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Pretty Covered Patios

These design solutions take covered patios from practical to pretty.

Make it personal.

Just because a space is a covered patio doesn’t mean it shouldn’t reflect your personality-driven decorating decisions. That includes unique pops of color—here, eclectic and vibrant dots as well as more textural light fixtures.


Plan for built-ins.

If budget, time and construction allow, building in covered patio items can go a long way toward making a space more livable and convenient. Here, built-in ceiling heaters, recessed lights and a ceiling fan improve practicality.


Add tech.

Technology has kept up as more and more people embrace near year-round livability with their covered patio spaces. That includes options to increase the hours outside with outdoor-safe wireless speakers and televisions too.


Follow design how-tos.

Use the same design rules on an outdoor covered patio as you would in an indoor space: Pick up on similar materials and colors to establish a palette for your space—here, metal accents the deep tone of the wicker furniture. Scale the furniture to fit the proportions of the room, and add accents—here, striped pillows—for unexpected pops.


Make whimsy work.

Your house—whether by design or by accident—may reflect architectural quirks that seem to present roadblocks. Here, the covered patio space flows into an open patio as well as one with a rooflike, windowed upper boundary. The homeowners used those transitions as a natural way to create different outdoor zones.


Use furniture as an accent.

The aesthetic of your furniture choices can do much to make your covered patio a welcoming, house-perfect spot. Here, rustic rules, with hefty stones that make up half walls and the floor of this textural space. Vintage metal frames —with all their nicks and wear and tear on view—combine with galvanized-metal planter boxes and a table to pick up on the steely gray stripes in the understated fabric.


Carve out a retreat.

Deft space planning can help covered patios feel connected to a home. Here, natural curves in the home’s architecture provide a covered spot for a restful gathering of chairs and a table. Full-height windows connect interior to exterior, too. As the stonework moves from house to yard, its formality lessens.

Let your covered patio stand alone.

Who says a covered patio has to be connected to a home? If the structure works elsewhere in your yard and helps you enjoy amenities during more hours of the day (and night), then adapt it accordingly. Here, a tile-roof space offers shelter next to an outdoor fireplace.

Increase seating.

One of the ways to get more out of your covered patio is to maximize its flexibility. That includes seating to adapt to crowds big and small. Here, a narrow bench against a half wall can be used as a landing spot for guests or for extra food or drink items. For even more options, convert some of the bench spaces to storage, too.

Pay attention to details.

Especially in a large covered patio space, details matter and can help create a space that’s welcoming and put-together. That includes looking to walls and ceilings. Here, an artful composition of a mirror and relief sculptures helps to dress up what would otherwise be a big, blank wall. Ceiling fans and an ironwork chandelier tie into the furniture and design aesthetic, too.

Consider a level patio and yard.

Many covered patios are elevated above the plane of the yard, which establishes a visual separation between the house and the landscape. This casual but elegant space creates a more seamless transition, thanks to a flush connection between patio floor and lawn. Pretty details on the furniture’s cushions pick up on the muted blue-gray trim on the home.

Add details to the roofline.

The execution of a covered patio’s roof can do much to enhance its level of intimacy. Here, regular placement of beams—their ends gently carved—offer a soothing visual ceiling to the rustic-leaning spot. If your covered patio is on the same plane as another paved space or the landscape, use oversize planters—here, hammered copper—to create a transition from one zone to the next.

Make room to dine.

If your covered patio is large enough to create multiple zones—dining and seating, for example—make sure to include enough space for traffic to flow from one spot to another. Outdoor rugs can help establish borders, as can placement of furniture—here, a dining table turned lengthwise to allow room to roam on either long side.

Shield the view.

Although most covered patios are mostly open to the landscape—and adjoining yards—options to boost privacy can be a welcome addition. Those alternatives need not be permanent: instead, investigate ideas such as outdoor fabric to create gauzy draperies that diffuse light too.

Connect landscape and home.

Carefully considered details in a covered patio can unify both your yard’s hardscaping and your home’s architectural details. This graceful space extends the curvy rooflines and columns as a tie to the house’s expansive lines, while the dry-stacklike column bases and patio floor repeat hardscape elements found elsewhere. Matching wicker furniture (protected by the space) connects the decor pieces.

Mix up furniture.

The level of protection on a covered patio in large part determines the type of furniture that you can use. For spaces that might receive some moisture, outdoor furniture and fabrics are best. Fortunately, there are many options, the best of which resemble indoor furniture. Slipcovered pieces, too, such as these, can help conquer the increased level of use (and dirt) that often accompanies covered patio spaces.

Screen part of the patio.

Screening a section of a covered patio can help to increase usability, especially during inclement weather. Detailing on this space is minimal but classic, and the screens repeat the window details on the rest of the house.

Add a skylight.

Although traditional covered patios have a full, closed ceiling, skylights can be a pretty way to draw natural light into a space. This modern-leaning covered patio includes extra livable details such a fireplace.

Mix and match textures.

An eclectic collection of materials and accents offers countrylike, flea market-inspired style for this covered patio. It’s a good lesson on how to combine various materials—roll-down shades, fabric window treatments, a wood trellis—for welcoming style.

Add adornments where you can.

Some patios don’t have a huge expanse of wall space—this one, for example, is open on two long sides. In that case, there are fewer opportunities to add decorative accents. Instead, take advantage of the space you do have—here, the ceiling—for unique items. This collection of decorative metal fixtures adds an uncommon accent; the patterning repeats, in a different form, on the upholstered benches.


Make small spaces work.

Although many people envision covered patios as grand, expansive spaces, small areas can provide a just-right nook for relaxing and retreat. Here, a narrow space—tucked into the landscape in a quiet spot—offers enough room for a love seat and side table. A few containers soften the steps.

© Meredith Operations Corporation. All rights reserved. Used with permission.