Attractive, welcoming outdoor seating areas are important parts of relaxing backyards. Guests will be more at ease and more likely to attend gatherings at your house if there are plenty of comfortable places to perch. To create your own relaxation station, follow these five tips.

1. Use comfortable fabrics. Outdoor fabric has a reputation for being stiff and uncomfortable to sit on, but there are plenty of alternatives on the market. Cotton, canvas, linen, and sailcloth all wash and weather well, though you will want to bring any cushions, blankets, or curtain panels inside if a storm is predicted.

2. Add color with plants and flowers. Decorating an outdoor space is a fantastic opportunity to let your imagination run wild. If you’re not quite ready to take risks with furniture and decorations, however, plants and flowers can add a lot of color and personality without costing too much money. Perennials create a landscape that will grow and mature; choose annuals if you’d like to change the look of your outdoor seating area each year. Read our article on perennials and annuals to get a better understanding of the two.

Outside Patio3. Create small seating arrangements. When it comes to arranging furniture, treat your outdoor space just as you would your living room or den indoors. For outdoor seating area ideas that encourage conversation, look for small, intimate seating arrangements of a loveseat, two or three chairs, and a small table or two; this configuration is less intimidating than large sofas.

4. Use color to reflect changing seasons. It may not be practical to change your home’s indoor decorating scheme according to the seasons, but outdoor space affords you much more flexibility. Stick to neutral furniture, and use brightly colored cushions for pops of seasonal color. Cool colors—greens and blues, for example—are popular choices for spring and summer, while deeper, warm colors—reds, oranges, and shades of chocolate brown—match the earthy tones of fall and winter.

Romantic Atmosphere In The Evening On The Porch5. Add lighting for additional ambience. To create a calming atmosphere in your relaxing outdoor oasis, add soft lighting. Peruse antique stores and home and garden shops for interesting light fixtures and candelabras. These additional light sources help set a laid-back mood and can extend the life of a gathering past sunset.

A beautiful outdoor seating area can be as simple or as elaborate as you wish, but a key consideration is keeping things as comfortable as possible for guests. Check out the myriad resources online for outdoor seating ideas, and try to approach decorating your outdoor space as you would the rest of your home—this will ensure relaxing outdoor seating that is both comfortable and pleasing to the eye.

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