With the kids back in school, your calendar is probably heating up. But just when an evening spent relaxing on the patio is most needed, the cooling temperatures seem to conspire against you. But there is good news! Covered outdoor living areas give you the chance to maximize your patio’s usage even as the seasons change.

There are a handful of immediate benefits you reap when you cover your patio. When you protect your outdoor space from the elements, you can leave pillows and throws outside. You also create a sheltered area from which you can enjoy the seasonal rainstorms and the ever-earlier sunsets. And because the area gets less exposure, you can invest in nicer, comfier patio furniture. Whether you prefer a solitary evening to unwind or want to enjoy the versatile space with friends before the busyness of the holidays, your covered patio will deliver. If you want some inspiration for your own covered outdoor living area, read on for 12 stunning examples.

12 covered outdoor living areas

Cover your patio to create a space that marries fresh air and comfortable furniture. Image: Highgate House

Add a fire element to keep the fall chill away as you enjoy the view. Image: Glynis Wood Interiors

A ceiling that can be either opened or closed gives you options during the fluctuating fall temperatures. Image: Overland Partners

Sloped roofs are ideal for protecting covered outdoor living areas from moisture. Image: Coats Homes

Sinking your covered patio into the surrounding area helps protect it from the elements. Mirror the architectural effect in your ceiling for an added wow factor. Image: Mirage Landscape

Lighting is key in helping your covered outdoor living area feel welcoming. A fireplace adds natural light and warmth. Image: Rolling Stone Landscapes

Curtains make your outdoor area feel extra cozy. Plus, even sheer panels can help you keep wind chill at bay. Image: Andrew Mann Architecture

Just because you’re covering your patio doesn’t mean you have to separate it from the natural elements of your yard. Check out this “window” that feeds into the vertical landscaping against the far wall. Image: Rolling Stone Landscapes

A covered patio is the perfect place for catching a football game this fall. Plus, a large coffee table is an ideal spot to set up your game day appetizers. Image: Coats Homes

Large sliding doors can help you marry your indoor and outdoor living areas. Image: CPM Grupo

You don’t have to build onto your home to create an outdoor living area. Any type of roof will help you create a cozy respite. Image: Reynolds-Sebastiani Design Services

The best covered outdoor living areas mirror their homes’ architectural elements. Image: David Hertz & Studio of Environmental Architecture

Don’t stop here! We’ve got tons of outdoor living area ideas to help you create the perfect cozy outdoor space that you can use even as the temperature drops.