Pretty patio decor ideas to suit every style — 7 schemes for summer whether you own or rent your home

Makeover your space with patio decor ideas that won't break the bank and bring outdoor bliss

Pretty patio with boho orange and white tassled soft furnishings under a billowing white curtain canopy
(Image credit: iStock/Getty Images Plus)

Outdoor spaces are a lifesaver in the heat so brush up on pretty patio decor ideas to transform yours into a blissful, beautiful haven fit for summer.

Whether you enjoy your backyard alone or with friends, rent or own your own, we have seven ideas to suit every taste and style, from boho, to modern and bistro-inspired Parisian patio ideas that won't break the bank.

Upgrade your small space with the best patio furniture, or add a few soft furnishings and twinkle lights and see it come to life.

Beautiful patio decor ideas to transform your space

From gorgeous patio lighting ideas, to budget-friendly privacy screens, it doesn't take much to transform your outdoor space into a little slice of heaven to enjoy this summer.

Where we've recommended products to help you shop our inspirational ideas, we've curated highly-rated items from trusted retailers and let you know exactly why we like each one.

All prices were correct at time of publication.

1. Bring bistro chic

White ornate metal bistro patio table with matching chairs on a wooden decking with vase of summer hydrangea blooms in white purple pink orange on table

(Image credit: Wayfair)

Cheap, cheerful, and available at many retailers in copious colors, a sweet little bistro table and chairs set is the perfect base to build out your patio decor and bring a little touch of European chic to your space.

The beauty of this patio decor idea is it's not only pretty to look at, but it's functional, adding useful seating and a spot to eat and adaptable for all seasons. 

Swap out a vase of summer florals on your table, much like the Wayfair Oldsmar bistro set pictured above) with mini pumpkins in fall, or a potted Christmas tree in the winter with thick blankets to make this space work for you year-round.

Shop bistro deals on offer today with our easy to navigate quick links or browse our three top picks below.

2. Incorporate pops of color

Blue Adirondack chair on a striped outdoor rug on a wooden patio with black bulbous lantern and green lawn border shrubs in background

(Image credit: Amazon)

This is our favorite budget-friendly patio decor idea as it really doesn't take much cash to achieve. Whether you grab a few outdoor cushion covers, take your favorite colorful throw outside, invest in vibrant outdoor rug or splurge on one eye-popping bit of patio furniture, the desired effect is instantly brightening.

Play with dopamine decor and see your space come to life with just a few clever colorful touches. We love this Adirondack blue outdoor chair from Funberry on Amazon which folds away, making it perfect for small patios. It also comes with a nifty cup holder. If your budget is tight, you won't need to spend on a side table, or keep tripping over your iced latte. 

If you join Amazon Prime (nab your 30-day free trial), you'll get $20 off the listed price, and with Amazon Prime Day looming in July, it's a great time to sign up and revel in the savings and benefits year-round including free Prime delivery, easy returns and member only deals.

If you don't have cash to spare, use up that old tin of paint you have leftover and brush on a patio pattern using a stencil, refresh a tired table or add color to a wall. Ask your friends and family for leftovers and paint a rainbow feature. Whatever you choose, it'll instantly cheer up your patio area.

3. Plant flowers and greenery

Plantpot heavy balcony with colorful flowers and wood and red bistro set

(Image credit: Getty Images/Westend61)

Let nature do the heavy lifting by adding planters and some fab outdoor pots filled with vibrant flowers, shrubs and ornamental grasses. 

Plants bring a lived-in homey feel to any space so if you're renting and can't touch the borders, lawns or have no greenery in your little concrete jungle, thrift some pots, or buy a matching set and get going. 

Pick plants that will thrive in your US gardening zone, and if you're new to gardening, use our month by month gardening calendar to learn what to plant and do, when.

Plenty of stores and online retailers carry great selections of plants that are ready to plant so if this is your first time, here are the retailers we recommend taking a look at:

4. Use lanterns

A pergola with pink, green, and blue lanterns hanging from it, plants around it, and a wooden dining table with colorful plates, candles, and bottles of wine on it

(Image credit: Ella James)

Lanterns are a cheap and effective way to cozy up any patio decor idea, so adding one of our best outdoor lanterns as a finishing touch to your outdoor space is just the ticket.

Choose from plug-in LED lanterns, to solar powered ones, or USB rechargeable ones (I absolutely love these glowing round orb lights from Breck + Fox) and either hang them up, place on the floor in clusters, or on top of your bistro set for extra va-va voom. 

There's nothing like some soft lighting to set the mood and add a lovely lived-in touch. 

5. Embrace natural materials

Pretty patio with boho orange and white tassled soft cotton furnishings under a billowing white curtain canopy and wooden privacy screen and furniture

(Image credit: iStock/Getty Images Plus)

Layer up natural materials layered up in an outdoor space to amp up the boho chic in your patio decor makeover.

Think wicker, rafia, cotton, and pull in items with tassels, jute and woven features. As you'll see in the image above, they do not have to match exactly to work perfectly together. Little pops of color will add further intrigue.

We love the use of the fab outdoor curtains to create privacy without blocking light and the wooden privacy screen idea, which are key facets of successfully bringing in patio privacy. This is often essential in a small and overlooked backyard or patio area.

If you love the look pictured above, we've found matching picks. Get the look with Target's Wood Slat Outdoor Lantern, Bed Bath & Beyond's Brown Wood Screen, and enjoy Pottery Barns' White Tab-Top Outdoor Curtains.

6. Hang string lights

rope string lights LED

(Image credit: Amazon)

The Real Homes team love hanging string lights around our outdoor spaces and it makes for a brilliant patio decor idea. Hang from pergolas, wrap around trees, drape across shrubs, arch them around fencing or simple line lawn borders with them to add a magical twinkle to your patio.

Without even trying, you'll have a romantic soiree on your hands that is perfect for date night, or an evening filled with with glowing fun with friends.

We've rounded up the best outdoor string lights for easy perusing, including lampoon lights, string lights, ball string lights and more.

I personally have Amazon's 20 LED 72FT Solar Lights Outdoor Waterproof Globe Lights with 8 Lighting Modes and adore them. They're strung around my patio around, which is in my small, sloped backyard and they work nicely to bring the space together. As they are solar powered, and I live in the UK, they tend to stay dark in winter months but it's worth it for the eight or nine months a year they work brilliantly.

7. Ensure patio privacy

Outdoor screens, dividers, climbing plants, tall shrubs, and pergolas are among the best patio privacy ideas and investing in any one of these will make your space much  more enjoyable.

Nobody wants to be overlooked by nosy neighbors and have their backyard BBQs or date nights in full view.

No matter how small your space or limited your budget, there is a privacy solution that will work. Our experts have run down dozens of ideas in our backyard privacy guide.

The brilliance of this is they're usually very pretty, bringing in patio decor plus function. A double threat we can get behind!

Now you have some decor inspiration for your patio, browse our style editor's pick of the best small patio furniture, or learn about the latest decor trends for outdoor spaces.

Punteha van Terheyden

Hi! I'm editor of Real Homes. I've been a senior journalist and editor for national magazines and newspapers for 16 years, specializing in consumer, real-life, and lifestyle articles. I have a BA in English Language and Communication, mentor journalists, and I’m also founding editor of Lacuna Voices, an independent digital platform. I love to cook, add character to my newly-built home, try my hand at DIY projects, keep my collection of plants alive, and make memories with my little family of three. For Real Homes, I specialize in articles on pest control, DIY, declutterring and cleaning, interviewing experts daily for their top tips and product recommendations.