Small Home Style: Big Style Ideas for a Small Patio

I’m so excited Spring is right around the corner! The weather in Northern California has been amazing the past week. Sunny skies for days. Over weekend, I spend a lot of time outdoors cleaning up our outdoor spaces and working on my small patio. We have two patios in our backyard a large one off our back door, (link to my patio) perfect for entertaining and a small patio off our master bedroom french doors.

While working on cleaning up my patios, I was inspired to share design ideas to maximize a small patio and give it big style. Thursday on the blog, I’m sharing my design plans for my small patio a space that we haven't touched since re-building our home.

Just like small spaces inside can be tricky, outside spaces can also be challenging. However with space planning and selecting furniture that suits the space well, a small patio can easily go from so-so to wow.

Outdoor spaces should feel like an extension of your home. Think comfortable, inviting and lived in, just like your home. Before diving into the design plan for a small patio / deck, decide how you intend to use the space. 

Big Style Ideas for a Small Patio

ONE: Layer in Plants. Just like interiors come alive with plants. Small decks, porches and patios look so much better layered with plants. On a patio bring in various size planters, on a balcony hang plants from the rails. The more plants the merrier. 

TWO: Go Vertical. Use the your wall space and grow vertically! Wall pocket planters are super easy to install and plant in and look amazing in small spaces. 

THREE: Bring in Ambiance. Layer in lighting overhead and all the ground with outdoor string lights and large lanterns placed on the ground. The patio below is lovely and is giving me loads of inspiration for my own small patio! 

image via Popsugar

image via Popsugar

image via Lei Living

image via Lei Living

FOUR: Layer in Pattern & Texture. As I mentioned above treat your outdoor spaces like your indoors. Use rugs, pillows and blankets to make your patio feel cozy and inviting. 

image via: Aeasthetic You

image via: Aeasthetic You

image via Apartment Therapy 

image via Apartment Therapy 

FIVE: Go big with Lounge Furniture. Having a small patio doesn't mean you have to fill it with teeny tiny furniture. Instead use larger lounge furniture to fill a small patio or build a long bench. 

image via Houzz

image via Houzz

image via West Elm 

image via West Elm 

I'm so excited to finally start tackling my small patio this Spring, I put together my favorite Modern picks for small patios. Looking for Modern Planter ideas for your patio, then this post is for you! 

Modern Small Patio Design Picks  

Shop the Look

ONE Standish Club Chair TWO Rattan Chair Set THREE Wood Praiano Sofa  FOUR Morocco Love seat FIVE Wicker Love Seat SIX Grey Loveseat SEVEN Black & White Pillow EIGHT Chevron Pillows NINE Outdoor Pouf TEN Grey Outdoor Pouf TEN Accent Table ELEVEN Black Side Table TWELVE C-Table THIRTEEN Outdoor Pouf FOURTEEN Faceted Side Table FIFTHTEEN Concrete Garden Stool SIXTEEN Diamond Throw Pillow

What are your outdoor plans for Spring? 

My Exterior Home Colors

When I was looking at paint swatches for our exterior back in March of 2013, I knew I wanted to go grey. For all my new friends around, here’s a little backstory on my home. We bought our home eight years ago, and at the time it was literally all one color. Peach. When I say peach, I mean the entire house including trim was painted a horrible shade of peach.

The color peach on a house, just isn’t my jam. Less than a year after buying our home with my help from my Dad, my husband and I painted our home. We went from an all peach house to a medium light shade of grey with slightly blue undertones depending on the light. It was a huge improvement and gave our house a whole new look. 

In the Summer of 2012, our house was badly damaged in a house fire (read more here) We spent the rest of 2012 and half of 2013 rebuilding our home. This time around, I knew that grey was going to be a go again, but this time I wanted to go darker and deeper, but I wasn’t 100% sold.

Before deciding on our paint color, we bought three paint sample in three colors: light, medium and med-dark grey. First we painted two different sections of our house with the paint to get a good idea how on the colors looked on our siding, in the front of our house we have both Hardie Plank Siding and Hardie Staggered Shingle Siding. 

