Maximizing A Small Patio

A small patio can still be mighty—you just need a little ingenuity to amp up your space, starting with these easy-to-implement ideas.

Make the Most Out of Limited Space with Four No-Fail Solutions

Relaxing at home by yourself—or hanging out with family or friends—doesn’t get much better than when you’re doing it outside. 

Feel like you’re short on space? No worries! A small patio can still be mighty—you just need a little ingenuity to amp up your space, starting with these easy-to-implement ideas. 

  1. Go multifunctional. A cabinet can double as a serving station while a stool works as a place to sit as well as a side table. Have room for an ottoman or bench? Choose one with a lifting lid or seat and use it for lightweight throw blankets, kids’ toys or chair cushions. (You can even find storage ottomans where the lid, turned over, doubles as a serving tray.)
  2. Stack things up. A set of nesting tables is super-handy for a patio short on space. Un-stack them when you’re entertaining, place them wherever you want them, then nest them back together after your guests have left.   
  3. Or fold them down. You can find stylish folding tables and chairs designed specifically for patios in a variety of materials and sizes. 
  4. Go vertical. Take advantage of patio walls. Attach shelving for potted plants or hang a drop-down wall cabinet for housing barware, grilling accessories or everyday gardening gear, such as trowels and gloves.

The Spin on Outdoor Ceiling Fans

Basic Tips to Keep in Mind Before You Buy

An outdoor ceiling fan is a great way to help keep your patio or sunroom comfortable when the temperature rises, especially during the dog days of summer. And with styles that include everything from sleek, contemporary designs and vintage looks to tropical “palm leaves,” you’re sure to find a fan to complement your décor. 

While a style that suits your space is a definite must, you’ll also need to take the following technical features into account when narrowing down your options. 

  • Damp-rated vs. wet-rated. Outdoor fans with a damp rating are designed to be installed in a sheltered area, like a sunroom or screened porch. These fans can take humidity, but not direct exposure to water. Fans with a wet rating are designed to withstand direct moisture, making them ideal for an open porch or patio. (Do not use a dry-rated fan outdoors. Dry-rated fans are for indoor use only.)
  • Flush-mount vs. hanging. You’ll need about 7 to 10 feet of space between the fan and the floor—so if you have a small space or one with a low profile, a flush-mount fan is probably your best option. If you have high ceilings, opt for a hanging fan with a down rod.
  • Blade span. Blade span (or blade sweep) is how ceiling fans are measured. Blade span reaches from the tip of one fan blade to the tip of the blade directly across from it. The measure of the blade span is the diameter of the circle created when the fan blades are in motion.

    The appropriate blade span for your space depends on the space’s size. For example, a fan with a blade span of 52 to 60 inches works well for a 12 x 12 or 16 x 16 space; a larger space requires a larger blade span.
  • Air circulation. You’ll obviously want a fan that creates a decent breeze, so take into account the square footage of your room and the fan’s maximum number of cubic feet per minute (CFM). The higher the CFM, the more powerful the fan (an average fan generates about 4,000 CFM).