Add a hammock to your patio. ATTRIBUTION: Personal Creations (Flickr)

A patio is the perfect summer hangout. This outdoor living space is a great place to enjoy barbecues with family and friends, snuggle up in a hammock with a good book, or make gooey s’mores over a crackling fire. If your patio has been neglected over the past few seasons, a few simple updates can help you make the space feel like new.

Install a Swing or Hammock

Hanging a swing or hammock on your patio is a relatively inexpensive way to get you out of the house to enjoy your backyard. If you have sturdy, mature trees near your patio, use them as supports. You can also purchase a hammock or swing that comes with its own stand. If you want a bit of shade, consider hanging a swing from a pergola. Swing beds are a trendy alternative to traditional swings: They’re essentially oversize swings that can hold a mattress and can be adorned with curtains for privacy.

Create a Second Living Room

Who says your living space must be limited to inside your home? With the right furniture and décor, you can create a second living room in your own backyard. Consider adding stylish pieces like an outdoor sectional, exterior rug, and wood-burning chiminea. To keep your second living room cool and comfortable, block the sun using outdoor curtains or a patio umbrella.

Incorporate Fire

While endless sources of entertainment can be added to your patio, a fire feature remains one of the most popular. A fire pit, fire table, or outdoor fireplace can act as a natural gathering place that’s both functional and enjoyable to be around. Whether you prefer a portable wood-burning fire pit or a sleek, contemporary gas model, a fire pit surrounded by seating can act as a great centerpiece for your patio (and a great place to roast marshmallows, too).

Add Trendy Light Sources

Lighting can transform an outdoor space while also providing safety and security at night. There are many great options available, such as globe string lights, industrial chandeliers, outdoor ceiling fans, and decorative wall lanterns. When shopping for outdoor lights, opt for LEDs which use 90 percent less energy than incandescent lights, saving you money over time. Save even more by using solar-powered lights that harness power from the sun during the day and release light at night.

Put in Pavers or Stones

If your patio floor has seen better days, cover it up using pavers or stones. While this can be a time-consuming project, covering your patio with pavers or stones can add color, design, and dimension that transforms the look of your outdoor space. Natural stone pavers can typically be cut into shapes to create a customized, elegant design that fits the space. Pavers and stones can also be used to create walkways from your patio to your garden, house, or guest house. Use larger pavers or stones to connect areas such as the fire pit, pool deck, and bar.