How to Live Outdoors: Patios, Porches, and More

Spring is beginning to brighten up the South Carolina coast. With longer days and warmer temperatures on the horizon, it’s the perfect time to think about refreshing your porch or patio design. Read on for our key components to consider while creating uniquely beautiful outdoor living spaces that you’ll never want to leave.

Outdoor setup

Design With Nature In Mind

When designing an outdoor living space, don’t compete with the natural landscape. Complement it. Survey the available space and make note of the features you love most, those you wish to see less of, and the natural resources at hand. Homes with ocean views of the Atlantic will have different priorities than those in downtown Charleston, just as homes in marshy Lowcountry areas will have different outdoor living space designs than those in the Carolina mountains.

Orient your designs to face beautiful views. Make the most of natural light and shade if your scenery is more limited. Keep in mind how blooming plants and foliage will affect your space during different seasons, as they may bring pollen, rogue leaves, or bugs that love the blooms even more than you do.

Leisurely Lounge Spaces

Create seated areas with furniture positioned just so to catch the perfect amount of sun and breeze. An artful collection of seating and decor can make open-air and outdoor spaces just as welcoming as your interiors.

Design your outdoor furniture with fabrics and materials that are meant to withstand sun, heat, humidity, and rain. Ceramic garden stools are moisture-resistant and add a classic Southern touch to any patio. The Jupiter Sofa and Lounge Chair are both made with woven materials and teak for long-lasting, elegant seating. Browse our outdoor furniture selections for more accents like outdoor throw pillows, poufs, and coffee tables that bring color and balance to your space.

For Charleston-style porches, it’s popular to incorporate drapery. This gives a little more privacy, potential shade from summer sun, and an elegant touch. Choose lighter neutrals in lightweight fabrics, like linen, for a serene atmosphere.

Open Air Dining

There’s something so special about outdoor dining experiences. Whether you’re hosting a formal dinner party or a more intimate group, creating your own outdoor dining space elevates even the simplest of meals. 

If your open-air dining set is centered atop an uncovered patio, choose your furniture wisely. Tables, chairs, benches, and accents should be created from materials that weather it all, from bouts of rain to periods of high exposure to sun. If your dining set is on an extended porch or a covered patio, you will still want to look for high-quality, weather-resistant furniture, but you have a little more freedom with choosing your accents.

The Sag Harbor Round Dining table is a great option for designers wanting to incorporate natural elements in a sophisticated way. The hand-woven table features a pedestal base and tempered glass top. Dining chair sets are available to match, creating elegant outdoor dining just steps from your home. 

Proper lighting can also enhance an open-air dining space, turning dinners lit by evening sunsets into an ambient dessert and nightcap atmosphere. Oil lanterns, bistro lights, and candles in fine votives provide just enough light to extend a dining experience well into the night.

Updated Porch Swings

A focal point of porches across the Southeast, the porch swing holds a certain cherished nostalgia. It’s inherently welcoming and adds warmth to every outdoor area. Create a swing that you’ll want to sit and relax in all day long by including the right upholstered seat, throw pillows, accents, and unique hardware.

Choose weather-resistant outdoor throw pillows to add color and comfort to your porch swing. You may want to choose earth tones and shades that draw from the natural scenery. Blues, greens, and soft muted shades complement the coastal atmosphere around our home of Charleston. 

Don’t forget to add side tables, like our new Creekside Console Table, or garden stools nearby to complete the space. These accents make the space more visually grounded while serving the practical purpose of adding surface area to hold a good book, glass of sweet tea, cheese plate, or other light bites while you relax and entertain.

Design outdoor patios and porches to fit your lifestyle while complementing the natural world by using the elements around your space, selecting elements that mesh form and function, and choosing beautiful furniture that is meant to be lived in. Find more furniture and home design inspiration by browsing our site, or work directly with one of the GDC Home designers to create artful living spaces for your home, patios, porches, and more.


Explore more of our latest styles and keep up-to-date with design trends by following GDC Home on our social platforms below. View our gallery and use the hashtag to find your next design inspiration!

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