Pretty Up Your Patio on a Budget With These 10 Projects

Get your patio ready for guests with these easy, wallet-friendly DIYs.

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With outdoor entertaining season upon us, a patio spruce-up is probably on your to-do list. Before you spend a fortune on brand-new furniture and decorations, think about saving money (and keeping stuff out of a landfill) by using what you already have. Got some old outdoor furniture that’s looking worse for wear? Give it a makeover! Have wine bottles, beer cans or extra T-shirts lying around? Upcycle them into lanterns or planters! We've rounded up 10 clever DIYs to help you dress up your patio for less.

BUDGET-FRIENDLY FURNITURE

Macramé Lawn Chair

Even if they're looking a little dated, don't throw away those old folding lawn chairs. Instead, give them a budget-friendly makeover with colorful craft cord.

Mobile Crate Table

DIY Double Duty Outdoor Coffee Tables

DIY Double Duty Outdoor Coffee Tables

Vibrant color, plentiful storage and casual style make this DIY outdoor coffee table perfect for almost any decor.

Photo by: Brian Patrick Flynn, Flynnsideout.com

Brian Patrick Flynn, Flynnsideout.com

If you don't already have wooden crates lying around, you can pick them up for cheap at a big box store. Then, transform them into this storage-packed table on wheels. 

Beach Towel Slipcovers

If your outdoor cushions are looking dingy, you don't have to buy all new ones. Just cover them with easy-sew slipcovers made from inexpensive beach towels, and throw them in the wash when they get dirty.

Steal More Ideas From This Budget Patio Makeover

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Budget Outdoor Living Room Makeover

If your patio is the hub of many summer shindigs, take a look at fun, but practical backyard makeover to get ideas for sprucing up your outdoor living space. 

Start With a Rug

Just as an area rug can create a conversation area inside, it can do the same thing for a patio. Outdoor rugs come in tons of styles, colors and sizes. But, if you do not have a pool leading to wet feet on rugs you can use almost any type of rug outside. See how to turn a canvas drop cloth into an outdoor rug >>

Hanging Plants

Plants make everything more homey. Take a look at what type of plant will work best for your patio. If you are decorating a covered area you want plants that take shade and indirect light. Hanging baskets are a great option for west-facing patios and porches because they’ll provide extra shade in the late afternoon. This plant hanger was made inexpensively from upcycled t-shirts. Get the step-by-step instructions >>

Use Beach Towels for Seat Cushions

Sure you can buy ready-made outdoor sofa cushions, but you can also fairly easily make your own. Why not make them slipcovers so you can easily wash away popsicle drips and pina colada spills? On top of that, wouldn’t it be even better if the slipcover fabric was made from beach towels? Learn how to make beach-towel slipcovers >>

Mix Materials

Wood is not the only material on your porch that needs protecting. If you have metal furniture consider painting with rust-resistant paint. Many aerosol protective sprays will also work on plastic outdoor furniture such as fiberglass. Learn how to refinish metal furniture >>

Bring an Old Chair Back to Life

Don’t send those old-school folding lawn chairs to the landfill just yet. Use nylon craft cord to macrame them with a bold pattern or colorful design. Learn how to do it >>

Talking Plants

Give your flower pots personality with words. Use stick-on letters to create your message, paint over the pots then peel off the letters to reveal your saying. See the detailed instructions >>

Pineapple Planter

Give your patio a little tropical flare by growing a pineapple plant in a planter that looks like a pineapple. Pineapples are in the bromeliad family, so they’re quite hardy and will take root rather quickly. For the planter, a plain yellow pot was crisscrossed with black-patterned washi tape to make it look like a pineapple. Take a look at the step-by-step instructions >>

Add Lighting

Any outdoor area automatically looks better with string lights. Use cup hooks to hold your lights in place if you are stringing them along your house. If you are stringing the lights across a yard or over a pool, string rope first, then wrap the lights around the rope.  

Incorporate Storage

Consider outdoor storage - shelves, baskets and bins. If you are a pool owner with children keep a mesh bag full of pool toys, goggles and puddle jumpers handy. For the adults a collection of novelty sunglasses is always a big hit.

Make a Place to Set Your Drink Down

Make sure to have plenty of tables in your outdoor living area so your guests will have a place for snacks and drinks. You can buy furniture specific for the outdoors or you can take most indoor furniture outside with the right preventative measures. See how we refinished this rattan set so it can stand up to the elements >>

Add a Breeze

Consider installing outdoor ceiling fans. Fans not only help cool things off, the breeze can help keep mosquitoes away. Be sure to shop for fans that are rated outdoor. If you live in a particularly warm climate an upright oscillating fan might also be a good idea.

LOW-COST LIGHTING

Hula Hoop Chandelier

Make a Hula-Hoop Chandelier 00:58

Turn a hula hoop (or two) into an enchanting outdoor chandelier.

All you need is a hula hoop, ribbon and string lights to make this fun outdoor light fixture that'll cast a soft glow on your outdoor space.

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Citronella Torches

DIY Glass Bottle Citronella Torch

DIY Glass Bottle Citronella Torch

These beautiful citronella bottle torches take less than 10 minutes to make and do a great job of keeping away those pesky bugs.

Photo by: Photography by Mike Faulkner

Photography by Mike Faulkner

Illuminate your patio and ward off mosquitoes with these DIY citronella torches. No need to buy new containers — just use empty glass bottles.

Beer Can Lanterns

DIY Beer Can Lanterns 00:41

Turn empty aluminum cans into pretty and useful votive-candle lanterns.

