it’s time to start thinking about furniture and decor. The key is to select stylish and functional pieces with outdoor cushions, as the space must withstand the elements while providing a comfortable and inviting ambiance.

7. Opt for Weather Resistant Materials

Choose weather-resistant materials such as teak, aluminum, or synthetic wicker. These materials are durable and can withstand sun, rain, and wind exposure. Look for seating options that are comfortable and supportive, such as deep cushions or ergonomic designs.

Stylish & Water-Resistant Outdoor Furniture

Eclectic-Style Outdoor Area | Scott Shrader Design
Image courtesy of Veranda Magazine

8. Incorporate Decorative Accents

Incorporate decorative accents and accessories to add style and personality to your outdoor living room. Add throw pillows, rugs, wall art, floral arrangements, greenery, and lanterns. These small touches can make a big difference in the overall look and feel of your outdoor space. 

9. Provide Adequate Storage

In addition to furniture and decor, storage is essential for your outdoor living room. Look for pieces that double as storage, such as ottomans with hidden compartments or coffee tables with built-in storage. This will allow you to keep your outdoor space organized and clutter-free.

Outdoor Seating Area with Decorative Accessories

Thompson + Hanson Landscape Architecture
Image courtesy of LuxeSource

10. Layer in Lighting

One of the most essential elements of an outdoor living room is lighting. The proper lighting can create a warm and inviting ambiance, making your outdoor space feel like an extension of your indoor living area. There are several lighting options to consider, depending on the style and mood you want to achieve.

Start by considering the overall lighting scheme for your outdoor living room. You’ll want a combination of ambient, task, and accent lighting to create a layered and dynamic space. 

Ambient lighting provides overall illumination and can be achieved through overhead, string, or lanterns. Task lighting is focused lighting that allows you to perform specific activities, such as reading or cooking. Accent lighting highlights specific features or areas in your outdoor space, such as a water feature or a focal point.

Outdoor Lighting Ideas

Layer in Lighting
Image courtesy of Architectural Digest

11. Add Candles and Lanterns

Consider incorporating candles or lanterns into your outdoor living room for a cozy and intimate ambiance. These soft and flickering lights create a romantic and relaxed atmosphere. Alternatively, you can use fairy lights or string lights to add a touch of magic and whimsy to your outdoor space.


Use Candles and Lanterns

Jeremiah Brent Design
Image courtesy of Jeremiah Brent

12. Incorporate Natural Elements & Landscaping

To transform your backyard into a stylish outdoor living room, consider incorporating natural elements, wood tones, and landscaping into your design. The proper landscaping can enhance the overall aesthetic and create a sense of harmony and tranquility in your outdoor space.

Start by assessing the existing landscape in your backyard. Look for ways to enhance and highlight the natural features, such as trees, container gardens, shrubs, raised gardens, or flower beds. 

13. Add Hardscape Elements

In addition to plants, consider adding hardscape elements to your outdoor living room. This can include features such as a paved patio, a stone pathway, or a pergola. These elements add visual interest and create functional spaces within your outdoor area.

Outdoor Living Room Ideas

Outdoor Living Room Ideas
Image courtesy of Jennifer Wundrow Design

14. Consider Outdoor Entertainment Options

Installing a TV in an outdoor living room can be a great addition to your entertainment setup. It lets you enjoy your favorite shows or movies while enjoying the fresh air and beautiful outdoor surroundings. 

Additionally, it can be a great way to entertain guests, especially during sporting events or movie nights. However, it’s important to choose a TV that is specifically designed for outdoor use and is weather-resistant to prevent damage from exposure to the elements. An outdoor audio system is another excellent way to set the mood and provide background music for outdoor gatherings. 

Outside TV

Wendy Black Rodgers Design
Image courtesy of LuxeSource

15. Choose a Design Style

Choosing a design style for your outdoor areas creates a cohesive and visually appealing design. For my own outdoor spaces, especially when I have a clear view of the outside from the interior, I like to choose furniture, fabrics, and decor that reflect the style and aesthetic found in the home. This makes it an easy visual transition between spaces. 

For example, a modern design may include sleek and minimalist furniture, while a bohemian style may include colorful and eclectic pieces. Choosing a design style can make your outdoor living room feel intentional and well-planned.

Choose a Design Style

Choose a Design Style | Julie Soefer Photography