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6 Insider Tips for Styling an Outdoor Kitchen and Dining Room

Save your picnic for the park. These all-weather accessories take patios from simple slabs to spectacular living spaces.

Jennifer Pinto
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Styling an outdoor kitchen or dining room comes with its own challenges. These products make them a breeze.
Styling an outdoor kitchen or dining room comes with its own challenges. These products make them a breeze.

Eating bistecca in the backyard will never replace a trip to Tuscany, but with the right design elements, it can come pretty close.  

“Although every family’s needs are different, people continue to look for ways to live more of their lives outside,” says Michelle Larrabee-Martin of Kolo Collection, an outdoor furniture and accessory store in Atlanta. “Creating a outdoor kitchen and dining ‘room’ is a great way to spend time outdoors and make efficient use of the available area.”

Of course, a great dining space begins with a beautiful outdoor table, plenty of chairs and extra seating and at least some shade, but the magic is really in the details.  Read on for our designer-approved picks for punching up a patio design.  

1. A Hardworking Outdoor Rug

Jolene from Surya
Jolene from Surya

Nothing pulls a room together quite like a great-looking floor covering. The best outdoor rugs do it all: They’re stylish, low maintenance, durable and feel great underfoot. 

Try this: Available in an array of colors and patterns, outdoor rugs from Surya bring indoor elegance to the great outdoors. 

2. A Luxurious Throw

Eco Poly Waterline indoor/outdoor throw from In2green
Eco Poly Waterline indoor/outdoor throw from In2green

Cool nights around the table are more inviting thanks to creature comforts like lightweight-but-cozy throw blankets. When the sun is shining high, drape them on a lounge or sofa for a pop of pattern or color. 

Try this: They’re so soft you’d never guess it, but In2Green makes its Eco indoor/outdoor throws out of recycled plastic bottles. 

3. A Posh Pillow

Gladiator Coral pillow from Elaine Smith
Gladiator Coral pillow from Elaine Smith

A grouping of fashion-forward pillows can brighten up a neutral patio set and provide added comfort for outdoor revelers who linger tableside. 

Try this: Elaine Smith’s durable, washable outdoor pillows take their cues from fashion runways all over the world. 

4. An All-around Great Fan

Fanimation Extraordinaire
Extraordinaire from Fanimation

Especially in warmer climates, a cool breeze is key to enjoying a meal outside. Look for low-profile ceiling fans that provide even airflow throughout the space.  

Try this: Fanimation’s retro-inspired Extrordinaire damp-rated fan trades in rotating blades for a design in which the entire fan rotates around its base. 

5. Lighting to Set the Mood

Soho portable lamp from Marset
Soho portable lamp from Marset

Lighting will dress up an outdoor dining space and allow diners to enjoy their meals well into the evening. The best portable styles are equally at home indoors and out. 

Try this: Marset’s Soho collection is Spanish designer Joan Gaspar’s nod to lamps traditionally used in European markets, taverns and cafeterias. The latest portable style is rated for outdoor use. 

6. An Eye-catching Centerpiece

Acropora from JANUS et Cie
Acropora from JANUS et Cie

No tablescape is complete without a focal point. Look for organic forms made from natural materials that work with the outdoor surroundings.

Try this: JANUS et Cie offers outdoor accessories galore. The company’s small stoneware vases look stunning on their own or filled with flowers and foliage from the garden. 

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