When people shop for a new home, outdoor space is often one of the must-have items on their checklists. If they’re looking at an apartment, they want one with a terrace or little garden. If they’re looking for a house, they want a nice deck or patio and some green space. But when it comes to actually existing in our homes, sometimes those outdoor spaces get overlooked. Part of the reason is that we haven’t made our outdoor living areas as functional and inviting as our indoor living areas. So here are some tips for giving your outdoor space a spruce up and a refresh so you can actually enjoy your time in the fresh air.
1 – Monochrome
This is a powerful way to really re-imagine your space. You don’t have to go to all the way to strictly black and white to hit the right monotone vibe. The key is to unify your space with just one or two shades and let any color come in through plants and flowers. Try painting retaining walls, bricks, and even your plant pots to achieve the right effect. The result will be a calm, contemplative space you’ll want to spend more time in.
2 – Accessorize
Sometimes we forget that the same things we would do to brighten up the inside of our home can work wonders outside. Don’t rush out and buy a new picnic table for your deck, consider buying an inexpensive (and washable) table cloth instead. Consider adding a string of lights or a new planter box. Small, low-cost DIY additions to the outdoor furniture you already have can make your space more inviting.
3 – Paint teak or natural wood
A lot of people lose their minds when you paint natural wood, but if you’re at the point of wanting to replace old furniture or items anyway, you really have nothing to lose. A good coat of paint not only dresses up old wood furniture, it gives your whole outdoor space a completely new look at a fraction of the price. So if you don’t mind giving your makeover a little elbow grease, consider giving your older patio furniture pieces a new lease on life.
4 – Slipcover outdoor furniture cushions
The flip side of painting your wood furniture is putting new covers on your cushions. You don’t need to be an amazing seamstress and you don’t need to sew in zippers. In fact, some DIYers manage to pull this off with simply glue guns! If your furniture is in fairly good shape, but the cushions are looking a little drab, this is a weekend makeover you should absolutely try.
5 – Replace your chairs
There are times that the key to any good room makeover is just to change out one or two key pieces of furniture, and that’s true on your patio too. If your table is in good shape, just consider just replacing your chairs. You can quickly give your space a smart new look without spending a fortune.
6 – Throw pillows and throw blankets
Thinking about your outdoor spaces like you would any other room in your house will allow you to think of the little decor touches that make any room a look a little more polished. Throw pillows are a great addition to your outdoor furniture. Not only can they punch up your space with vibrant colors or patterns, they can also perform a real function in your seating areas. You won’t mind if your dinner guests linger all evening over a glass of red wine when you can curl up in your patio chairs with a throw pillow and a lap blanket.
7 – Sawhorse picnic table
Who says you need to splash out on a fancy patio set or heavy-duty wooden picnic table? Make use of what you have on hand. Nail a few boards together, sand them and stain them, and you’ve got a table that will function perfectly for your next outdoor dinner party.
8 – Mix & match
While the stores are full of patio furniture “sets” you shouldn’t be afraid to go a bit more eclectic with your own outdoor decor choices. Can you pair the found wood bench and side table with the basketweave chairs? Why not? You’re probably going to end up with a much more visually interesting space than if everything on your deck looks cookie-cutter. This is a great direction if you’re a good second-hand shopper who can collect good quality but mismatched pieces and make them into a cohesive ensemble.
9 – Indoor furniture
Who says your “outdoor” furniture has to be made for that purpose? This varies a bit by climate, but if you have an old wood table just gathering dust in your attic or basement, why not take it outside? A fresh coat of paint or outdoor varnish will help, but if you keep your furniture covered, or at least pull it under the eaves if there’s a downpour, you can refresh your patio with items you already own.