Do you have a patio, porch or stoop that could use a facelift? If so, you don’t have to spend a lot of money to get big changes. You can really save if you do it at the time of year when outdoor stuff is on sale, which is late summer.
We have a patio in our house that is surrounded by the master bedroom, the kitchen and another bedroom. It’s visible from most of the house. There’s a giant oak tree in the center. The tree makes it very messy during the fall, but cooler and shady. It has been a badly neglected part of our house since we moved in.
We knew our patio needed help, but we didn’t want to spend much making it look great. I’ve seen so many photos of beautiful outdoor living areas. Unfortunately, the budgets are as much as it would cost to refurnish my actual living room.
Follow these tips to makeover your outdoor space on a tight budget.
Give Your Patio a Good Cleaning
This is a very boring step, but a necessary one. Outdoor spaces get so much dirt that accumulates in a fairly short amount of time. Anything outside can get a layer of dirt in just a few weeks.
Cleaning your outdoor space can be done with a broom, a sponge, a hose (or water) and some elbow grease. If you have access to a power washer it can be a game changer.
To clean our space I power washed all of the siding and wood trim. I used soap and water to loosen up the dirt that built up over the years. Unfortunately, the broom didn’t make a dent in our messy porch. Next we washed the windows. I’m ashamed to say we had never cleaned the windows in the many years we have lived here. These few things, took me most of a day.
Furnish the Space
The second step was to make it look like a place where you could spend time instead of just passing through. For that we needed to define an area, just like you do inside your home.
Decide if you want a seating area for having drinks or more of a dining space where you can have a meal. Once you know how you will use your space, add these four things to make it feel like a room: seating, tables, lighting and a rug.
Seating can be chairs or a small couch depending on the size of your space is a must. You can also add small dining chairs if you plan for a dining space.
My favorite place for outdoor seating is Pier1. I wanted some outdoor seating that could weather the elements but looked in keeping with the Tudor style of our home. We purchased two of these chairs. Pier1 has tons of great inexpensive patio furniture. Consider whether your space is covered or open to the air before you buy. Overstock.com also has great prices on outdoor furniture.
You can opt for a small side table, a coffee table or something larger depending on what type of space you want to create. Consider the bug situation in your area. I knew we wouldn’t dine outside, but we would use the space for having a drink.
If you have electricity lighting can add some much needed charm to a space. String lights can add such a festive feel to your outdoor space. I bought these outdoor lights. It was 48 feet for only $35. They came packaged very nicely. We just stapled them into our brick to secure them.
If you don’t have electricity, don’t distress. Lanterns bring just as much warmth and charm. You can even add LED candles to them.
Rugs are the easiest way to define spaces. There have been SOOO many amazing outdoor rugs that have come on the market in the last few years. You can get one for less than $100 and they can be cleaned with a hose.
I purchased an outdoor rug from World Market, which was on my front porch for a few years and relocated it to the back. The rug I have is no longer available but there are so many great outdoor rugs on the market like this one or this one and they are so inexpensive. This article has lots more information about choosing an outdoor rug.
To round out the space I purchased the bicycle pillows from Home depot for $7 each.
Plants can make a huge difference in outdoor and indoor spaces alike. What you decide to buy depends on the conditions in your area.
I live in Texas and it was August when I decided to makeover our patio to take advantage of sales. The plants I purchased had to be heat tolerant. That can drastically limit your options. I chose terracotta pots because they are porous and allow air and water to get through to the plant. As an additional bonus they are also very affordable.
When I look at the space now, I wonder why I didn’t do this years ago. There is so much of our house that overlooks this courtyard.
Are you looking for more suggestions about how to makeover your patio or courtyard without spending a lot? Here are some more great resources.