Tips for Winter Outdoor Living Space

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Here are 6 essentials that will make your outdoor living space cozy and comfortable this winter

The toasty-warm summer (perhaps even blistering) is behind us. Now is the time to think about getting your outdoor living space ready for winter.

Are you looking forward to those crisper mornings and chillier evenings? Cooler weather is right around the corner! To get ready for the change in the season, start planning and creating that cozy outdoor living space that you can enjoy in the fall and winter.

We have gathered our 6 essential elements for transforming your patio, deck, or courtyard into a winter outdoor living space. Use these tips and you can enjoy the autumn and winter outdoors while staying warm and comfortable.

A gas heater warms up outdoor living space in the fall and winter.
A gas heater warms up outdoor living space in the fall and winter.

Plan Your Outdoor Living Space for Colder Weather

The trick is to think of all the things that make your indoor living spaces intimate and cozy. Then, recreate that same feeling outside with seating, heating and accessories that are appropriate for cold weather.

You may even have many of these items already. If so, all it will take to transform your outdoor living space is a little creativity and inspired action.

So, let’s get the backyard, deck, patio or balcony ready for your next winter happy hour or family campfire. Here’s what you’ll need:

 

Tip 1: Heat

To fully enjoy your outdoor living space this winter, a heat source should be top priority. There are many good options for dependable patio heaters. The best choice for you will depend upon your budget (of course!), the size of the space you want to heat, and the style of heater you prefer.

propane patio heater

A free-standing propane heater can be a convenient and cost-effective option. You have probably seen these at restaurants with outdoor patios. The Mainstays Large Patio Heater heats about 16 square feet of patio or deck space. It is fueled by a standard 20-pound propane tank. The stainless-steel construction is durable and rust proof. Plus, the Mainstays heater has wheels so you can move it to the perfect spot.

a metal firepit makes it easy to enjoy a backyard fire on a cold day.
A wood burning firepit, like this Sunnydaze Crossweave Firepit, is a nice addition to an outdoor living space in winter.

A fire pit is another popular option. The classic fire pits were dug into the ground, campfire style. Some fire pits are framed with bricks or cinder blocks. Today, most backyard or patio fire pits still burn wood, but they are made of metal. These metal fire pits can be easily placed on any deck or patio. One of our favorites is the Sunnydaze Crossweave Firepit with Spark Screen.

 

This firepit table burns clean, convenient propane.
This firepit table burns clean, convenient propane.

A cleaner version of the fire pit is a propane fire pit table. This style combines the heat of a fire pit with the style of the modern outdoor living space. The table configuration offers a handy place to put your mug of hot chocolate. Plus, the cover makes the table more useful when the fire is not burning.

 

Tip 2: Comfortable Seating

While wicker may be great for sweltering summer heat, when the weather turns cooler, it’s all about the comfy cushions, solid construction, and deep seating you can really snuggle into. Select outdoor furniture with cushions that are deeper, thicker, and lusher than your summer set, but don’t stop there.

A warm blanket is perfect for nippy evenings.
A soft, warm blanket is perfect for chilly evenings.

Bring out a large, covered basket and fill it with outdoor blankets and throws. Don’t worry a bit about whether everything matches. There’s something charming and homey about pulling together a mix-and-match offering of handmade quilts, buffalo plaid blankets, and fuzzy fleece throws. You might find that your guests are so comfortable they may not want to leave!

 

Tip 3: Outdoor Living Space Lighting

The sun sets earlier in the winter months, and the days are shorter. While your fire pit may produce some light, you’ll definitely want to plan for other light sources as well.

An overhead string of outdoor bistro lights works wonders to cast soft light below, while smaller white Christmas tree lights create some twinkly magic in trees, shrubs, and even potted plants.

The right lighting makes outdoor living space cozy and comfortable.
The right lighting makes outdoor living space cozy and comfortable.

You will probably want to avoid harsh lighting like spotlights or security lights in your winter outdoor living space. These bright lights tend to be off-putting and uncomfortably bright. Click here to check out the selection of outdoor lights on Amazon. And click here for a fun selection of year-round outdoor lighting options.

 

Tips 4: Outdoor Rugs

If your gathering space is on a deck or patio, consider adding an outdoor rug to warm things up and add a sense of grounding. Today’s outdoor rugs are weather tolerant and come in a wide variety of colors and patterns. This makes it simple to find a rug that blends with your overall outdoor living color and style scheme.

Durable weatherproof rug for outdoor living space.
This durable weatherproof rug is the perfect year-round choice for outdoor living space.

If you live in an area with very harsh weather (either very hot or very cold), you might consider storing your outdoor rugs in a garage or storage shed when the weather is particularly wintery. Here is an assortment of outdoor rugs.

 

Tip 5: Warm Colors

Trade your beachy blues for harvest hues! Just as those summery colors like blues and greens work to cool you off, shades of cranberry, paprika, hunter green, and pumpkin create a warming effect.

A red chair cushion for outdoor seating.
A red chair cushion for is perfect for outdoor seating during autumn and winter.

To save a little on budget, you can buy one set of cushions in a neutral color like brown or gray that you can use all year long, then simply trade out your accessories for more seasonally appropriate hues. View outdoor cushions now.

 

Tip 6: Curtains, Walls, or Screens for your Outdoor Living Space

Adding some type of enclosure to your outdoor living space provides many benefits, both practical and aesthetic. “Enclosure” here means providing various elements to serve as “walls” or “ceiling.” This can be created with plants or manufactured elements such as outdoor curtains and shades.

Patio outdoor curtain is made of thermal-insulated microfiber and can be used all year long.
A patio outdoor curtain made of thermal-insulated microfiber that can be used all year long.

Aesthetically, using outdoor curtains or large plants creates a more room-like experience that feels intimate and warm. They can also shield your gathering space from uncomfortable wind. And if you take it one step farther by providing an overhead pergola with a covering, you can enjoy your space regardless of the weather. A little rain or snow won’t stop you from enjoying your outdoor living space.

 

How to Keep Your Winter Outdoor Living Space Safe

Your backyard living space should be relaxing and cozy, not fraught with worrisome hazards. Make sure you are keeping things safe by following these tips:

  • Never leave a fire unattended — extinguish any live flame before retiring indoors for the night.
  • Unplug your space heaters before ending your gathering.
  • Be careful to place your space heaters away from flammable elements like furniture, plants, and fabric.
  • Avoid using outdoor rugs near open flames. Remember, sparks fly!
  • Place seating a minimum of 3 feet from the edge of your fire pit, or farther if your fire pit is very large. It is easy to move temporary seating such as patio chairs if they are too close for comfort and safety.
  • Check your local building and zoning codes before building a permanent fire pit feature, especially one that is gas powered.

Looking for some festive hot and cold beverages to serve in your outdoor living space? Read Festive Holiday Drinks for Fabulous Celebrations.

southern comfort hot toddy

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