With a little spray paint and some votive candles, you can turn empty beer cans into cute little lanterns for your next outdoor shindig.

ADD GREEN WHILE SAVING GREEN

Pallet Planters

DIY Planter Boxes

DIY Planter Boxes

Clever uses for old pallets are never-ending on the interwebs, but sometimes you just want to keep it simple... like upcycling a few old pallet planks into this easy, breezy budget-friendly DIY planter box you can build in about an hour!

Photo by: © Rustic White Photography, LLC

© Rustic White Photography, LLC

You can often score free wood pallets from small businesses or Craigslist. Paint the wood in pretty hues that match your outdoor decor, and make these rustic planter boxes.

Hanging T-Shirt Planter

Who doesn't have too many T-shirts? Put the extras to good use by making this cute hanging planter, perfect for small plants.

EASY FLOOR UPDATES

Painted Canvas Rug

Outdoor Seating Area With Purple Rug

Outdoor Seating Area With Purple Rug

This outdoor room has colorful, comfy furniture, marble-topped coffee table and multicolor striped rug. A curtain along one side provides privacy, giving an indoor feel.

Outdoor rugs are expensive, but canvas drop cloths aren't. Transform one into a colorful area rug with basic painting supplies.

Painted Concrete

Painted Stripes on Concrete Floor

Painted Stripes on Concrete Floor

Or, use garage paint to give tired concrete floors a bold update.

18 Tiny But Mighty Patios + Decks

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Bright Balcony

An artful array of plants create a peaceful spot to relax in the midst of the city. Functional yet stylish furnishings are perfect for lounging with a cocktail in hand.

Potted Privacy

A street-facing balcony may offer extra square footage but not much extra privacy. Line your balcony with tall, leafy potted plants to shield your place from prying eyes.

Photo By: Fermob

Artful Landscaping

A dark and tiny backyard was transformed with built-in plant beds, salvaged bluestone pavers and lots of natural charm. Reclaimed barn doors add a focal point to the space, while a custom greenscreen trellis fills the garden (and two floors of the home!).

Rooftop Office

Investing in weather-resistant outdoor furniture, like benches and coffee tables, opens up new possibilities. Don't have enough space for a home office indoors? Take your work to the roof deck on the next sunny day.

Open-Air Herb Garden

Joanna Gaines transformed this once awkward (and tiny) atrium into an open-air herb garden. Located right off the kitchen and dining area, the courtyard is a perfect place to entertain, and a fragrant herb garden makes prepping delicious meals easy.

From: Chip Gaines and Joanna Gaines

Peaceful Microgarden

Once bare, this tiny yard behind a rowhouse in Brooklyn, N.Y. now features a canopy of plants, such as crepe myrtles and camellias. Landscape designer Michael Van Valkenburgh planted trees that naturally cool the garden terrace and house and created a bird habitat.

Secluded Comfort

A cedar screen and plants offer privacy in the outdoor patio and garden. A sinuous lounge chair provides the perfect perch for reading and relaxing.

Photo By: Ryann Ford

City Garden

In this small urban outdoor patio, a salvaged wood wall and potting table satisfy the city gardener. Climbing vines and potted plants, including a terrarium, create a lush space, while a candelabra adds ambiance for outdoor dining.

Packed Deck

Cozy, transitional style is carried outdoors with this colorful sitting area. The deck rail is dressed up by several baskets of flowers, while a bright blue rug adds color and comfort beneath the upholstered sectional.

Simply Bright

Modern yellow furniture fills this small patio area, coordinating with the electric yellow back door. The furniture and door energize and invigorate the exterior of the colonial-style home.

Lush Balcony

An easy way to make the transition from indoors to outdoors feel seamless? Houseplants! Here, container gardens, potted trees and small planters lead occupants out onto the small balcony and give it a lush feel.

Stylish Simplicity

Make your outdoor space as simple or as elaborate as you want. This easy-going courtyard lets the landscaping do the talking; all it needs is a table and chairs.

©2009, Dorling Kindersley Limited

Lost in Greenery

Clipped boxwood topiaries, groups of white impatiens, and hostas and palms create a contemporary look in this small city garden. The wooden boardwalk evokes a more natural feel to this urban space.

©2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

Making Room

Tiny, narrow outdoor spaces can still be outfitted with furniture, decor and greenery. This charming Southwestern patio showcases deep, green ivy traveling up its pale pink privacy wall and a beautiful, red bistro set for meals day and night.

Photo By: Santa Fe Properties, a member of Luxury Portfolio International

Dining Alfresco

Take in the exciting city sights and sunsets from a terrace by adding a dining table and chairs. This setup is also ideal for entertaining. Who doesn't like dinner with a view?

Makeshift Shade

The fix for a tiny outdoor space that lacks architectural interest is simple. Add a makeshift canopy, awning or "tent" by attaching a colorful blanket to high wooden stakes. Not only is it festive, but it also functions as a source of shade. When you tire of it, it's easy to take down, or swap out the blanket.

Photo By: Courtesy of Fermob

Table for Two

No matter how small your outdoor space, you can find a way to squeeze in a bistro table for alfresco dining. Drew and Jonathan Scott's home includes a quaint courtyard with this small, blue bistro set.

Photo By: Larry Hanna/AP images

Potted Accents

Concrete terraces can come across as sterile, but not when you bring in dozens of potted flowers. The vibrant blooms add a jolt of color to the area. And because they're in containers, they can be endlessly configured.

Photo By: DK - Garden Design © 2009 Dorling Kindersley Limited

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