How to Design an Outdoor Space in a Southwest Style

Arwen and Shane Rice live with their daughter in this charming home in Midtown Mobile. Since both Shane and Arwen spend most of their time at home, they wanted an outdoor space that they could enjoy with their family and friends no matter the weather.

The homeowners only had two stipulations. We had $800 to spend and they wanted z Southwest style. Design challenge accepted.

The Rice home has a detached building with a nice covered area ready to be turned into an entertainment space.

The paint color and floor material were already perfect for the Southwest look that they were going for, so I moved forward with planning the flow of the entire space.

I decided to visually divide the area into two distinctive gathering spaces, one for dining and one for casual conversation.

I used an outdoor rug to define the conversation space.

The family had recently purchased a conversation set, so we arranged it over the rug, creating an intimate seating area.

Then, we anchored the entire conversation area with a propane-powered fire table.

Next, we added a patio dining set that the Rices already owned to the opposite end of the space.

I think you have to be really careful about trying to shove too much furniture into a space, but this arrangement works really well because we have two open sides, which makes the room feel much larger.

Once we set the furniture arrangement up and had the room more defined, I got to work placing all the accessories that I found for their new outdoor entertainment room.

I interpreted the idea of Southwest style as being muted tones of earthy colors like green, terracotta, and cream, so that's the color palette I used for the rest of the accessories.

I tried really hard to give the essence of the Southwest style without being overly themey about it.

Where plants were concerned, I tried to find plants that didn't look too tropical and had various colors and textures.

I even added a traditional cactus to the design.

Shane installed two pendant lights to add ambiance and visual texture to the space, and we hung curtains to soften the edges and add privacy and additional rain protection if needed.

I think my favorite part of this design is the fire table. It really adds a warm, cozy element to the entire space.

Southwest style homes

As you can see, Southwest-style homes are best known for incorporating desert-inspired colors, textures, and finishings into a space.

Oftentimes, Southwest-style furniture is made in cream, tan, or brown fabrics while Southwest-style rugs, artwork, and accent pieces bring in pops of rust, orange, red, and green colors, creating a very natural look that blends in well with a desert landscape.

What do you think of the Southwest-style and Southwest-style decor, in particular? Is it for you or would you rather pass on it? Let me know in the comments section.

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