The season to sip drinks al fresco, gather with friends on the balcony, and dine on the patio has officially arrived! But with it comes pressure to get your outdoor space ready for the crew. Before you fret about making tons of new purchases, note that there are a number of indoor items that will look stunning styled on the screened porch or deck, too.
“When choosing furniture or decor pieces that can transition from outdoors to indoors or vice versa, you really have to consider both form and function,” interior designer Louis Duncan-He explained in an email. “Pieces need to be able to withstand the elements and also be relatively adaptable.” Here, Duncan-He and other interior designers share their recommendations for items that do double duty.
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Even if you’ve never spotted a mirror hanging in an outdoor space, don’t knock the idea—this photo from one of Shannon Eddings’ projects proves just how elegant such a piece can look on the porch. “An easy way to make your backyard suddenly feel homey and warm is to put a mirror over a garden table,” Eddings explained in an email. “This is a great way to add an extension of the interior to your outdoor space.” Eddings suggests opting for a console table in particular, as “it’s another great versatile piece that can be used indoors or outdoors.”
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Creating the right ambience is key when entertaining outdoors just as this is the case when hosting in your living room! “I try to prioritize my guests' comfort when setting up my outdoor entertaining space and bringing the indoors out is a great way to do that,” designer Leah Walder said in an email. Fortunately, this can be achieved by adding small yet thoughtful touches. “Try adding a soft throw to an outdoor sectional for chilly evenings and incorporate oversized poufs to be used as an ottoman or extra seating,” Walder added. “Gentle music via a wireless speaker and softly scented soy candles can really help set a welcoming atmosphere as well.”
Pillows are another comforting accent to incorporate outdoors. Suggested Eddings, “Try to keep the colors more organic and earthy so things stay consistent with the natural colors of the yard.”
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“Garden stools look great both indoors and outside,” designer Ariel Okin noted. “I love this blue and white chinoiserie option from Kathy Kuo Home for its versatility.” Garden stools are ideal for occasions where extra seating is needed on a whim, but they also make for useful drink holders or foot rests—simply pick them up and move them as you desire.
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No, table lamps aren’t solely for your dresser top or nightstand! “We think lighting really elevates an outdoor space,” Kristen Nix said in an email. Her suggestion? “These Poldina rechargeable LED lamps help make an outdoor space more intimate and functional,” she added. We love lining them down a table for an outdoor dinner party—they're also super chic and come in fun colors!”
Lanterns also look beautiful displayed indoors or out, Duncan-He noted in an email. To ensure a piece is versatile, “consider choosing more timeless metals or natural materials like black metal or a medium toned wood so that it can be easily used in both spaces,” he said.Continue to 5 of 7 below.
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With only a few months of the year allowing for outdoor entertaining, we love when indoor pieces are interchangeable in outdoor settings,” Sascha Lafleur of West of Main said in an email. “We love using well designed tables, and our Duke End Table is a piece we always take outdoors,” says Lafleur, who has used the piece in living rooms, too. “Its defined curves and modern appearance, finished in aged bronze, complements many interior tones but is also synonymous with an organic exterior settings.”
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There’s no need to purchase tableware solely for outdoor use if your go-to plates and glassware can easily be transported to the patio. “Using table dressings, pottery, china, linens and centerpieces sets the stage for al fresco dining in your outdoor dining room,” designer Patti Hoech explained in an email.
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In one of her projects, Hoech continued her indoor tumbled travertine natural stone flooring continues outside. While not a portable item, flooring is an excellent way to “get that seamless continuity from indoor to out,” she noted.