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Outdoor Living Room and Al Fresco Dining Space 2 of 8

ORC: Week Two

Thanks again for joining me for the Spring 2021 One Room Challenge!

If you haven’t already checked out Week One, I suggest doing so now. In that post I reveal my initial design plan and go through all work that needs to be done to complete the space.

Continue to follow along here for weekly blog updates and on Instagram for stories, tutorials, and more!

This week was all about getting as much work done on the patio expansion as possible. In the end we were able to get all the brick laid for it but we still have to add our edging (to keep the bricks from shifting) and install new edge pavers along the east and south side of the patio.

Laying the pavers was pretty backbreaking work so I’m glad that part is done.

Supervisor's on the job again!

The Layout

Now that we’ve got the “floor” under control, let’s talk about the whole layout.

I created a scaled drawing of the patio and played around with the gazebo, dining table, and umbrella placement until I settled on this layout. Doing this is how I concluded that we’d need to expand the patio.

There just wasn’t quite enough room to move between the gazebo and dining space without pushing the table out onto the grass. Even squeezing it all onto the patio, those sitting furthest to the south (right side of the drawing) would have to put their chair on the lawn in order to get in and out of their seat.

The extra two feet of pavers now makes the space manageable.

Now let’s take a look at the furniture layout under the gazebo.

I want the steps from the house to lead directly into the “main entrance” of the gazebo. Now, there obviously isn’t a physical entrance since gazebos are open on all sides but we can create the feel of one using furniture layout and controlling traffic flow.

Putting the back of a sofa where you want traffic to naturally flow (like toward the entrance of a space) creates a wall of sorts. Instead, orienting the sectional like I have creates an invitation to come in and sit down.

Another way we’ll create the illusion of a main entrance is using the drapery. Depending on how far and where they are open, will help us create clear boundaries and subtly steer guests where we want them to go.

Placing the chairs and bar cart in the corners along the east and south sides, blocks other points of possible entry or egress. Why do this? To create “walls” and control traffic flow.

This also let me maximize the amount of usable space. If I worried overmuch about people getting into and out of the space anywhere they want, we’d have no room for furniture!

The Furniture and Decor

Now let’s get to the fun stuff.

Because I want this to be an outdoor living room, I paid particular attention to selecting items that say “living room” more than they say “patio furniture.” They are all made for outdoor living but here’s how they are going to evoke that comfort you typically feel nestled into an indoor living room.


I opted for furniture that fills the space and added pieces you wouldn’t necessarily find outdoors. Case in point? A sofa table and lamps.


Every seat is cushioned and upholstered. You don’t often find a chair in the living room that has an uncushioned seat because guests wouldn’t want to stay long, so I followed that same logic here and opted for only cushioned pieces.


In addition to upholstery, details on the upholstered pieces like tassels and fringe, make the space look more purposefully put together and soften harsh lines.


To make the space even more comfortable I am using throw pillows, garden stools, end tables, and ottomans so that we can get cozy wherever we like. The whole space is then pulled together by a full size rug underfoot.


Lighting is a key element in any space so we are using table lamps, a floor lamp, candles, and overhead lighting in the form of string lights to create ambience in the evening or on overcast days.


Drapery is a given for any living room. Here, when the drapery is open it’s like sitting in front of a window. When it’s closed, it creates upholstered “walls” of a sort creating comfort and coziness.


Lastly, I added a ceiling fan. With this addition, the roof of the gazebo suddenly becomes a ceiling making you feel like you’re indoors.


First, a big shout out to Ballard Designs for being a great company. Most of the furniture is sourced through them. If you don’t know Ballard Designs you have to check them out. I love them because you can get custom furniture at a reasonable price.

They also have collaborations with a few semi-well known designers you may have heard of...Bunny Williams, Miles Redd, Suzanne Kasler?

Yes, that was said tongue-in-cheek. Pieces by famous designers at an affordable price? That’s another reason I love Ballard.

I also purchased cushions for our fire pit benches from one of their sister companies, GrandinRoad. While this isn’t technically part of the patio, I will be doing a little customization to them to spruce up that part of the yard. I’ll be sharing that project in the coming weeks.

For everything else I kept it as economical as possible by shopping at big box stores.

Home Depot

Sam’s Club

Bed, Bath, and Beyond





Check out a short video on IGTV for my thoughts on how to manage your budget.

And one more big shout out- this time to Rocks ‘n’ Roots in Washington Township, MI. They were absolutely fantastic helping us find pavers, ordering samples, giving us professional advice, and just overall being friendly and helpful.

Stay tuned again for Week 3 when we will hopefully (fingers crossed) be sealing the patio and building the gazebo.

In the meantime, don’t forget to check out the featured designers over at the One Room Challenge. I always like to see what Haneen from Haneen’s Haven is cooking up so I’ll be keeping an eye on her to see what kind of awesome color scheme she comes up with.

Once you check them out, come back here and let me know which projects you’ll be watching closely.

And don’t forget to follow me on Instagram and like me on Facebook for all the updates and tutorials I post throughout the week.

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