I’ve never had a pretty, decorated patio. For all of my adult-life, my various patios have served as either storage areas, a painting rooms, or a kids’ play zones.
Until now! I feel like I’m finally a grown up!
I decided back in the spring that it was time to lay claim, once and for all, to the patio as a grown-up space. It would no longer be a place to dump yard clippings or unwanted garage items, but rather a place to actually sit, rest, and enjoy the yard.
I knew in our storage-challenged home this would be a tough thing to do.
Between my kids’s stuff and all of my business stuff, we are kind of bursting at the seams over here.
So the first step to we had to take was to reorganize our garage and build a small shed to house our overflow stuff. That process still isn’t 100% complete, but it’s far enough along that I was able to get our patio mostly clear.
Once I got it cleared off though, I realized that we had almost nothing to put out there!
We had been handed down a rocking chair and at one time had 2 plastic-wicker chairs from Target–but those had seen better days and were all falling apart.
I also had a large, cubby cabinet hanging on the wall, originally bought to re-sell in my antique booth, as well as a cabinet-turned-potting bench from a year or so ago–but neither of those provided any seating or real decorative umphh.
So that meant I was going to have to invest a little $$ in getting this patio up to speed . . .
Typically, I am hesitant to do a “go-out-and-buy-stuff-for-a-whole-room-makeover” type of thing–I just don’t operate that way, and usually don’t have the extra hundreds of dollars laying around to go spend.
But there was really no way to make this patio functional without doing a little shopping, so I set aside a little money from my business and started the hunt.
I didn’t want everything to be new, but rather to have a mix of new and vintage pieces. I like the eclectic style that comes from creating a “collected” look.
If I bought vintage, I wanted to make sure it was going to be able to still weather well, and really the same goes for anything new. If there’s anything I like less than spending money, it’s spending money on things that fall apart and don’t last!
I went to my usual haunts–my local antique malls, flea markets, and even surfed Craigslist for a month or so. I knew I wanted a wooden bench, and it became pretty clear that it was going to be hard to find a second-hand bench that was still in good condition and had the look I wanted.
So the bench would be the “new” purchase, with the other seating being vintage.
I also new I needed a rug to cover up our concrete patio floor, which was splattered with various colors of paint (Gee, who do you think did that??). Like the bench, the rug would probably need to be a new purchase since anything used would likely be already quite worn.
Well, after about 2 months of hunting, I was able to gather together the seating and the main decorative accessories.
I still want to add some more decor–like a cool, outdoor wall clock (thinking maybe I can make one . . . ) as well as another side table or two. But I think you will agree that even if it’s not completely finished out, it’s much, much improved!!
See my little doggie in the window? He likes my new patio!!
My core 2 colors the salmon/orangey-red of the rug and blue, and I added in various shades and patterns of those two hues to complete the look.
I love, love, love the bench I settled on! It has a slight, weathered wash on it and so has the worn look I like.
You can see we kept the large cubby cabinet hanging up, but just cleaned out all the junk it was housing.
It now holds a few shade potted plants–including two trailing vines–as well as some basic gardening things. I’m hoping over time the 2 vines will grow and hang down over the cubbies, creating a sort of vertical-garden look.
The little blue footstool is a flea-market find of mine from long ago that I painted blue with some milk paint I had on hand, and you can see we also kept the hand-me-down white rocking chair.
Behind the rocking chair are some more flea-market steals–the large iron fence is turned sideways and is going to be a great trellis for the Confederate Jasmine I have planted.
I bought the large planter box at a flea market a year or so ago for I think around $10. When I found it, it was actually standing up vertically and acting as a rolling shelf.
I flipped the box sideways, remounted the casters underneath, then lined the box with a garbage sack–and voila! It’s now a giant planter. One of these days I am probably going to paint it a different color, but it works for now.
And can I tell you the quick crazy story about that sweet potato vine? I bought one little vine last summer, planted it in that box, and let it grow until the winter frost finally killed it.
