With the ever-increasing demand for space in Sydney, it is no surprise that many residents have to battle with small back gardens. This space restriction, in addition to our love of entertaining outdoors, results in many locals opting to install covered roof structures. Whether it be a patio, pergola, roof extension with opening louver blades or shade sale—having a covered space extends the living and entertainment space of a home. One major consideration for smaller spaces though, is how to not make a small space look even smaller, once a roof is installed.

For smaller-roofed entertaining areas there are a number of tricks you can implement to make your space appear larger. Everything from your colour choices, materials, fabrics and style of furniture all work together to create the illusion of space.

Light Colours Open Up Space

This is a fairly common principle, but light colours create space and dark colours retract it. Have you ever stepped into a room in a home that was bright, airy and appeared large, only to then notice the light off-white or white-grey walls? Then looking up you notice the light ceiling matches the window frames, doors, and architraves—and then you felt really light? On the other hand, have you ever stepped foot in room that is darkly painted and felt claustrophobic?

Keep this principle in mind when choosing the colour combination for the finishes of your new backyard structure. Consider what paint colours will make any posts and beams fade into the background, and what combinations will open up the space. Keeping ceiling or louvered roof blades a light colour is always recommended.

Opt for Cut-Out or Low-Backed Furniture Choices

Choose furniture that isn’t too bulky, to continue to expand the illusion of space. Chairs that have cut-out backs (like replica acapulco or bistro chairs) deliver form and functionality whilst still allowing light through. Bench seating can further deliver on this by not having backs that protrude up above the table. You almost can hide bench seats underneath the table which really is the optimal way to not block space.

Soften the Structure With Natural Fabrics

The more you use natural-looking fabrics, the more it will reduce the natural vs built environment division—hence creating more visual space. Hessian, calico, wide-weave cottons and linens all soften an area. Keep in mind your colour choices with any soft furnishings too! You definitely can add pops of colour, but remember that light colours create space under your covered patio or pergola.

Incorporate Potted Plants For a Smooth Transition to the Garden

The more you can reduce the division or garden and entertaining space, the more you will increase the perceived size of space. Potted plants are a great way to extend nature and foliage into the more built-up entertaining area. Again, try to reduce bulky plants that are at eye-height. Occasional hanging pots and individual standing pots can work great.

These are just a few ways to create the feeling of space in restricted or smaller areas where you want to install a patio. Implement these today to make the most of the entertaining and living area of your home.