8 DIY Pick-Me-Ups for a Plain Patio

Outdoor spaces extend our homes and make the time we spend outside more enjoyable. No matter how small your porch or patio, a few simple ideas can turn yours into an oasis—and on a budget, too. When working with a small patio, stay focused on one or two purposes for the space. Do you want an outdoor dining area? A place to relax and unwind? Or will you use it to entertain? Limit your ideas to what’s essential.

Furnishing a small patio takes some forethought. Select smaller scale furniture, and avoid big backs, arms, and cushions, which will fill the space up fast. Choose multifunctional pieces where possible—like tables that double as storage, or ottomans that work as side tables.

Plants bring an outdoor space to life. When you don’t have a lot of real estate, use your vertical space as best you can. Dress up your small patio with hanging plants and wall gardens, and keep any floor planters minimal in scale. That idea goes for the other decor as well. Less is more in a small patio. One statement accent piece is better than many small decorative items that end up feeling like clutter.

Check out our favorite ideas for perking up your small patio, and make the most of your outdoor space this summer.

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  1. Big Style


    Rather than dwell on what you don't have, it's best to focus on what you've got. And that's certainly true of a small patio. What you may lack in square footage, you can more than make up for in style. Here are just a handful of brilliant ideas to transform your patio from an afterthought into an oasis for springtime fun.

    Zillow Digs home in Falls Church, VA

  2. Hanging Chair


    A hanging lounge chair like this one will keep you cradled in comfort without hogging precious floor space on a tiny patio. And should you need some extra standing room at cocktail parties, it's a snap to take it down, fold it up, and store it out of sight. This DIY project can be done in an afternoon with a few simple tools and inexpensive supplies.

    Related:  10 Playful Examples of Swinging and Swaying Furniture


  3. Creative Lighting


    Decorating a small space, indoors or out, is about emphasizing the positive. Draw your eyes up and create visual interest with some original lighting. There are dozens of ways to turn a set of simple string lights into party ready accents. Whether you use cupcake liners or twine, your new decor will go a long way in boosting the ambiance of your tiny patio.

    Related:  7 Ways to Transform String Lights from Holiday to Every Day


  4. Modern Fire Feature


    For a no-fuss fire pit that's easy on the eyes and easy to maintain, look no further. All you'll need is some concrete and large mixing bowls. Canisters of gel fuel supply the fire, so no wood is necessary, and you’ll have no ash clean-up after you’ve toasted marshmallows. You control the size by your choice of bowls for the mold. So, make it as small or large as you like.

    Related:  No Money to Burn? 9 Fire Pits You Can Afford


  5. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle


    If you rent, you may think your dreams of a patio makeover are unattainable. Think again. This entire tropical retreat was created with paneling and furniture made from old pallets. Because nothing is mounted to the walls or floor, it can be disassembled and taken away whenever the residents leave. Reduce, reuse, recycle, RELAX.

    Related:  15 Shipping Pallet Projects for the DIY Home


  6. Bright Colors


    Bright, light colors will keep a patio cheery no matter its size. A one-time investment in painted furniture, and some perennials that will come back every year, will turn your tiny patio into an always welcoming place. Or if you tire of the color scheme, a can of paint and a free afternoon allows you to remake the space as often as you like. 

    Related:  1 Dozen Ways to Make the Most of a Small Yard


  7. Privacy Screen


    If your patio is not only tiny, but very close to your neighbors, you may want some privacy from time to time. A screen like this one can be yours for less than $50 and some light sweat equity. A canvas drop cloth, some paint, and a grommet kit are all you need.

    Related:  Living Fences - 11 Boundary-Setting Solutions


  8. Painted Rug


    For an outdoor room that's cozy as well as functional, nothing beats an outdoor rug. But even for the smallest of patios, stylish, colorful rugs don't come cheap. However, with a ho-hum neutral rug and a little weather-resistant paint, you can DIY your own. Your imagination is your limit. 

    Related:  10 Doable Designs for a DIY Rug


  9. Vertical Planting


    When you don’t have a large backyard, you need to use your space extra-wisely. Luckily, even if you opt for a patio that eats up your arable land, you can always grow up—with wall planters or a living wall. A simple solution like this brings lots of nature into your tiny patio without forfeiting precious floor space to pots and planters.

    Related:  Growing Up - 10 Inventive DIY Vertical Gardens


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