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19 Outdoor Living Trends to Try in 2021

Here’s what’s trending in outdoor decor – with the numbers to back it up. All trends are sourced from Google Trends search data. Check out the results below and what our designers have to say about them!
 

1. Warm Colors

By: Kate Leyendecker, Living Spaces Designer

Google Trends data shows a rise in interest for Terracotta (+5.25%), Rust (+4.61%), Rose (+11.59%) and Moss Green (+17.56%).
“This comfort color palette is associated with rustic earth elements that are best for cozy 'outdoor living rooms.' The beautiful thing about these tones is that they can soften any-sized space, from balconies to backyards." Get the look: “Choose wooden patio tables and chairs in a warm finish, or perhaps warm leather, since the natural wear-and-tear over the years can actually enhance the rusticity of these tones.”

2. Indoor Outdoor Spaces

By: Daniela Lopez, Living Spaces Designer

“Outdoor activities have increased this past year. So has the need for a cozy, private, and shaded space outdoors. This means comfy couches, ambient lighting and multi-functional furniture – all made to withstand weather.” Get the look: “To secure the indoors feel, arrange the furniture under a patio covering. You can add some outdoor drapery, a green wall, water feature, or outdoor tiled accent wall to create your own cozy and intimate outdoor space.”

According to the Google report, Indoor Outdoor Spaces is on one of the steepest rises for 2021, seeing a 155.56% increase in popularity from the past twelve months.

3. Backyard Playset

By: Megan Smith, Living Spaces Designer

backyard playset trend 2021
Google Trends report for Backyard Playset shows a 6.76% popularity increase over the past twelve months.
“After a year of quarantine, backyard playsets have become extremely popular in family homes. Not only are we seeing the classic swing sets, but more and more creative variations, like giant sidewalk checkers and DIY outdoor reading nooks." Get the look: “Even the simple treehouse has become a sophisticated lounge that’s easy to replicate: try a simple deck attached to the side of a tree with stairs, adorned with stylish throw pillows, blankets and lanterns for a fort they’ll love.”

4. Sustainable Gardening

By: Satsha Lopez-Jaimes, Living Spaces Designer

“Sustainable gardening goes hand-in-hand with container gardening, especially hydroponics container gardening which uses less water and soil and relies on a mineral solution for plant nutrients. Make container gardening chic with patterned, colorful ceramic planters.” Get the look: “In patches of ground gardens, opt for wildflowers and plants native to your locale to ensure your plants thrive using as little resources as possible. And since zen spaces in general are trends for indoors and outdoors this year, you might also try bubbling garden fountains, which can attract helpful pollinators and act as a natural humidifier.”

Edible Gardens saw a 19.54% increase in searches over the past twelve months. Sustainable Gardens saw an 8.89% increase over the past twelve months.

5. Backyard Basketball Court

By: Shelby Greene, Living Spaces Designer

backyard basketball court trend 2021
People are searching like crazy for ‘backyard baksetball court.’ According to Google Trends, it’s on the rise by 42.21% over the past twelve months.

“Since the pandemic, people are looking for more creative ways to stay active at home. People have picked up sports and hobbies that involve going outside and getting fresh air.” Get the look: “Backyard basketball courts don't always need to be for huge estates. They can be half courts that can also double for other purposes like entertaining, tennis, or outdoor workouts. They can blend in beautifully with landscaping around the perimeter and lounge seating with ambient lighting.”

6. Garden Gnomes

By: Britney Wilson, Living Spaces Designer

“Cottagecore is a growing aesthetic tied to nature, and the classic gnome is part of this. I think this is related to the pandemic, as homeowners have been wanting an escape from reality and the gnome provides a sense of fantasy.” Get the look: “Include the entire family into the placement of the gnomes; tell the kids that they are there for good luck.  Unexpected placement is where gnomes come to life, because real gnomes are shy, preferring to hide in the nooks and crannies of outdoor spaces!”

Year over year, Garden Gnomes Google searches have an increase of 11.30%. 

7. Rattan Stool

By: Kate Leyendecker Living Spaces Designer

From Google Trends: Rattan Stool is up 3.71% from twelve months.

“Rattan for the outdoors is super versatile. Rattan is coastal, but that doesn’t mean it can’t create more than one look: for more casual, opt for rattan stools on a fun outdoor rug, and for more elegance, pair a set of rattan chairs with a dark wood dining table." Get the look: "The best part is that you can bring a rattan piece indoors and out, depending on your décor preferences as the seasons change.”

8. Front Porch

By: Daniela Lopez, Living Spaces Designer

“In 2021, more people are using the front porch as an extension of outdoor living spaces. It is not only about maximizing space for everyday living – it is also to welcome our neighbors and visitors. In 2020, it was used for drive-by parties and socially-distanced gatherings; because of the pandemic, there is a sense to feel connected even more, and people are trying to maintain those connections. Get the look: "A couple of chairs and a bistro table, a bench or two or a tree swing – all of these can make your porch more welcoming and sophisticated.”

