how to redo a patio- cheap ideas
It’s officially spring! I started working on my patio this weekend- I’ve been planning it for months. To be honest, I struggled with how to share about it- does anyone even care right now?! I know that there are much bigger things going on. It weighs heavily on me. But since the furniture is arriving and it gives me a bit of joy to spend time outside, I thought I’d still show the process.
Then I got this message-
Any tips on how to make a backyard space cute on a very limited budget? My space is so beige and blah and dead and I don’t even know where to begin
I figure lots of people are also itching for more happy places to spend the days while being stuck at home, so let’s dig in!
patio cheap ideas
Because yes- I’d love to share ideas for how to upgrade a boring yard! I’ve had this blog for almost 5 years and have tons of DIY projects and decorating tricks that I’ve done on my outside spaces through the years.
I thought I’d share my 15 favorite ideas for how to give an outdoor living space an upgrade. Because really, you don’t have to spend a lot of money to have a great backyard! Here’s some ideas that can change everything.
1. Make some cozy and cute pillows
Did you know that for $3 you can buy outdoor fabric and make a pillow cover? Lots of outdoor fabric is available to purchase on Etsy (without leaving the house) and then it’s pretty easy to sew it. I have the super simple instructions here. If you can sew a line, you can make one!
Pillows are where you can add pattern, color, and softness to a space- especially outside! This is where you can inject personality and a little fun
These pictures are from my deck when I lived in a tiny condo and this was our only outdoor space. I redid it for $350 including new flooring and lighting. I have so many great memories from this small space! It’s actually where Don took his first steps.
2. redo the furniture that you do have
When we bought our first home- a condo in 2008, my husband and I grabbed an inexpensive outdoor furniture set at Home Depot. As time went on, I was ready for a change. The furniture was fine, but dated. So instead of replacing the furniture, I gave it a fresh look with a makeover!
The chairs got painted and I recovered the faded cushions. The table also received fresh paint and then I created a new top with wood that I made myself. It took time, but it was inexpensive. Here’s a post with more in-depth instructions if you have something old that you’d like to breathe new life into. What do you have that you could update with a little elbow grease?
Side note, I’m always asked which paint to use on outdoor furniture. Hands down, my answer is spray paint rated for outdoor use. It’ll last and it’s the what I prefer to use when redoing outdoor furniture.
3. Paint the walls
A few years ago, my family rented a house in Florida- that’s when we fell in love with the area! In the back was a little covered patio right off the pool. The walls were plywood with huge gaps. It was not pretty! But with some caulk and lots of paint, it looked perfect! You’d never now the walls had been such a mess! The painted stripes also helped conceal the flaws.
4. Create ambiance with cafe lights
One thing you really want to consider is how an outdoor area will look at night. One of the best ways to use a patio or deck is by hanging out after the sun sets. And for that, you definitely want lights! Stringing cafe lights is affordable and SO magical! Honestly, there isn’t anything better than sitting under a canopy of sparkly lights.
5. Buy used furniture
If you don’t have something on hand, search OfferUp or Facebook Marketplace for outdoor furniture you like. This is so much more affordable than buying something new! The console shown above was $50 and I added Plexiglas glass.
Below are chairs I bought used that I combined with a new table. I didn’t like the fabric on the chairs, so I painted them with chalk paint. These two items added personality and texture and warmth something that you can’t always get with new furniture. Inexpensive doesn’t have to be bad! Hopefully you can see this on my Palm Beach inspired deck.
6. Paint a canvas rug
Every space needs a rug to pull it together! Rugs can be pricey, but I tried a fun project a few months ago that solved that issue. I used an affordable canvas drop cloth (meant for painting) to create a rug that I painted. Mine was small, but a bigger one could work for under a table of a sofa set. Here’s how to make a drop cloth rug.
7. Create a Vertical garden
Wall decor outside can be tricky! Art doesn’t usually make sense in the long term outdoors, but a vertical garden (especially if it’s herbs) can be useful and pretty! Especially if you paint some affordable pots! Flowers would also be beautiful in these. Here’s the instructions if you want to try it too.
8. Build a Swing Stand
For the seating on my Logan patio, I really wanted a swing instead of a sofa. So my husband and I built a stand and used it to hang a swing bought online. It was pretty affordable to make and the lattice is so pretty! At nights, swinging on here while reading a book is probably my favorite way to spend an evening.
