Spring is on its way, and homeowners are starting to make the long-awaited transition from their living rooms to their backyards for lounging, entertaining and everything in between. Here, four interior designers deliver their predictions for the top trends in outdoor design for 2023, as well as their favorite Jaipur Living products to transform any alfresco setting into an inviting oasis.
The Great(er) Outdoors
Outdoor space has always been a highly desired amenity among homeowners. But when the pandemic hit and people began seeking ways to “escape” without leaving their homes, the ability to retreat to a private garden or outdoor living area became more prized than ever. “Through COVID we learned how much our homes matter to us,” says Meredith Petty, owner and designer of Meredith Petty Interiors, “and that outdoor space is invaluable for our health and well-being.”
See also: How To Brings The Outdoors In
For interior designers, the past few years have been replete with requests to transform patios and porches into upscale, relaxing retreats. “We believe the trend of updating and investing in outdoor spaces will continue as many people have realized the importance of having a comfortable and functional outdoor space through the pandemic,” say Acacia + Spruce designers Michael Millwood and Alyssa Luttrell. “The pandemic created a need for making your backyard into a vacation oasis,” adds Kim Pheiffer Ebert, the CEO and founder of KP Designs Group. “The rise in pools and pool houses, fire pits and fireplaces, and, in general, the expansion of a client’s home into the outside played a major role in design.”
Looking ahead, Kathryn Lott, owner and designer of Kathryn Lott Design, pictures outdoor spaces becoming even more extravagant. “I could see us taking the furnishings up a notch, expanding porch sizes, and creating larger spaces outdoors overall,” she states. “We see a major trend in spending more on the exterior living spaces. People are looking for quality that lasts.”
Despite going up in size, more outdoor living spaces will showcase a pared-down aesthetic in the coming months. “This year, we think there will be a rise in modern and minimalist designs when it comes to furnishing outdoor spaces,” say Millwood and Luttrell. “Think clean lines, simple shapes, and a focus on functionality.”
Designers will look to sustainable materials and earthy hues to ground outdoor areas and provide relaxed, effortless appeal. “We think we’ll continue to see more natural materials like teak and wicker become increasingly popular. Not only are these materials durable, but they add that highly desired natural aesthetic to outdoor spaces,” Millwood and Luttrell share. “We see lots of use of natural materials—stones, metals, bamboo,” Lott chimes in, while Petty adds that she’s loving “anything jute! It’s a classic.”
See also: 5 Must-Know Outdoor Rug Facts
Shades of brown, green, and blue are sure to be big as “these colors are often seen as calming and inviting, and they create a sense of harmony and connection with nature that clients seem to love,” explain Millwood and Luttrerll. Ebert agrees that “blue is still popular with clients as it brings that serene, coastal feel to any outdoor area,” but admits she has incorporated more yellows and greens lately for a lush, tropical vibe.
For those intimidated by color, do not fear: Soft, versatile neutrals will still come into play. “Neutral colors like beige and gray are going to be used increasingly in outdoor spaces simply because of their timeless and elegant look that works well with a variety of different styles and aesthetics,” say Millwood and Luttrell.
A trend toward simpler design and subdued earth tones doesn’t mean there won’t be some surprises in store for 2023. Bold, rich hues are expected to make a splash in outdoor spaces, as evidenced by Pantone’s color of the year, Viva Magenta. “I see more jewel tones mixed with colors of nature,” says Petty—“deep plumbs and magentas mixed with the earthy mosses and walnuts.”
See also: Life Alfresco: The Indoor/Outdoor Guide
It’s all about an unexpected mix, which goes for texture as well—the more layered an outdoor space, the more curated and welcoming it appears. Says Ebert, “We see the use of texture in outdoor areas just like the interior of the home: rugs with a dimensional look and feel, textured pillows with tassels, and deep seating for a cozy feel.”
The Acacia + Spruce designers predict a rise in mixing and matching different materials in outdoor design for the ultimate wow factor. “Instead of having a cohesive look with streamlined materials,” they say, “we think we’ll start to see things like pairing metal and wood or combining different types of fabrics and finishes for designs that have depth and visual interest.”
Now that alfresco spaces have cemented their priority status, furnishings and accessories that allow these areas to blend seamlessly with the rest of the home are more important than ever. “We see so much of the outdoor living spaces being an extension of the home—even now,” says Lott. “People want to be able to truly live on their porch. They want it to have its own moment!”
Petty echoes Lott’s sentiments, acknowledging a collective itch to host friends and family once again. “We are all recovering from the post-COVID days where we simply weren’t entertaining as much,” she explains. “Now that we’re (almost) three years out, I find my clients craving entertaining space that is large enough for their guests to feel comfortable. So that means having the indoors blend with the outdoors—large folding doors that open to a screened porch or covered patio so you can having seating inside and out.”
Adding modern conveniences to outdoor spaces will also help to blur the line between indoors and out. “One way we think that outdoor spaces will continue to evolve is through the incorporation of more luxury features like built-in fireplaces, outdoor kitchens/bars, and high-end lighting/sound systems,” Millwood and Luttrell muse. “We’re seeing more and more clients looking to create upscale retreats in their backyards where they can relax, entertain, and enjoy the outdoors from the comfort of their own homes.”
Finally, “We think the trend of creating different zones within outdoor spaces, such as a lounge area, a dining area, and a play area for children, will also continue as it allows people to make the most of the space they have,” add the design duo, citing Jaipur Living’s Skandi pouf as the ultimate versatile accessory for achieving this functional aesthetic. “We love that these poufs can be utilized as a chair, table, or ottoman and can easily be moved from zone to zone in outdoor spaces. The colors available also lean well into the colors we believe will trend in outdoor design this year.”
Sustainability continues to reign supreme in outdoor design as these areas provide the ideal setting for showcasing green materials and thoughtful landscaping. “We are seeing that sustainability is becoming increasingly important in outdoor design in 2023 as homeowners are looking for ways to create outdoor spaces that are not only beautiful and functional, but also environmentally friendly,” say Millwood and Luttrell.
From the use of eco-friendly materials such as recycled plastic, bamboo, and reclaimed wood; to the installation of energy-efficient lighting and heating systems; to the incorporation of plants and greenery, which help to improve air quality—not to mention make any patio feel like a lush, verdant oasis—sustainability will be prioritized in myriad ways this year.
“I think clients are recognizing the importance of our planet and materials that we are using in our day-to-day lives,” says Petty. “If you are going to be doing an outdoor space and transforming your backyard (or front yard!), I think it goes hand-in-hand with making sure we are effective in the design both aesthetically and sustainably.”
The designers reveal their go-to Jaipur Living products for making any outdoor space feel luxurious yet livable.
Kim Pheiffer Ebert
“I love, love, love the Skandi pouf! It is a great statement piece that is different, has lots of color [and] texture, and is versatile. It could be an end table or a stool at the end of the bed—the possibilities are endless!”
Michael Millwood and Alyssa Luttrell
“We love all of the rugs in the Paradizo line and have used them in many of our outdoor designs. The neutral color palette in this line leans well into that natural aesthetic we are seeing many clients going for in their outdoor spaces. And the earthy tones and use of recycled PET yarn in the Esteem rug line perfectly align with the color and sustainability trends we are seeing in outdoor living.”
“I am digging Vibe by Jaipur Living because it is indoor/outdoor and has some beautiful jewel tones while staying neutral and grounding. It also doesn’t ‘feel’ like an outdoor rug, which is a bonus!”