Google Trends shows a 1.42% increase of Front Porch searches over the past twelve months.

9. Outdoor Hot Tub

By: Megan Smith, Living Spaces Designer

outdoor hot tub trend 2021
According to Google Trends, Outdoor Hot Tub searches are up by 4.11% over the past twelve months.

“The ultimate luxury, a backyard hot tub encourages us all to slow down a bit during these crazy times and enjoy the present moment with friends and family. Add steps or a raised deck around the hot tub to bring the ground up to the tub’s level, creating an elevated aesthetic.” Get the look: “Try incorporating alternative lighting overhead, such as a few strings of twinkling lights, and you’ll never want to leave your backyard. Add a tub to an existing entertaining space or situate one in its own hideaway nook for the ultimate backyard oasis.”

10. Outdoor Kitchen

By: Satsha Lopez-Jaimes, Living Spaces Designer

“Outdoor kitchens, with or without pizza ovens, are the mark of an indoors-out living space.” Get the look: “Just because it’s outdoors doesn’t mean you can’t have indoor luxury, so bring in storage or build in storage through shelving and cabinets; use shelves to display an herb garden in statement planters. For added warmth, centralize the hub with a fire pit dining table (roasted marshmallows make a great after-meal dessert)! To make it restaurant-esque, fill the larger kitchen space with lots of seating for dining.”

outdoor kitchen trend

From Google Trends: Interest in Outdoor Kitchen is the same from twelve months ago, while Outdoor Pizza Oven saw a 3.06% increase.

11. Outdoor Concrete Furniture

By: Shelby Greene, Living Spaces Designer

People are searching for Outdoor Concrete Furniture more than ever. Over the past twelve months, interest has risen 6.69%.
"Concrete tables, bench seating and fire pits are becoming more popular because they are naturally weather-resistant and can withhold many years of use; they are also easy to clean, so nothing will be ruined." Get the look: “Concrete furniture works great in a grassy or pebbled area so that it is not too rough being on other concrete. (Although, adding an outdoor rug can divide this roughness.) Wrap-around concrete bench seating around a firepit is a simple solution to make space for nightly gathers and will hold up great around the heat. Cushions can always be added for comfort.”

12. Pastel Colors

By: Britney Wilson, Living Spaces Designer

“A pop of color into a backyard space can create a joyous and happy environment for relaxing. Pastel colors have always been associated with spring, but now they're a year-round look for any occasion.” Get the look: “I would add these colors on an outdoor sofa via some throw pillows and then add a couple of floral patterned accent chairs to complement the 'year-round spring look.' To contrast pastels, a splash of warmth can be achieved by adding some natural wood elements such as a bench, table or bar cart to complete the look.”

Pastel searches are up from twelve months ago: Pastel Yellow (+13.16%), Pastel Green (+10.38%), Lilac Purple (+19.24%).

13. Cane Furniture

By: Kate Leyendecker, Living Spaces Designer

From Google Trends: Cane is up 38.7% from twelve months.

“Since Japandi style is rising to fame, cane (a plant sourced from parts of Asia) is rising right along with it. Bring it to your outdoors and play with a more global or traveled feel by pairing cane with other 'plant' furniture, such as rattan.” Get the look: "Whether you’re working with a cane outdoor chair, bench or sofa, it’s a good idea to layer on seat cushions to contrast textures and colors!"

14. Mini Garden

By: Daniela Lopez, Living Spaces Designer

“This pandemic inspired a lot of people to start their own garden in order to get outside – and supply their pantries with home-grown fruits, veggies, and herbs.” Get the look: "Try hanging planters, planters and vases on tables and wall planters. On the ground, opt for boxes, potted trees and raised garden beds. Also, mix types: veggies with flowers in one bed creates an eclectic look while saving space and creating more biodiversity to encourage insects to pollinate."

Mini Garden searches are trending up 6.89% from twelve months ago.

15. Outdoor Egg Chair

By: Megan Smith, Living Spaces Designer

The numbers are on fire: Searches for Outdoor Egg Chairs are up 0.85% from twelve months ago.

“These fun yet modern chairs are the perfect combination of comfort and style to enhance anyone’s outdoor space. Egg chairs look their best on front porches and back patios, especially when paired with cozy pillows or a rug, for a more personal feel.” Get the look: “A few outdoor accent tables, to set down summer refreshments nearby, can introduce different textures and shapes. These chairs can be used to create an outdoor conversation area or can function as a stand-alone accent piece meant for the pure art of relaxation.”

