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Outdoor Living, Summer’s Hottest Trend

During the summer of 2020, people invested heavily in their outdoor spaces. With nowhere else to go, people nested and made their outdoor spaces feel comfortable, functional, and fun. Two summers later, people are enjoying their rejuvenated outdoor spaces and are continuing to make improvements. Our outdoor spaces have become about more than just spending a little time outside. They’ve become about outdoor living. The lines between indoor and outdoor activities have blurred. When the weather cooperates, people spend more time outdoors.

What do we see trending in outdoor living?


A cross between Scandinavian and Japanese design, Japandi blends Scandinavian hygge with Japanese wabi-sabi to create spaces with functional, warm minimalism. Japandi focuses on simplicity, nature, and comfort. Carefully selected and curated objects combine to create an intentionally designed space. For outdoor areas, that means beautiful plants, an earthy color palette, and natural materials.    

Outdoor Functional Spaces

People are using their outdoor spaces for more than just swimming in the pool or enjoying burgers from the grill. As many people’s work-from-home situations become permanent, people are designing full-blown outdoor offices and workspaces. One way to do this is by adding structure to outdoor spaces to offer shade and protect from a passing shower.

In addition to offices, many people are creating specific outdoor spaces for art studios, gardening benches, and even kitchens. More and more people want to eat outside and cook there. People are sick of the balancing act of bringing all the gear from the kitchen to the grill and are installing outdoor burners, mini-fridges, and even pizza ovens.

Focus on Wellness

There is no debate about how beneficial to your health it is to be outdoors. As people have felt those benefits, they’re looking for ways to spend more healthy time outside. There has been a steady rise in people creating zen gardens and other quiet spaces for meditation, yoga, or even a quiet place to read or nap.  

Drought Tolerant Landscaping

2022 has been one of the hottest summers on record, with droughts in many areas of the country. People want to make sustainable changes as climate change continues to heat the planet. Houzz has released information about the considerable increase this year in people searching for ways to update their landscaping to be less water dependent and ready to respond to droughts.

Lots of Greenery

People who once thought you needed a green thumb to garden got to know their houseplants better over the past couple of years. Maybe a green thumb wasn’t what was required, but rather patience and attention. People are adding many container gardens to patios and decks, especially in smaller, urban places where outdoor space may be limited. Also great for smaller spaces, vertical gardening and living walls. Many people are starting out small with herb gardens in pots for those not ready for the commitment of extensive vegetable gardens.

What about color?

Color trends for outdoor living run the gamut. For some, color palettes are an extension of their interiors. For others, it’s an opportunity to have fun and go bold. Yet within both categories, we’re noticing two main color trends.

First, there are a lot of warm earth tones and rich neutrals being used in outdoor living. Colors that work with the surrounding environment and complement the surrounding nature. In these color palettes, there is a lot of wood and raffia materials with rich aquas, blues, and greens.

Next, there are also a lot of bold, saturated, tropical colors. These colors play off the surrounding greens of natural plants and give an endless summer feeling. Think shocking pinks, rich oranges, and sunny yellows.

In addition to color, outdoor spaces are embracing pattern. Outdoor rugs are using pattern to help define a space and pillows add pops of color.

One of the best parts of this trend is there is no wrong way to spend time outdoors. Whether hiking through the mountains or reading in a hammock in your backyard, the most important element is Mother Nature.  However you wish to spend time with her is up to you! Over on Pinterest, we’ve created a board featuring our favorite examples of inspiring outdoor living.

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Kristin Crane

Kristin Crane has designed jacquard designs for the home furnishing and residential jobber market for many years, with mills in the US and in China. Today, she writes about pattern and design trends for Design Pool from her home in Providence, Rhode Island. When not writing about fabric, she can be found weaving in her home studio or hiking along the Rhode Island coast.


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