This year, Rottet and her team designed the rooftop terrace at the 43rd Annual Kips BProvided

Although summer may be winding down, we still have a few weeks of rooftop parties and fire escape barbecues left on our calendar.

And since city dwellers don’t have sprawling backyards, interior designer Lauren Rottet, the founding principal and president of Rottet Studio, tells us five key ways to jazz up a tiny outdoor space.

Pick your style

“You can go two ways with a small space,” says Rottet. The first is a minimalist approach. For this, the designer recommends including just the essentials: “a couple of really beautiful big plants, one lovely little lounge chair and a tiny end table.”


If your style is bolder, Rottet says sometimes the more wall interest you create, the bigger the space can feel.

“You want to really control where your eye goes,” she says. “That’s the whole secret to design, period.”

Keep their eyes focused on one pretty spot by “hanging plants on a wall, painting designs or adding decals,” she says. “The point is, whatever you see as you come out the door to your outdoor space, that wall needs to catch the eyes immediately.”

Don’t be afraid to decorate with white

“White is the perfect way to feel summer clean,” says the expert. She loves oversized white cotton or linen throw pillows for an instant “refreshing and cool feeling.” And since white gets dirty quickly, Rottet says skip the expensive brands and opt for chic styles from stores such as Ikea. Another favorite of hers: Turkish towels. “They’re these pretty hand towels that are so bohemian chic and they’re very popular right now.” Rottet likes to drape them over chairs.

Sip in style

You don’t need a big table to be party ready. Serve your drinks or snacks in style by wheeling them out on a bar cart. “All you have to do is bring out your pitcher of tea or martinis and you have a cute serving spot,” says Rottet.

Add a teepee

“There’s a big trend towards teepees. You tell your friends to bring their pillows, and you all sort of have a teepee party. It’s that ‘gather around, bohemian, quasi-back to nature thing,’” says Rottet.

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