We looked at the paint colors at various times of the day. Seeing how the color looking in the morning, during full sun and at night, give us a better idea of what color we would like best. It's amazing how different exterior paint can look depending on the time of day. 

Paint Coors below: Top Color - Elephant Skin: Behr Paint, Classic Sliver: Behr and Pier: Behr. After looking at the paint colors, I was most drawn to the darker grey color Pier, its such a pretty color that goes from medium grey to deeper moody grey depending on the time of day and weather. 

Choosing our front door color was a much harder task. I kept going back and forth between aqua and chartreuse. I loved how the color chartreuse looked against our house color. However, I was scared of the color.

Scared it could go crazy wrong and look awful. Our old door was painted a safe red color, don’t get me wrong I love red doors...but knew the color was no longer ‘us.’ Below is our home before our front door was painted. 

After going back and forth between aqua and chartreuse, I knew Antiquity from Sherwin Williams was The It color. I love how pretty the color looked with with the siding of our house. Plus I got the thumbs up for my husband, he loved the color too. When I told my sister our pick, she hated the color! She seriously thought we were crazy LOL. 

FYI, my sister now loves our front door color! Quick reminder go with your gut even it if it seems scary + doors are always easy to repaint! 

My Exterior Home Colors

Exterior Paint Colors: House Painted Pier - by Behr, Outdoor Planters Intellectual Grey - by Behr, Door Color Painted Antiquity by Sherwin Williams, Trim Painted Ultra White - by Sherwin Williams. 

Tips on Selecting Exterior Paint Colors

  • Drive around your neighborhood and look at houses that are similar in style to yours and take note of the colors that catch your eye.
  • Create a Pinterest Board and pin exterior paint color combinations to help land on what's most pleasing to your eyes.
  • Visit the Paint Selection at your local hardware store / or paint store and look through the exterior brochures. They often have a great selection of color ideas
  • When looking at lighter paint shades, go a smidge darker - light colors will fade out in bright sunlight 
  • Buy paint samples, its much better to spend $20 on paint samples verses the cost of repainting your entire house if the color isn't right 
  • When testing out paint color swatches on your home, put swatches in a few spots to how the color looks depending the sun and shade the area gets 

Tell me friends, what color is your front door and house? Are they colors you choose inheritaed with your house or colors you choose? 

Book Review: She Sheds a Room of Your Own + Book Giveaway

Calling all She Shed lovers, you're going to love the new book She Sheds: A Room of Your Home from Erika Kotite. Have you spent hours on Pinterest looking at She Sheds and dreaming up ideas for building a shed or repurposing an old shed for your own creative space? Trust me when I say, this book is written for you. The moment you cast your eyes on the pretty hardcover book, you’ll be drawn to explore all the inspiring ideas for creating your own she shed. 

Erika’s book is packed with information on helping you define your ‘She Shed Style’ and how to plan out your She Shed. The book is over 170 pages of inspiring She Shed ideas and conversations with the women who decided to design their own unique space 

I love that Erika showcases how backyard She Sheds can be anything you want; from an artist's retreat, or a writers studio, to a gardening shed. 

I felt so inspired reading about how each owner was inspired to repurpose an existing shed or build a shed for a creative space they can call their own. I’ve had my backyard She Shed for almost a year and a half and am inspired to create each time I walk through the door. You can read more about my Cottage Studio (She Shed) here

Out of all the lovely Sheds showcased in the book, my favorites are Mary Lou’s potting shed (pg 26) tucked into her wooded lot. I also love the Little Red Shed (pg 162) the pretty cottage is surrounded by large succulents and has a bougainvillea vine growing up the side. It’s seriously giving me garden envy and inspiring me to get a vine growing up the side of my cottage studio ASAP.

Interview with Erika Kotite, author of She Sheds A Room of Your Own 

I was lucky enough to ask Erika a few questions about her inspiration for writing She Sheds: A Room of Your Own. Erika is a magazine editor, book developer and former editor of Romantic Homes and Victorian Homes magazine and lover of old homes. Along with her husband has restored several historic homes including a Los Angeles 1920’s Tudor.

