How to Decorate an Small Patio on a Budget - Before and After Pictures

Decorating on a Budget

Decorating your apartment patio on a budget, is a lot easier than you think, if you are patient, and resourceful. Improving the appeal of your apartment patio is a home improvement project, where you will learn new skills, while reaping the benefits of saving money.

I love do-it-yourself projects, but if you are like me, are sometimes worried about making a terrible designer mistake. Not to worry! I have found that most mistakes can be corrected or made to incorporate your concept.

The fun thing about decorating your apartment patio is, there is a world of decorating information online, as well as decorating shows like HGTV.colorsplash.com, where you can receive inspiration and knowledge. Your patio is an extension of your home, so why make good use of it? You can make your patio your:

  • zen place
  • party spot
  • wildlife observatory
  • your family get together area

Whatever you decide to use your patio for, you can do it on a budget.

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Deck after cleaning and staining
Deck after cleaning and staining | Source

What does your Patio Look Like?

The floor of your deck or patio, is one of the most important parts of the whole decorating project. If your patio is faded and discolored, no matter how much you spend on furniture, it will not look right or finished.

You can restore your deck to give it a beautiful and vibrant appeal for a small investment.

*Pictures to the right, are before pictures of my patio. They look dry, washed out and ugly. I decided to redo them because the size of my deck was pretty large, and wanted to make good use of that space.

I felt, if I did it right, I could actually add another room to my small one bedroom apartment and I did!

My Deck Before.  Not a black and white picture!
My Deck Before. Not a black and white picture! | Source

Restoring your Deck

Bringing your deck back to life, will take about two days work. Wash the wood in an industrial strength "wood bleach," mixed with warm water. This will help to remove blemishes and lighten the wood in preparation for staining. Allow the wood to dry complete before you move on to the next step.

I needed professional advice, so I went to HomeDepot. They helped me pick out a water-proof stain, and the accessories I needed to get the job done.

My first step was to clean and sweep the deck of any dirt or debris. Next, I washed the deck with a wood bleach solution. I waited a few hours, to allow it to dry and then I stained it. The next day, I touched up any areas that needed it. The total project, cost me less than $40. I spend about $6.50 for wood bleach, $3.00 for the paint roller, and $24.00 on the water-proof stain.

Decorated Patio - Seating arrangement
Decorated Patio - Seating arrangement | Source

Don't go Broke Buying Patio Furniture

Now that the stage is set with a renewed deck or patio floor you need to find furniture. You can go to Lowe's or HomeDepot to look for furniture, but you will spend several hundred dollars. I have discovered, you can find just about anything you want on Craigslist. People tend to sell patio furniture, mostly in the Spring and the Fall.

Decide if you want to go with wood, aluminum or iron. I choose teak wood and paid only $175 for two tweak chairs with cushions. At first, I considered, the chairs were too expensive. Once I went on-line and did a little research, I discovered you could pay $250 for one teak chair without cushions. This is when I realized what a great deal $175 were for two teak chairs with cushions, and I purchased the pair.

I found a little wooden table at Marshall's, and spray-painted the legs green, to go with the chair cushions. The accent pillows were $24 for two, and the carpet was $19. I wanted to save money, so decided to use regular throw rugs to accent my patio. An outdoor rug can cost over $100. The total cost for furniture and accents was $239.

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Decorating with Plants and FlowerPictures of my Deck After
Decorating with Plants and Flower
Decorating with Plants and Flower | Source
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Pictures of my Deck After
Pictures of my Deck After | Source
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Finches Nesting in my Patios Ferns
Finches Nesting in my Patios Ferns | Source
12 days old
12 days old | Source

Plants Add Warmth and More

No patio design is complete with flowers and plants. They add warmth and create a country feel to a city patio. Plants also attract wildlife, such as butterflies and birds. These are the plants I purchased for my patio:

  • a palm plant (to add a tropical feel)
  • herbs to make an herb garden
  • patio tomato plant
  • two hanging ferns
  • a flowering plant

The total cost was $175 for plants and pots. I was able to create, an outdoor oasis for $454!

This project took about two months to complete. I watched daily for sales in the stores and on Craigslist. Take it from me, you don't have to make a fortune or spend a fortune to decorate a patio on a budget!

