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Patio Makeover: Italian Inspired

Today we’re taking a lifeless small patio and giving it an Italian Inspired makeover! It’s filled with small patio ideas for zoning off different spaces, why a wood fire pizza oven is a must have for summer, and different furniture combos that will help you achieve this look. All furniture/shopping links are below! 

Lounge side of a patio makeover with basket lanterns, a love seat and foot stool. Pizza oven table with a wood fired pizza oven, plants, cutting boards, aperol spritz, and a cheese board.

This Patio Makeover: Italian Inspired has been one of my favorites!

Every now and then I get a makeover project and it really gets my creative juices flowing!

In 2018 I got to makeover my rental kitchen. In 2019 I gave my assistant Abbie a kitchen makeover. We all know what happened in 2020… and NOW! The patio makeover of the year! This Italian Inspired patio makeover for my friends Sierra and Evan has been one of my most special projects to date. 

I wanted to create them a space where they could relax and entertain their friends.

Be sure to check how we made the DIY Basket Lanterns here!

Find all the details and the whole story below!

Three people enjoying a lounge space on a love seat and a footstool having a cocktail.

Who’s Patio is this?

This is one of my very best friends/work wife Sierra and her fiancé Evan’s patio!

I work with Sierra in the social media world and we are best of friends on the weekends. Her dog Quinn and our dog Rascal are pretty much married. I slid into her DM’s two years ago and invited her to my bohemian dinner party and the rest is history. 

If you’ve been a reader for a while then you know I LOVE an outdoor space, check out my old backyard makeover here.

Unfortunately, we lost our backyard when we moved into our new loft space. In California it’s very hard to get eveeeerything you want in a house without paying a fortune for it. So while we’re taking a break from patio life for now, I get to reep the benefits of my friends spaces! 

When I first saw Sierra and Evan’s new patio I was SO curious to see what they would do with the space. After a few months went by they hadn’t really touched it. I couldn’t stand their blank patio canvas anymore and threw out the idea of a makeover, they jumped on board 100%, gave me freedom to do whatever and we got to WORK. 

Mission Patio Makeover: Italian Inspired was a go! 

A before picture of the pizza oven side of the patio. The before image of the patio makeover with minimal furniture and decor. The before side of the lounge area of the patio with a small grey bench.

What did the patio look like before?

The before pictures of the patio are a little…bland. There was a few small pieces of furniture but not a whole lot going on.

Luckily, I had pretty much a blank canvas to work with! Sierra and Evan’s focus has been on the inside part of their apartment but they were excited about a full transformation for the patio. The first time I saw the space I knew it had some GREAT potential.

The view is filled with greenery and trees and all the outdoor walls were white which made for a bright space to work with. 

A mood board for the patio makeover project.

Inspiration for the makeover:

The makeover was inspired by Sierra’s Italian roots. I knew going into it that I wanted the patio space to have an Italian countryside vibe that could instantly transform her back home on a warm day with a frozen aperol spritz

Sierra initially had a hard time defining her style (very fair, I do to!) so I asked her questions like where she liked to shop, some of her favorite interior design instagram accounts and how she would use the space for inspiration. She loved looks like Studio McGee and stores like Serena and Lily. This gave me plenty of info to get a design plan going! 

We kept the color palette filled with neutral tones like creams, whites and subtle pops of blue for an Italian aesthetic. It’s helpful to create a mood board for the project to keep everything cohesive. I created a little inspiration for each ‘zone’ with canva. Speaking of zones… let’s chat about how we mapped out the space!

A circle dining table with two wicker chairs on top of a blue and white rug.

Zones for Small Patio Makeover Ideas

When you’re working with a small outdoor area, it’s important to create zones within the space.

Zones will help the area feel larger and keep different sections from being out of proportioned. It’s a bit trickier working with a smaller space but you can comfortably create 2-3 zones if you use multi-purpose furniture like stools as extra tables and console tables that can be used for gardening purposes or entertaining. 

Some zone ideas that work well for a balcony can range from: dining spaces, small lounge areas, small movie projector set-ups, food table, planting space, small bar table, etc. 

