How to turn a plain patio into a relaxing outdoor room

Set the scene for entertaining with a seamless flow from the indoors out.
Hamptons retractable awning

Is your patio just gathering dust and fallen leaves? Outdoor space is precious, so it’s important to utilise every inch! These clever patio ideas will help you transform a tired, underutilised space into something the entire family can enjoy. 

The first thing to do is to make a decision about the primary purpose you want the area to serve. Do you want to entertain outdoors? Do you want to create an outdoor living room? Or do you simply want to create a private nook you can escape to and take in a deep breath of fresh air from time to time?

Next, it’s all about taking action. Here we study the transformation of a Hamptons-style patio to create a step-by-step patio makeover guide you can apply at your own place and bring you seven more examples of outdoor rooms to inspire.

Start with the backdrop

Every beautiful patio starts with a beautiful backdrop, and in most cases it will be your home’s exterior. So when you create a moodboard, start with the colour and materials of your home’s exterior and build from there with the right colour palette, furnishings and accessories. “Create a mood by layering your exterior finishes with furniture and seating,” says Natalee Bowen, Interior Designer and founder of Indah Island.

This Hamptons style home is clad in James Hardie Scyon Linea painted in Dulux Tranquil Retreat. White trims painted in Dulux Vivid White.

Work to a consistent style and colour palette

It’s important to approach the decoration of your patio just like you would any other interior space of your home. That is, with a vision and a plan. Rather than just buying the first outdoor setting you find, consider whether it meets overall style brief. Styles to consider include: Hamptons style, coastal style, French provincial style or perhaps even modern country style. 

As for a colour palette, look to your surroundings for inspiration. This Hamptons style home features a palette of deep ocean blues, sea glass and sandy greys, while Linea weatherboards create beautiful, horizontal lines which are synonymous with the coastal aesthetic. 

The view from the patio. ‘Tuscan path’ pavers from Bunnings continue on from the patio and into the pool area.

Make an entrance

It’s important to think about the way you access the patio. The type of doorway leading to the space can really influence how often you use it. French doors, stacking doors or bi-fold doors are all fantastic options for a seamless indoor outdoor flow.

Make it weatherproof

Ample shade is essential, whether you choose a fixed structure or a retractable awning. To allow for maximum flexibility, ensure it covers the entire outdoor area. In a smaller zone, a generous outdoor umbrella can add shade as well as a luxe resort vibe. 

Weatherboards made from fibre cement rather than timber will stand up to the harsh Australian climate without the maintenance of traditional timber boards.

A Hamptons style patio shaded by a retractable awning from Luxaflex.

7 perfect patio ideas to inspire

Timber outdoor furniture
(Credit: Photography: Louise Roche / Stylist: Kylie Jackes)


Coastal style patio

This simply styled patio in a multi-generational Gold Coast new build features timber outdoor furniture, plenty of colourful throw cushions and grey terrazzo pavers to create a modern, coastal look.



Alfresco dining zone

Outdoor furniture from Globe West makes this contemporary alfresco dining area at a classic coastal home shine. The warm tones in the woven chairs and table base echo the timber tones of the oversized sliding doors.

Mornington Peninsula farmhouse covered alfresco dining area
(Photographer: Martina Gemmola | Styling: Aimee Tarulli)


Modern farmhouse outdoor dining

Outdoor entertaining was a top priority for the owners of this farmhouse on Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula. It features four-metre-high ceilings and a reclaimed teak dining setting from Early Settler

(Photographer: Eve Wilson | Styling: Beck Simon)


Outdoor living with a view

The living and dining area of this stylish country home opens directly out on to the patio, which enjoys heavenly views of rolling hills and the sea beyond. 

(Photographer: Helen Ward)


High contrast

This outdoor dining area at a cottage in Leura, NSW can be enjoyed night and day thanks to string lights that give the space a warm glow after the sun sets. The home is painted in Dulux Vivid Whites, which creates a nice contrast against the steel-framed doors and black dining chairs. 

(Photographer: Ryan Linnegar | Styling: Fiona Gould)


Trip to Tuscany

This sunny patio at a restored Federation home in Sydney takes design inspiration from holidays in Tuscany. Travertine pavers create a chic base while the table from Early Settler and Yardware chairs create an opportunity for year-round dining. 

european farmhouse style build brisbane outdoor entertaining
(Photographer: Ryan Linnegar | Styling: Fiona Gould)


Bold moves

Swathes of Dulux Domino tempered with Iron Ash timber form the backdrop to this ultra-contemporary patio in Brisbane. The bold colour palette was inspired by the owners’ European heritage where farmhouses are often painted colourful, daring shades.

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