16. Planters

By: Satsha Lopez-Jaimes, Living Spaces Designer

"Planters are great props for setting boundaries – just as walls and room dividers do for the indoors. While taking the extra step to separate a dining area from a lounging area might not seem that necessary, in the long run, zoning spaces for different purposes can make a backyard feel more accessible, relaxed and just as comfy as the interior of a home." Get the look: "To this end, pretty planters in your favorite colors are a perfect (and stylish) means. Use planters to line walkways, wrapping them up with fairy lights, so they are visible at night!"

Planters searches increased by 5.25% over the past twelve months on Google.

17. Granny Flat

By: Kate Leyendecker, Living Spaces Designer

granny flat trend 2021
Granny Flat searches saw an increase of 13.68% over the past year.

"The granny flat, or a detached living space situated in a backyard, offers a way for families to live with their grandparents without actually sharing a roof." Get the look: "Granny flats, though, can be for anything, depending on how you decorate it: turn it into a hotel-like bedroom for an all-purpose guest house, or furnish it with a pool table and TV for a next-level mancave. However you use it, make sure to connect it in some way to the main house, via stepping stones or a small patio."

18. Vertical Garden

By: Daniela Lopez

"Modern-day real estate has been leaning towards smaller yards, so it’s important to maximize every inch. Hydroponics allow gardeners to plant upwards – along walls and ledges, without soil – by infusing roots with a nutrient-rich mineral solution." Get the look: "One of my favorites is the ladder garden. Another great method is attaching metal hooks to the backs of mini terracotta pots and then hanging the pots along a lattice or trellis. It can be as simple as a tier of stacked planters or as intricate as a high-rise wall completely covered in vegetation."

vertical garden trend 2021
Searches for Vertical Garden have skyrocketed over the past twelve months, at a 20.79% increase.

19. Boho Style

By: Megan Smith

Boho Style Google searches saw an increase of 1.68% over the past twelve months.

"A boho backyard is at its best when it feels like an extension of your indoors. Many gravitate to this style because it encourages unique spaces and inspiration for travel." Get the look: "Go for classics like patterned pillows, lanterns and rugs, as well as the avant garde things you wouldn’t normally think of for an outdoor space, such as wall mirrors, wall art and floor cushions. Try positioning various plants throughout your space and get creative by choosing ceramic pots with contrasting colors and textures that are eye-catching."

Timeless Tips That Work Every Year



Most backyards have the room to extend your home's living space with a deck, patio, gazebo and/or outdoor cooking area. Not only do such spaces help you grow your square footage, but they add value to your home and allow you and your family to enjoy the fresh air and nature. How do you accomplish this and make your added outdoor space family-friendly? We have a few ideas.

1. Choose the Right Outdoor Furniture for Your Home's Architectural Style.

Matching your outdoor furniture to the architectural style of your home is essential to creating a beautiful, harmonious backyard living space. For instance, if you live in a Tudor-style home, you'll want to use heavy wood or wicker patio furniture. If you live in a colonial home, you'll want wood furniture or metal furniture with classic lines. And, if your home is modern, you can add to your exterior appeal with bright colored cushions and resin, metal or rope furniture with sleek, modern lines.

2. Lighten the Mood.

Outdoor lamps, lanterns and other lighting do more than help you see at night – they give your backyard a warm and inviting appeal. For a touch of outdoor elegance, place a couple table lamps with colorful shades on an outdoor dining table or bar; or, hang a set of outdoor string or tea lights in an especially darkened area for a pop of dazzling sparkle – and to up the romantic ambiance.

3. Create a Living Space That Will Work for All Seasons.

The more often you can use your outdoor living space, the more cost-effective it will be. If you live in a part of the country where the weather is chilly in the spring and fall, consider a fire pit or free-standing heaters to extend your outdoor season. If you live in an area where the summers are scorching, consider a retractable awning or umbrella to provide shade, or a small wading pool or other water feature.

4. Lay Down an Area Rug (or Two).

Large rugs help to define a living space and make your outdoor living area look like it has "rooms." Today's outdoor area rugs don't have to be taken in and out; they are designed so that moisture runs right through them and so that colors stay true for years. Transforming your outdoor living space into a welcoming and useful family oasis doesn't have to be complicated or expensive. Simply add a focal point, like a gazebo or pergola; make sure that your patio furniture complements your home's architectural style and add some sort of outdoor kitchen/bar area to make your outdoor living space more enjoyable for your family and friends year round.

5. Add an Outdoor Bar Cart.

Being able to entertain outdoors is one of the joys of the summer season. Not only does it keep your kitchen from getting hot and messy, food served outdoors just has a certain casual (and delicious) appeal. You don't have to spend a fortune to add an outdoor eating and cooking area. Setting up a bar cart next to your grill can help make your space more appealing.

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Editorial Disclaimer: Articles featuring tips and advice are intended for educational purposes and only as general recommendations. Always practice personal discretion when using and caring for furniture, decor and related items.