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Must-Haves for Small Outdoor Living Spaces

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Milwaukee Living, Home Improvement

These days, we’re all spending more time at home and looking for ways to maximize our home spaces, both indoor and outdoor. If the summer heat and near-constant sunshine have you longing to spend time outside, here are a few must-haves for creating a functional and beautiful outdoor space, especially for small spaces, patios, and balconies.

Hammock or Lounge Chair
Hopefully, the thing you’ll do the most in your outdoor space is sit and relax. So comfortable seating is a must.

Hammocks are available at just about every store that carries home goods or sporting equipment these days and are perfect for smaller spaces, as they keep the seating off the ground. Plus, nothing says “relaxation” like napping on a hammock with a hat over your eyes.

If you have the space, spring for a hammock with a stand, or go for more classic patio seating like Adirondack chairs or a full patio table set. You also can’t go wrong with a chaise lounge for stretching out or a zero-gravity chair, which lets you customize your chair’s angles and settings.

Fun Lights
Whether string lights with vintage Edison bulbs, fairy lights, chic sconces, overhead lights, post lights, or lanterns and tabletop lights, a fun and bright light source is a must for evenings outdoors.

Not only do they light up the area so you can still see others’ faces, carry on conversation, play cards and games, serve food and drinks, and do other activities, they contribute to a warm ambiance and overall sense of coziness.

 High-Quality Drink Cooler
When the heat is on, staying hydrated is key. Invest in a high-quality cooler in a nice color or style that matches your outdoor space’s aesthetic.

Look for one with soft walls and a handle for an affordable and portable option. Or go for some great options like coolers with shelves or racks for storing both drink and food, a rolling or bar-cart style cooler or for easily moving it around the space, a stylish and retro picnic-style cooler, or even a mini tabletop fridge if you have the right space configuration and an outlet.

Natural or Artificial Firepit
Nothing creates ambiance like a real, roaring fire, so if you have the space and fires are allowed at your apartment community (check with your property manager if unsure), a firepit is definitely a must-have. If you don’t have space or a firepit is not allowed, an artificial firepit can be a fun and warm addition to a balcony or patio space. Most use LED lights to create highly realistic-looking (but very much fake) flames, perfect for indoor spaces or outdoor ones with restrictions.

If nothing else, some LED candles or a battery-powered tabletop lantern can take your outdoor space from dark and dreary to warm and welcoming.

Plants, Flowers, or Greenery
A quick way to give your outdoor space some color and visual interest is to get some plants or greenery. Even a simple succulent or spider plant in the middle of the table or hanging from the roof can contribute to a sense of nature and serenity.

If you really want to curate a warm, comfortable, and peaceful outdoor space, invest in a few different plants, and mix up the sizes and types if you have room. Look for tall floor plants that create privacy and serve as statement pieces as well as colorful flowers and greenery that provide pops of color and joy. 

Get creative with how the plants are displayed if you’re short on square footage—look for hanging systems, consider a trellis or vine plant, or find some over-the-railing planters to maximize space.

No matter how you decorate it, your outdoor living space should be an oasis that serves as a place to relax, entertain, and enjoy the outdoors. Like any room in the home, putting in a little extra effort to make the space comfortable, beautiful, functional, and uniquely yours can make it an even more special space that you love to be in, whether you’re enjoying some solo time or entertaining a group.


Wimmer Communities’ apartment communities are designed to help our residents maximize their homes and their lives. Many of our apartments in Milwaukee are equipped with balconies or patios and/or have fantastic shared outdoor amenities like pools, tanning decks, tennis courts, walking trails, parks, and water features. Contact us today to learn more about our amenities and recreational offerings!

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