With more time spent at home this year, getting some fresh air and spending time outside the home is growing in popularity. Even before the pandemic, the demand for outdoor living space has been growing. A majority of home buyers (87 percent) ranked “patio” among the top essential features in a home, according to a recent analysis from the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB). Expanding your living space outdoors can help you enjoy nature, relax and safely entertain while social distancing. The following are a few design tips to help you enjoy the outdoors and create your own home oasis.

Select Outdoor Seating. Choose patio chairs or sofas designed to withstand the elements. Furniture materials such as teak or high-quality wicker are ideal for outdoor use. If you’re purchasing outdoor seating online, double-check the measurements. Large or bulky furniture can make your living space fill cramped or disrupt the flow from outdoors to indoors. Consider purchasing lightweight furniture, so it can be easily moved around your deck or patio.

Incorporate Lighting Fixtures. If you prefer to spend time outdoors after dusk or before dawn, you’ll need a solution to brighten up your space. If you have a smaller outdoor living space, string lights are optimal. For a larger space, add decorative lanterns or small lamps on side tables to illuminate your outdoor living area.

Embrace Colors and Patterns. Adding bright hues or eye-catching patterns is appealing for any outdoor space. Another option is to select neutral cushions or pillows and to paint wood furniture your favorite color. Make sure to select paint and primer optimal for outdoor use.

Accessorize. If you have patio furniture, new pillow or cushions can create a more inviting space and accent tables can refresh any patio set up. Patio umbrellas can also add pizzazz to your outdoor living space and a quick drying rug can make smaller outdoor spaces cozier.

Gussy up with Greenery. Potted plants and flowers are a stylish addition to any outdoor living space. When picking out the perfect plants for your patio, consider the amount of sun or shade in your outdoor space. Care instructions for plants are easily found online or on plant tags if you are shopping in stores.