Patio decorating on a dime

How to Decorate Your Patio Inexpensively

by Samaiyah Islam

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A patio is a great way to bring all the comfort of the inside outside during those great summer evenings. Whether it's an outside kitchen, a garden patio, or simply a new take on an old porch, outside spaces are a great addition to any home. Making it look great, however, can seem like a daunting task. To save money on everything from the tile to the furniture, take a quick look at these penny-pinching tips:

  • Salvage stores, like Habitat for Humanity's ReStore, are a wonderful option for supplies. These stores are often stocked with materials from deconstructed homes, buildings, and offices, which means they'll have just about everything. These reusable items are as green as can be since you're recycling them from the start and because they're not likely to go to a landfill. Some of these stores may contain items from older homes, so each item is inspected. Anything with asbestos is properly disposed of, and anything that may contain lead paint is marked as such.
  • Garage sales can hold some hidden treasures for your patio, but thinking outside of the box is key here. Old circle weights found for a few bucks can be laid in with your tile outside to create a unique look. Recycle old tubs or pots for eclectic planters to trim your patio. Bottles or jars make excellent decor as well. Take advantage of the mismatched furniture trend; you can have all the style without feeling self-conscious. Just remember that one man's trash is another's treasure (and the key to making a great patio space!)
  • Do-it-yourself projects are a big part of designing on a dime. To buy the parts individually and assemble them yourself is nearly always cheaper than paying someone else to assemble it for you, so before you run by IKEA, keep these ideas in mind. Building a great exterior bench is as simple as grabbing a few cinderblocks and an old pallet. Fabric scraps can be used to upholster a bench or make great accent pillows for chairs. You can always bring an unwanted couch outside after touching it up with a blanket or cute pillows. Old pallets can even be turned into tables with a few nails and a fresh coat of paint. The internet contains many safe ideas on how to install a fire pit at half the cost! As always, though, make sure the size of your furniture is in line with the size of your space.
  • Shop home improvement for great prices at

  • Cheap tricks like Chinese lanterns or candles for outdoor lighting really update a space without the heavy price tag. A fresh coat of paint on an outside wall or defining your patio with curtains make the space feel more personalized and contained.

Don't be stuck on the idea that everything needs to be brand new or expensive. Some of the best patios are built on recycled and refurbished things. You can get the patio of your dreams without the giant price tag!

Samaiyah Islam is an avid do-it-yourselfer that is interested in all things interior design and real estate. She writes regularly on behalf of Swanson's Fire Place and Patio.

Take the Next Step:

  • Get more great tips for decorating outside spaces n a budget by visiting The Dollar Stretcher Library.
  • Looking for great deals on all your home decorating needs? is the answer!
  • Join those who 'live better...for less' - Subscribe to The Dollar Stretcher newsletter, a weekly look at how to stretch both your day and your dollar! Subscribers get a copy of our ebook Little Luxuries: 130 Ways to Live Better...For Less for FREE!

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