04/29/2014 04:40 pm ET Updated Jun 29, 2014

Styling Outdoor Spaces

It's the time of year when everything moves outside. Whether you have a patio, balcony, back porch, front step, rooftop, terrace -- it's the season to take advantage of whatever you've got. It doesn't matter if the space is large or small, make it something you love.

The key with styling an outdoor space begins in what you ultimately intend to use it for. If you envision it being a spot for dining and entertaining, that's a different element than something you want to use to kick back or lounge around. If you have enough space, it can be both -- and that doesn't mean it has to be overly large. Today's home stores offer outdoor furniture to accommodate areas of all size. With things like bistro tables and folding furniture, you can create something that encompasses a little bit of everything without necessarily needing a big space to cover.

While a lot of outdoor spaces gear towards the traditional furniture styles, the options to mix things up are far greater than they have ever been before. Companies like CB2 and West Elm have pieces that are anything but the traditional and work just fine for outside. Items incorporate the durable classics in terms of materials (wood, metal/iron, plastic) but utilize a range of interesting color palettes, shapes and sizes. It means you can have an outdoor space that doesn't just fit your needs, but absolutely fits your own personal taste and style.

Just the same, there are more accessories and accents than ever. Outdoor lighting has exploded in terms of availability, and the choices you have today are pretty incredible. Hurricane lamps, giant oversized candles, tea lights, table top lighting, lanterns -- the list is endless. Even string lights, which began predominantly as paper lanterns in pretty colors, have expanded to so many tastes, types and styles. You'll also find outdoor pillows, rugs, umbrellas and other accessories, even art. It's all water-proof and weather-proof so you can leave things to the elements (within reason) all spring and summer. Grills are also more abundant with everything from giant cooking stations to tiny pieces that can work in the smallest of spaces. Just be sure to check for fire hazard and building restrictions if you're renting or in an apartment.

The approach to styling your space begins with assessing how you want to use the space as mentioned above. If it's going to be for dining and cooking only, put your focus on the table and build everything around it. Select a table that fits your personal taste and aesthetic -- round, square, large or small, you'll find a lot of choices. Tiled tables are on trend, along with classic wood in unique shapes and styles. From here, build on your accessories and lighting. Take these same steps with whatever use for the space you have in mind. Don't be afraid to go with color! The outdoor area has gone far beyond the usual taupe, tan, white and other neutrals to big, bright colors, pared down tones, even neons. Mix and match colors, play with prints. Then bring in pillows, lighting and other accessories to make it an area that is all your own.

To check out favorite picks for the patio and all of this month's edition of Condiment Magazine, visit