9. Add Plants
I know this one might seem obvious, but if a space feels beige and boring it means you need new plants! Grab some at Home Depot and enjoy the literal life they add. Flowers or greenery work great! Or even bring an indoor plant outside while hanging out. It’ll feel lush and cozy and plants usually aren’t that expensive.
My favorite trick for buying a planter on a budget is to buy a terra cotta pot and then painting it. You can get a big pot and then can customize it however you’d like.
10. Create a cute and Kid Friendly space
If you have a child or grandchild that plays in your yard frequently, consider making them a special place to call their own. It can add to a beautiful backyard and what kid doesn’t like playing outside in a little house?! Here’s my plans for how to build an A Frame kids house.
11. Stock Tank Pool
Last summer, one of the best decisions I ever made was buying a stock tank (usually used for watering livestock) and repurposed it for a mini pool for Don and I. He’d play for hours in it and honestly, I’d float on the swan floaty and he’d sit on my lap. A stock tank pool is adorable, it’s fun, and it’s perfect for summer!
12. Paint your fence
Do you have a boring fence? Or maybe you’re like I was and have zero privacy and want an idea for how to build a tall fence on a budget? This rainbow fence gave the yard privacy and it’s cute so it’s decoration too! That’s a major win win in my book!
13. Boho Hammock
Another great way to spend a few months at home, is to hang out in a hammock! It’s cozy and there’s no better way to sneak in a nap than on a hammock. If you care about aesthetics like I do, you can add some fun trim to a basic hammock to make it have a boho vibe! Here’s the full tutorial for this hammock.
14. Set-Up a Pergola
Ok, so this pergola isn’t the best budget friendly idea, but if you want to transform an outdoor living space and have $1300, a pergola is the way to do it! They really distinguish a patio and make it feel special. A pergola is a bit of a splurge, but you’ll get years and years of use out of it.
15. Buy new furniture on a budget
settee / chair / table / elephant end table / umbrella / pink rug / sofa set / inspiration photo
The last tip I have it to shop around to find affordable furniture to purchase. Right now, shopping online for outdoor furniture is probably the best option for getting it if you don’t have any while staying safe.
Above is a mood board for the patio I’m working on now! I’m using all new furniture. I’ll add in a few DIY’s with a painted rainbow wall mural and a DIY umbrella stand. For the furniture, I tried to find affordable pieces that still work with the look I want. Here’s a sneak peek of them on the wall.
I’m planning a rainbow mural on the wall that’ll really be fun. This space is barely started- it still needs rugs and an end table and the umbrella. For now I’m SOOOOO grateful to have a space to sit outside. It’s like we just got another room! I’ve already spent a ton of time out here.
Don has a blow up pool what we’ve been playing in. We had a BBQ the other night and ate on the table and then moved to the sofa and watched the sun set. Pretty much- I 100% suggest working on an outdoor space even it it’s shopping your house and making do with what you have.
Alright! So there’s 15 ideas for how to upgrade a patio on a budget! If you don’t know where to start, I’d suggest to begin thinking about the aspect you’re most excited about. Follow your passion and you’ll have a great space! Let me know if you have any questions in the comments. I’d also love to hear your favorite outdoor space I’ve created so far!
This post contains some affiliate links for your convenience. Click here to read my full disclosure policy.
I think posts like this are a very welcome distraction at a time when the news is so heavy. I’m a relatively new follower and I’ve been loving your fresh ideas for decorating on a budget. I’m dreaming of the day when this all passes by and I’m able to redo our back deck area and this gave me lots of inspiration. Thank you! 💕
[email protected] says
Thanks Marisa! Isn’t it nice to think about something else sometimes? Good luck with your patio, I’m sure it’ll be gorgeous
Thank you so much Ashley 💕 I appreciate the tips and ideas and am excited to get started!!
[email protected] says
You’re so welcome! Outdoor spaces are so gratifying because they don’t take much to make them look good
Ashley! This is not only extremely helpful, it is also evidence that you are sooooo full of incredible ideas! That vertical striped Florida patio was the first time I discovered you and it still makes me so happy!!!
[email protected] says
Aww thank you Jewel! I had so much fun with that patio 😍