How to create a stylish, functional outdoor space this summer

Alison Victoria, host of HGTV’s “Windy City Rehab,” offers tips to add personal style, functionality or privacy to outdoor living spaces. Contributed by Trex Company
Alison Victoria, host of HGTV’s “Windy City Rehab,” offers tips to add personal style, functionality or privacy to outdoor living spaces. Contributed by Trex Company

A well-designed or tricked out outdoor space is perfect for people who want to hang out at home more often — despite relaxed restrictions on socializing. This summer, make your balcony, patio, porch or backyard a safe haven with affordable furniture, accessories and games, and more. Items like a lattice will keep things private while string lights set the mood for a romantic al fresco dinner or festive night. Add seating, a rug, planters and more, and your outdoor space transforms into a grand place of comfort and entertainment. Go outside — on your own property, of course—to eat, practice yoga, watch the sun rise and set, or just enjoy fresh air. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution has several suggestions to help you create the ideal outdoor haven.

» PHOTOS: Couple creates fun, functional outdoor space

Customize your space

A personalized space is as close as your patio, balcony or backyard. Will DuBose, an interior designer, architect and former HGTV personality, offers virtual design services via his eponymous firm, Will DuBose Design. Schedule a consult with DuBose and his team for everything from decorating options and mood-setting color palettes to tips for maximizing spaces of all sizes. The firm also offers consultations on how to decorate using things you may already own, so your ideal outdoor space may be a matter of looking through your closet or garage. Consultations are $150 per hour; strivingdesign.com.

A light touch

Local retailer Sugarboo & Co. offers a matte gold finished stainless-steel torch lantern that has triple functionality as a flashlight, traditional camping lantern and bottle opener. Insert batteries, and you'll be able to shed some light on your favorite outdoor hangout. $34.50. 675 Ponce de Leon Ave. NE, Atlanta. 404-549-7746. 455 Legends Place SE, Atlanta. 770-627-4621. 1000 Northpoint Circle, Alpharetta. 470-719-4812, sugarbooandco.com.

Sit on it

The right seating creates an outdoor oasis with items like a chaise lounge chair, hammock, pouf, two-person bistro set or large party dining table. Stores such as Cost Plus World Market, Crate&Barrel and West Elm have locations throughout metro Atlanta and carry a variety of seating options; the latter also features complimentary design consultations, which is helpful for picking just-the-right pieces within budget. In addition to seating, add pillows for pops of color and comfort. Purchase pillows from Atlanta-based Rochelle Porter, whose certified organic pillows instantly brighten up any space. $49, rochelleporter.comAfricaboutik, a Brooklyn-based company with worldwide shipping options, produces pillows covered in fabric from Burkina Faso and the Ivory Coast. $54, africaboutik.us.

Prop your favorite chair or chaise lounge with pillows covered in fabric from places as far as the Ivory Coast and Burkina Faso. Contributed by Rochelle Porter
Prop your favorite chair or chaise lounge with pillows covered in fabric from places as far as the Ivory Coast and Burkina Faso. Contributed by Rochelle Porter

Hide and chic

For a decorative touch, Alison Victoria, host of HGTV’s “Windy City Rehab,” recommends a lattice, an easy and clever design trick to add personal style and functionality to any outdoor living space. It’s also great for enhancing privacy on patios, porches and balconies so neighbors are not privy to everything you do. To keep things covered, Victoria recommends pergolas for a patio or deck, which creates a space that is functional as well as ideal for relaxing, cooking and dining al fresco. Lattices and pergolas can be DIY projects; check stores like Lowe’s, Wayfair and Trex for a variety of styles. Prices vary.

Alison Victoria, host of HGTV’s “Windy City Rehab,” offers tips to add personal style, functionality or privacy to outdoor living spaces. Contributed by Trex Company
Alison Victoria, host of HGTV’s “Windy City Rehab,” offers tips to add personal style, functionality or privacy to outdoor living spaces. Contributed by Trex Company

Game night

Up the ante with a monogrammed cornhole set from Zazzle. The set features a pair of custom game boards and a total of eight bean bags. Collapsible legs make storing easy. $217, zazzle.com.

Up the ante with a monogrammed cornhole set from Zazzle. Contributed by Cloud9Hopper
Up the ante with a monogrammed cornhole set from Zazzle. Contributed by Cloud9Hopper

String lights

Ease into the evening with a string of outdoor lights, which sets the mood for a romantic dinner, creates a tranquil space or makes a simple space seem more festive. Pottery Barn features a multiuse set of LED string lights that can withstand year-round exposure, like Georgia's hot summers. Available in lengths from 12-48 feet. $59-$169, potterybarn.com.

Cover it

Whether you're walking out on your balcony barefoot, practicing yoga on your patio or planning to cut a rug during your next party, an outdoor rug is an easy, colorful and comfortable addition. Dear Keaton offers a myriad of styles like a Southwestern-inspired Aztec print, multicolored blue Mojave and a vibrant Sahara-themed rug with shades of coral orange and turquoise. A variety of sizes are available. $35-$1,416, dearkeaton.com.

An outdoor rug is an easy, colorful and comfortable addition to balconies, patios and porches. Contributed by Dear Keaton
An outdoor rug is an easy, colorful and comfortable addition to balconies, patios and porches. Contributed by Dear Keaton

Textile time

Should you decide to sleep in the great outdoors at home, purchase a lightweight and comfortable throw from the Afar collection by Bolé Road Textiles. In addition to comfort, these throws brighten up any outdoor space and feel warm and cozy, just like home. boleroadtextiles.com

Green thumb

Get closer to nature and decorate outdoor spaces with a variety of plants and potted shrubs. For a large balcony, invest in tall planters, which is both decorative and provides privacy for people who live in an apartment or condo community.

» RELATED: Indoor gardening: 21 easy-to-care-for plants

Decorate the outdoor space of your dreams. Contributed by Pike Nurseries
Decorate the outdoor space of your dreams. Contributed by Pike Nurseries

Petite spaces can benefit from decorative hanging planters, small box-shaped planters or a vertical garden as high or low as decorators like. Spices, fruits and veggies can also be planted in container gardens, producing favorite foods on your balcony or in the backyard. For a variety of planting options plus DIY tips, visit Pike Nurseries which has several locations throughout metro Atlanta. Planter prices vary; pikenursery.com.