To my surprise, my new patio attracted a pair of finches, who choose to nest in my firms. (See Pictures.)

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Comments 25 comments

MelChi profile image

MelChi 3 years ago from Cape Town, South Africa

This is great! I never knew there were so many things you could do to make a patio look more beautiful. Yours looks stunning!


2besure profile image

2besure 4 years ago from Charlotte, North Carolina Author

Efficient Admin. Good luck with you project. I am sure you are going to do a great job! Do a google search on how to discourage wasps from building in you area. The key is as soon as you see a nest, get rid of it.


Efficient Admin profile image

Efficient Admin 4 years ago from Charlotte, NC

Your patio looks great! I am in the process of decorating as well. Looking for privacy screens and bug netting because there is a wasp problem that won't go away.


MyFavoriteBedding profile image

MyFavoriteBedding 5 years ago from United States

Great hub! Decks are so much work, and you are right, if the finish on the deck needs to be redone, nothing will make it look good, except re-doing it. I power washed and stained my deck last year and wow was it a project!!


2besure profile image

2besure 5 years ago from Charlotte, North Carolina Author

Thanks fashion. It was fun doing.


2besure profile image

2besure 5 years ago from Charlotte, North Carolina Author

I live in an apartment, but a patio is a nice extension to a small place.


fashion 5 years ago

Interesting and useful hub.


rainmist profile image

rainmist 5 years ago from Las Vegas

useful article,i wish i have a patio in future


2besure profile image

2besure 5 years ago from Charlotte, North Carolina Author

Just be creative mary and take your time!


2besure profile image

2besure 5 years ago from Charlotte, North Carolina Author

Thanks for your vote brina!


2besure profile image

2besure 5 years ago from Charlotte, North Carolina Author

Thanks Maria, I appreciate you!


mary_eliz_08 profile image

mary_eliz_08 5 years ago from Kansas City, KS

Awesome! Wish I would've thought to do that when I had an apartment :) Now I have to find good ways to decorate cement patio floor+ugly screens..any ideas?


Brinafr3sh profile image

Brinafr3sh 5 years ago from West Coast, United States

Hi 2besure, neat ideas on patio decorating on a budget. vote up


Maria Harris profile image

Maria Harris 5 years ago from Houston

Love to read about decorating on a budget. Thanks for these creative and easy to implement ideas.


2besure profile image

2besure 5 years ago from Charlotte, North Carolina Author

Thanks for stopping by katrinasui. Glad you liked my ideas.


katrinasui profile image

katrinasui 5 years ago

I will try to follow these tips. Thanks for sharing such wonderful ideas.


2besure profile image

2besure 5 years ago from Charlotte, North Carolina Author

Rachelle, the main thing is that you can enjoy what you have!


Rachelle Williams profile image

Rachelle Williams 5 years ago from Tempe, AZ

I love my patio as well...even though I only have a $9 WalMart chair and one little side table...I may use some of these tips to do a little decorating - then I'll love my patio even more!


2besure profile image

2besure 5 years ago from Charlotte, North Carolina Author

Thanks for that bit of information Peter. I really don't want to do this every year.


2besure profile image

2besure 5 years ago from Charlotte, North Carolina Author

Thanks Palmist and Granny for coming by. I love my patio!


Peter Owen profile image

Peter Owen 5 years ago from West Hempstead, NY

Trick is to keep up on maintenance. Too often we redo a deck and then leave it alone for years. Oil each year will keep it like new


Granny's House profile image

Granny's House 5 years ago from Older and Hopefully Wiser Time

Fantastic. I wish I had a patio


Psalmist4M profile image

Psalmist4M 5 years ago from the Shelter of His Wings

Very inviting and cozy deck. Enjoyed the article and the tips as well. Makes me want to get to work... Thanks for sharing.


2besure profile image

2besure 5 years ago from Charlotte, North Carolina Author

Thanks Michael. It was the first time I ever did it! Not to shabby for a 60 year old, huh?


Michael Adams1959 profile image

Michael Adams1959 5 years ago from Wherever God leads us.

Beautiful deck, Hopefully mine will look nice once I get some electric run and everything is back together

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