I’ve been updating my outdoor spaces one project at a time. This week I’m focusing on how to update your patio decor on a budget.
Growing up in the Midwest has given me a great appreciation for nature. We have beautiful woodlands and plenty of wildlife. But, our winters are long and if you’ve ever visited, the streets are a buzz with activity in the Summer months. We almost feel like we need to sneak in a years worth of sunshine into three months. 🙂
With that said, it is difficult to spend a lot of money on our outdoor spaces. The snow, rain, sun and humidity take it’s toll on our outdoor furniture, decking and accessories. When you couple that with the fact that our warm season is short, many of us give up the battle!
I’ve invested in a little bit of research and DIY to enjoy our outdoor space in an affordable way and I’m hoping it will help you, too!
CONSIDER THE SIZE AND SCALE OF YOUR PATIO
We purchased our patio furniture nine years ago. I never planned to keep it this long, but it has held up and fits the space. When we purchased it, I measured our patio area and considered the flow of traffic through the space.
Our patio is a landing area for our deck stairway and an entry to our yard. So the first four feet of our patio cannot have any furniture or obstacles. I eliminated that space from my measurements and went shopping for furniture that would fill up the remaining area.
Careful planning ahead of time kept me from overcrowding the small space. There is plenty of room to maneuver around the furniture and it doesn’t feel cluttered.
Spray painting your metal furniture is about as easy as it gets. Honestly, I didn’t spend a lot of time on this step. I power washed it and left it in the sun to dry. Then I painted it with Rustoleum’s Oil Rubbed Bronze all purpose spray paint. There was a little rust on on my furniture, but I didn’t worry about it and sprayed right over it. Since our furniture is left out in the elements all year, I will probably have to paint it again in a couple years. But, I don’t fret about perfection, and keep this project simple so I continue with the maintenance. I used about 5 cans of spray paint for four chairs and the bottom part of my coffee table.
I created a wood plank top for our coffee table. Our patio set had a modern style to it and my taste is a little more casual and rustic. So I made a DIY plank top out of fence pickets and painted it. I will have a tutorial up next week on this project with before pictures.
Sew your own cushion covers. I have a detailed tutorial on how to sew your own cushion covers and another tutorial for sewing outdoor pillow covers. You can reuse the foam and zippers from your old cushions to save money. I chose a durable weatherproof fabric and store my cushions in deck boxes to make them last longer. This is the first time in nine years that I’ve had to recover them.
KEEP EXPENSIVE ITEMS NEUTRAL
I’ve learned this lesson the hard way. In the past, I have gone out on a whim and purchased trendy, bold colored items. I usually love them for a season, but then my taste changes and I tire of them. Especially when the retail trends change.
I try to keep the furniture neutral and add bursts of color to dress things up. It’s much less expensive to replace outdoor pillows and accessories then it is to replace furniture or your main outdoor cushions.
I add pops of color with throw pillows, rugs, flowers and accessories.
ADD GREENERY AND FLOWERS
We invested in our landscaping early on. Our focus was on trees, shrubs and perennials that would add interest throughout the four seasons. We have had our share of landscaping fails over the years, but that has taught us to slow down and think through each purchase.
Things to consider: Soil type and drainage, amount of sunlight and direction of sunlight, amount of water needed, privacy needs, and will it be deer and rabbit resistant.
When it comes to color, nothing beats annuals. To keep the price down, I purchase flats of annuals and plant them in pots each spring. If you use good potting soil and water them regularly, they will grow surprisingly fast. I also reuse my pots each year. Nothing beats the beautiful continuous blooms that annuals provide.
Unfortunately, the deer love most of my annuals. So I usually limit them to pots and keep them on my deck during the evening hours.
The best time to purchase patio items is mid-July through late summer. It’s true that your selection will be limited, but this is when the deep discounts begin to appear. I was able to purchase my 8 foot round outdoor rug for half price in July.
Consider purchasing items that can be used indoors and out. My lanterns will work well as an indoor accessory when summer is over. The same is true with serving trays and kitchen items. Using items with dual purpose will also eliminate the need for extra storage solutions.
I wait all year long for those warm, cozy summer nights on our patio. I remember as a kid running around barefoot catching firefly’s. It just fills my heart to hang out in my backyard with my family.
I also love the warm glow of candles. Since we already have Edison bulbs on our deck, I needed to come up with a different solution for our patio. Someday we may invest in landscape lighting, but for now, I am happy with Flameless LED lights. These lights are a warm color and flicker a little, like a real candle.
I had a bunch of Oui Yogurt jars that I’ve been collecting. I added a little sand/rocks in the bottom of the jars and set the candles on top. If you want to leave them outside, you can purchase plastic lids for the jars here.
I also added some larger LED Candles in my lanterns. I purchased mine at a store, but there are some similar ones here. They are waterproof and have a remote.
I also always light a couple of citronella candles to keep the bugs away.
Did you find this post useful or inspiring? Hover over the images below and save these pins to your Outdoor Patio Board on Pinterest.
I hope this post gave you some ideas to update your patio decor on a budget. Thanks for stopping by!