For Sierra and Evan’s patio we went with a pizza making station, a cozy lounge spot and a small dining space. 

A wood fired oven pizza table decorated with baskets, planters, cocktail glasses, and a cheeseboard.

The Pizza Station

The pizza station was pretty high on Evan’s wish list for the patio. We chatted about doing a bbq station but ultimately pivoted with a wood fired pizza oven and I am SO glad we did. 

I went with the Ooni Wood Pallet Pizza Oven and it was a great choice. I loved the pizza oven because it operated solely off wooden pallets which was ideal for their small space (I didn’t want a propane tank lingering around). Ooni does make hybrid pizza ovens that operate off gas and pallets but I loved the freedom we had with this style. 

You may be wondering, is the pizza good?! Yes, it’s damn good. This pizza oven reaches temps up to 950 F and quickly! You can have delicious homemade, wood fired pizza in less than five minutes. The crust has just the right amount of crunch and chewiness and the flavor from the wood fire is unbelievable. 

If you’re on the fence about one, I highly recommend going for it. 

Alongside the pizza oven we decked out the table with a small Spritz making station and a few olive trees, lavender and herbs to add to our Italian motif. 

Pizza Table – Thrifted
Pizza Oven
Aperol Spritz Glasses
Planters (basket)
Planters (terra cotta)
Basket Weave Salad Bowls 
Crochet Pouf
Blue Bottles

On the wooden pizza table are three different bottles of aperol and a glass made with an aperol spritz. A girl sitting on a stool holding an aperol spritz.

The Lounge Area 

Sierra’s big wish for the patio was a comfy area she could come out to work on her laptop in the sunshine. This cozy loveseat lounge area we created was made for just that. 

With a smaller space I always opt for a love seat or two small lounge chairs rather than a large couch. A larger piece of furniture can instantly make the space feel closed off. We jazzed it up with blue and white throw pillows, a cute foot stool (that doubles as an appetizer table!) and more plants!

Up above we did a DIY Basket Lantern instillation with Sierra’s best friend Jackie! that tied the whole look together. 

Fabric Foot Stool 
Blue Throw Pillows 
Wireless Movie Projector
Skinny Small Stool 

Lanterns hanging over an outdoor love seat with a small stool with a projector on it.

A cheeseboard on a wooden platter sitting on fabric foot stool. Two people sitting on an outdoor love seat with their feet on a foot stool.


Dining Space

There is nothing quite like dining al fresco, especially in California. A small dining area was a must. We put the dining table right in the middle so the area had a bit more flow. I liked the thought of people being able to sit in the lounge area and at the dining table and still be able to talk to each other because the spaces were close together.

I fell in love with this Terrazzo table and bistro chairs. They fit the color palette we were going for and still gave a little California edge. The table is super sturdy and fits the space perfectly.

Opting for a round table in a small area is ideal because you’ll never hit your hip on a sharp corner as you’re walking by. The bistro chairs are stackable. We set up the space with two chairs but you could easily add on two more if needed! 

Dining Table
Bistro Chairs
Blue Dishes
Wireless Bluetooth Speaker 

A round dining table with a cheese board and an aperol spritz on top. Two girls enjoying a cocktail on an outdoor dining table set.

How to give the space personality 

I think in any space it’s SO important to show off a little personality. It takes the space from decorated to truly feeling yours. We did this by keeping the Italian aesthetic strong in each zone and adding in items that made the space feel very customized.

For this patio, the Sonos bluetooth speaker and the totally wireless (seriously not one wire!) movie projector gave the space a ‘wow’ factor. I was inspired by the blank wall above the pizza oven and knew instantly it would be the perfect spot for an outdoor movie night

Now not only do they have a gorgeous patio but their house instantly becomes the pizza/outdoor movie night house and there is something so charming and special about that!

Enjoy your newfound outdoor space Sierra, Evan & Quinnie! XOXO – p.s. when’s the next pizza night?!

A slice of pizza being pulled off of a wooden cutting board. A blank wall with a movie being projected on it in the evening.

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