  • What inspired you to write a book about She Sheds?

As the editor of Romantic Homes and Victorian Homes some years ago I was always captivated by outbuildings. There was something so cool about a little mini structure near a house, used for tools or gardening pots or whatever. Then I started hearing about these self-same structures turned into women's spaces! The light turned on. I saw the beautiful possibilities and loved the idea of us women finding sanctuary in our own back yards. My publisher approached me about authoring a book on the subject and I jumped. It was going to be mostly inspirational but I insisted on including a chapter on building one myself. You have to mix inspiration with practical to give the best value; I'm so glad I went through the process myself.

  • I know you loved all the sheds featured in your book for various reasons, what was your favorite and why?

I love Dinah Lundbeck's shed (p. 82) for its aesthetic and for the way Dinah uses it. That interior with its soft minty walls just thrills me every time I look at it (and I've looked at it a LOT). Dinah filled her she shed with family photos and sometimes she simply "lies on the day bed and communes quietly with family members, both living and gone." I must also put a plug in for the one my sister-in-law Karin and I built (p. 124). We worked really hard and were so pleased with the final result. I lost my brother Garwood very young about 3 years ago and so building this she shed for his wife and putting in some of his old antique bottles on one of the shelves, was very special

  • What are your Top Tips for planning out a creative getaway
  1. Start a Pinterest board to gather ideas for your shed before you start.
  2. Make sure you have enough space in your back yard for a she shed. Think about how you will integrate your pretty shed with the landscaping as a whole. Done right, these little structures really enhance the yard.
  3. DON'T SKIMP ON WINDOWS; if you buy a kit shed without windows (or icky ones), start looking for good ones on craigslist or haunt your local Habitat for Humanity ReStore.
  4. Design the furnishings that will support what you plan to do in your she shed. Writing? A sturdy desk top with comfortable chair and good lighting. Art? Plenty of open space, light walls and storage containers. Gardening? A deep work surface for pots, tools and plants
  • Why do you think more women are creating backyard retreats vs a home office?

Being inside your house means being accessible (to some extent) to others, no matter what. Especially if you have small children. That's not a bad thing at all; the she shed simply moves one small, inner part of your life a bit farther away. A detached dwelling has the sense of complete ownership and privacy. Its purpose is to serve only you, when you need it. You decide how it looks, where everything goes and whether or not to clean up at the end of the day. These are very compelling reasons that women are deciding to build she sheds for themselves. As one owner put it, "I can't tell you the value of it - it expanded my capacity to think, create and breathe - and that seeped into all other aspects of my life. It's a very special feeling."

Thank you Erika for taking the time to share your thoughts on She Sheds. Guys, this is a fantastic book and truly inspiring! Erika was also kind-of enough to offer my readers a copy of the book, not one but two copies of She Sheds A Room of Your Own is up for grabs! One book for you and one book for a friend! The book is available now on Amazon and Barnes and Nobles. 

Question: What is your She Shed style and how would you use your space? 

Giveaway Details

You all know how much I LOVE Instagram, its seriously my favorite on my phone next to Word Worm lol. That's why I'm hosting my first ever Instagram Giveaway! Below are the deets to participate in the Giveaway.

She Sheds A Room of Your Own: Giving away Two Books, One for you & One for a Friend! 

  • Follow @ChicLittleHouse on Instagram
  • Follow @SheSheds_TheBook on Instagram
  • Hop over to my Instagram Feed and like the photo below - Photo Goes Live 8:30 am PST
  • In the comments write She Shed Book, then tag a friend you want to win a copy of the book! Have a friend repeat the steps above for an additional entry! 
  • This Giveaway will run on Instagram Friday 2/24/17 8:30 am PST to Friday March 3/3/17 Midnight PST. The winner will be chosen at random, I will direct message the winner(s) on Sunday 3/5/17. In order to enter the giveaway, your profile must be public for the duration of the contest. You must live in the US to enter. For more entry details, hop over to my Instagram @ChicLittleHouse