25 Bright Ideas for Outdoor Dining
Alfresco dining is a Southern standard year-round. Find inspiration for your outdoor dining areas with these bright ideas.
Beach House Outdoor Dining Room
Instead of using matching sets of furniture, this outdoor dining area features a comibnation of textures such as wicker, stone, and wood for a more relaxed, natural look.
Inviting Patio Makeover
This outdoor dining room proves that humble materials can pull off a high-end look. The backyard transformation began with an installation of a 10- by 30-foot iron pergola. Wisteria was planted, which in time turned into a leafy canopy overhead. To anchor the space, an outdoor fireplace was constructed from cinder blocks lined with fireproof brick and covered in stucco. All the furniture and accessories that decorate the space were chosen to withstand the elements but age gracefully, resulting in an inviting spot for outdoor dining.
Bright hues and an elegant chandelier transform this treetop porch into a great dining getaway.
Lake House Porch
Deck out your screened porch for dining. Overlooking the woods and lake, dinner music is the chirping of birds and the splash of fish. The tin roof and vaulted ceiling overhead make light rain most delightful. Add seasonal sparkle with a string of your favorite lights.
Simple, Chic Porch
This rooftop dining area is situated right in the middle of fresh seasonal flowers, permanent trees and shrubs, and of course, edibles—which thrive on rooftops.
Classic hydrangea blooms take center stage around this neutral-toned patio dining space.
With separate areas for living, dining, and cooking, the porch spaces function like indoor rooms. Four comfy chairs and a low table combine to make a casual dining spot.
Backyard Alfresco Dining
To create this space, a 10- by 10-foot area was paved in the side yard with a boxwood border, and an iron chandelier was hung from the tree branch above. A round table with an iron base and teak dining chairs upholstered in weather-resistant fabric are outdoor grade, but would look equally good indoors.
Louisiana Back Porch
The living room opens onto a cheery porch with great backyard views.
Stylish Screen Porch
Decorate your porch as if it’s a room in the house. This porch is decorated with pieces that flow with the rest of the furniture in the house, aiming for a collected-over-time look. A stone-and-iron table pairs with wooden chairs.
Garden Oasis Patio
This 20- by 20-foot terrace sits about 2 feet lower than the surrounding grade. Stepping down into it feels like entering a room. Oklahoma flagstones cut into various-size rectangles form the floor. A low stone wall around the terrace adds a sense of enclosure and offers extra seating.
Cozy Front Porch
Outdoor furniture sets the scene for front porch dining. Transitional styling—simple lines and natural teak—makes the dining set at home anywhere, including the primitive exterior of this cottage.
French doors open directly from the kitchen to a front porch dining area that acts as an extension of this home’s interior.
This deluxe patio room used to be a rundown garage. To feel more intimate, the large, open space needed to be divided into rooms. Large containers of lush plants are grouped at varying heights to give this outdoor retreat scale.
Gracious Side Porch
Lined with handsome box columns and accessible to the indoors through pairs of French doors, this side porch functions much like an interior room, complete with comfortable seating and durable outdoor rugs. This gracious extension of living space contains a teak dining table for informal meals.
Tour the Southern Living Senoia, Georgia Idea House
For this chic deck, a local craftsman created the effect of louvered blinds using pressure-treated 2 by 4s. Curtain panels made out of a weather-resistant fabric, such as Sunbrella, are hung on either side of the table using makeshift curtain rods of heavy-gauge wire.
A wood-burning fireplace warms up outside dinner parties, especially in cool fall months.
English Garden Folly
At 20 feet wide, the folly’s interior allows for seating as well as dining areas. A large outdoor rug warms up the stone floor, making the room feel cozier.
Casual Back Porch
Designed for entertaining, the back porch offers indoor comforts and outdoor style. A teak dining table and casual seating encourage leisure time and easy conversation.
Colorful Dining Space
Porch Dining Area
The homeowner sought out nearby artisans to construct the new screened porch. The age-old techniques that many of these stonemasons, carpenters, and metalsmiths inherited from their fathers and grandfathers helped give the project its authenticity. "These craftsmen built the porch with the same level of care and detail that the original home had," says Ken.
The farm table was handcrafted from antique heart pine by Georgia Harvest Tables.
Bench: vintage church pew. Similar items available through Cline's Country Antiques, Mt. Pleasant, NC; clinesantiquesmpnc.com.
Green pillow fabric: Ranger Twill in Fern (000280741); calicocorners.com.
Pillow (middle on bench): Jute Braid Pillow Cover in Tumbleweed; potterybarn.com.
Birdhouses: handcrafted by Ty Buris, Bear Creek Cabinet Shop, Oakboro, NC; bearcreekcabinet.com.
Modern Cottage Porch
Two wide, backless benches act like a banquette, providing lots of flexible seating and room to stretch out. The homeowner wanted a table, but didn't have enough room for separate dining and seating areas. The benches enabled her to allow for both.
One-of-a-Kind Farmhouse Porch
Though it may look like an indoor space, this dining room is actually situated within a well-protected porch, allowing the homeowner more freedom in choosing fabrics, upholstery, and decor. When desiging a room with more than one furniture arrangement, repeat a key fabric to keep the areas visually connected. Here, red poppy fabric by John Robshaw Textiles dresses the table. Elsewhere, the same fabric is used as pillow coverings.
Purple Party Table
An outdoor dining room provides a colorful oasis within this beautiful garden. Bold linens and lively flowers give an air of elegance to the space.