When I went to go pull it out, it had actually grown a sweet potato at the root! So, I stuck the potato back down in the box and waited to see what it would do.
Earlier this spring, it sprouted up like crazy and I have a lovely, new vine again. Another thing in this patio that was on the cheap!
The rest of the patio is framed by the two vintage iron-chairs I found at–you guessed it–the flea market! I think I paid $30 for them both.
They currently have green paint on them, and I entertained the idea of repainting them, but decided I liked the green. The red bamboo table in between was another former-antique booth inventory item that didn’t sell.
I bought it last summer for $5 at a yard sale, and then coated it with a glossy red spray paint. It’s the perfect size to fit in between the 2 chairs.
My $12 kitchen-cabinet-turned-potting-bench is still in the same spot, but just with all the junk cleaned off 🙂 You can click here if you want to see the post on that makeover from awhile back.
So now for the details . . . The element obviously holding the space together is the rug. I was determined to find a rug in that great, salmon color, and eventually I came across this one at Ballard Designs.
Now you may be thinking that since it’s from Ballard it must have cost a fortune, but I only paid $56 for it–tax and shipping included!! It was going on clearance and they were offering a free shipping event online, so it was an absolute steal!
So the lesson here is don’t be afraid to look at higher-end places even if you’ve got a shoestring budget! This Ballard rug ended up costing $15-$20 less than rugs of the same size I was seeing at Wal-Mart and Target.
With the salmon rug as the base, the rest of the space is pulled together with the outdoor pillows and cushions. And here’s my trick for pulling different colors and patters together into one, cohesive look– you have to “bounce” the colors around the space, from piece to piece.
What in the world does that mean? Well, you don’t want the same color to be right up next to each other, but rather have the color flow “bounce” from one element to the next.
For example, going from the rug up the rocking chair–the salmon color is on the rug, but then the next closest color is the light blue in the chair cushion, then the salmon shows up again in the flower pillow.
The salmon on the pillow and the salmon on the rug draw together the blue cushion in the middle of the line of color. Make sense?
You also want to make sure you have a little of each of your colors in each seating space. No one space should be all blue, or all red, etc.
For the last little touch we hung up a set of outdoor string lights, but to be honest we haven’t really gotten to enjoy those yet.
The sun stays up for so long and the mosquitos this summer have been terrible, so I think the fall will be the better time to sit out and enjoy those little twinkles.
Even though it’s hotter than all get-out right now, it’s still been so nice to have a place to go sit outside. I enjoy taking my cup of coffee out onto the patio in the mornings and listening to the birds. And when my kids are outside, there’s now a place to sit and watch them as well.
Speaking of the kids, I was a little concerned they may not like having their play-space taken over, but they love the new patio set-up too! So it’s a win for everybody–even my fat cat who has decided one of the green iron chairs is his to sleep in all day.
So there was some money invested in this patio makeover, but I honestly think it’s still a very budget-friendly re-do. I mean, I’ve seen one patio chair and cushion set priced at what I spent for everything!
Here’s the breakdown and links to available products, in case you saw anything you liked 🙂
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- Renaissance Outdoor Bench–Overstock.com, $193 (this was my splurge!)
- Honeycomb Indoor/Outdoor Rug–Ballard Designs, $56 (at time of my purchase)
- Pillow Perfect Outdoor Seat Cushions–Amazon.com, $65 for all 3
- Blue Floral Pillow, Geometric Pillows, Watering Can Pillow–Target.com, $45 for all 4
- Blue and Red Geometric Pillows– Big Lots, $20 for 2 (view similar ones here)
- String lights–Big Lots, $12 a set (view similar ones here)
With the flea market chairs, that brings the total to $421. You can see the decorative outdoor pillows were a significant portion of the cost, but since I can’t sew for my life, they were worth the money to me.
I think it’s the little touches that bring a space together and make it feel cozy, so I was willing to splurge a little to add those pops of texture and color in.
Once it cools off some, you should come visit and sit out with me on my all-grown-up patio 🙂
Thanks for letting me share!
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