Outdoor Living Trends for 2020

Beige stone tile patio with gray and wood outdoor furniture stacked stone fireplace under beige pergola with louvers open

As an exhibitor at this year’s International Builders’ Show (IBS)—the housing industry’s largest annual trade show and exhibition—held in Las Vegas from January 21-23, we saw so many products that support the hottest trends for 2020 outdoor living, including our own pivoting louvered structures. In fact, StruXure Outdoor, in collaboration with Phantom Screens and Somfy, received IBS’s Best Outdoor Product Award for our integrated exhibit: the Outdoor Living Experience (outdoor-living-experience.com). Read on to find out what’s trending in 2020.


Often, we think of trends as fleeting, and sometimes they are, but the true definition of a trend is the general direction in which something tends to move, be it short-term or longer. When it comes to outdoor living, features like container gardens, modern ceiling fans, and fire pits were past trends that not only are still around, but really helped move the simple patio (that mostly got used between Memorial and Labor Days) toward something much more significant: a fully-equipped living space outside. All of the trends we are watching for 2020 point to the reality that outdoor living is no longer a seasonal aspiration. In fact, extending a home’s livable space to the outdoors in ways that enable it to be used year-round is what’s driving the following movements.


  1. Outdoor Kitchens

The outdoor kitchen has taken the backyard BBQ to an entirely new level. These kitchens have framed-in cabinets and countertops, and likely include add-ons like sinks, a wine fridge, and even a pizza oven, not to mention mega-grills that take seconds to light and minutes to heat up. Whether constructed with stone or brick, full- or half-walls, decorative backsplashes, or coordinated flooring, many outdoor kitchens are being placed under roofed structures for added protection from the elements. All of this speaks to the overriding trend of using a home’s outdoor space as an extension of the indoor space.


  1. Defining Spaces

Just as the interior of a home has separate spaces for dining, cooking, and lounging, the new trend for outdoor living is to define spaces for various activities. It’s a sign that outdoor living is becoming more than just seasonal, as definition of spaces represents permanence and stability. From vertical gardens to uniquely painted floors, delineating spaces feels homey and is a unique way to add personal style.


  1. Furniture with a Twist

Outdoor furniture will continue its evolution to look more like indoor furniture—couches will be larger, chairs will be cozier, and ottomans will no longer be an indoor-only accessory. There will also be a focus on flexible, dual-purpose pieces. Tables will hide coolers. Ottomans will open to reveal extra storage. And in a slightly different take on furniture with a twist, there will be a play on the hammock in the form of hanging sofas and chairs.


  1. Family Gardens

Planter boxes that double as seating became popular several years ago, as homeowners began expanding their views of what outdoor spaces could become. Planter boxes will continue to be useful in 2020, but instead of filling them with decorative flowers, plants, or grasses, the trend will be toward creating family gardens. There’s no better way to teach future generations the value of plant-based food sources than letting them grow their own vegetables and herbs. The planters may still offer a seating component, but will take on a new utilitarian importance.


  1. Year-round Fireplaces

Firepits were a long-lasting trend, and are still cool in certain settings, but the outdoor fireplace is the latest in alfresco cozy. Fireplaces are being designed for year-round use, and as such are being built to last. Due to their vertical construction, they are grander than a fire pit, and can be seen as the anchor of an outdoor zone. They not only provide warmth and ambiance, but they can increase a property’s value.


  1. Mixed Materials

Singular materials are no longer on trend. An all concrete outdoor space, for example, will not provide the warmth and comfort needed for year-round use. Instead, a mix of materials, like wood, wicker, aluminum and metals, can offer the flexibility needed to create the look and feel desired. No longer will there be a need to choose between wooden decking and pavers. Use both and use them to your advantage. Not only does a mix of materials add warmth, but it’s yet another way of delineating the “rooms” in your outdoor living space.


  1. Unique Lighting

From color strips to funky fixtures, lighting, too, adds definition to spaces while offering personal expression. Expect to see more outdoor fixtures that seem equally appropriate for a home’s interiors. Also, look for color-changing strip lighting that can be integrated into the framing of an outdoor structure and can be operated at the touch of a remote control or digital app.


Beauty, technology, and functionality all contribute to a great outdoor space, but perhaps most  important is the comfort factor. Whether your project is trending or not, will you, your family, and guests feel good in the spaces that you are creating? Will you be warm enough or cool enough? Will you be protected from the elements year-round? For more information about making the most of your outdoor space, contact StruXure Outdoor.