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Thrifty Patio Decor Ideas on a Budget

By Rachel
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Transform your outdoor space using these thrifty patio decor ideas on a budget!

With the rise and popularity of outdoor living, it’s no wonder people are going all out on creating an outdoor space that suits their needs. This outdoor living craze is having a huge impact on home decor trends but with a hefty price tag. Did you know that the average cost of decorating a patio can be upwards of $5,000?!? That’s completely nuts!! So today, I’m introducing you to the notion of thrifty patio decor ideas on a budget. You CAN have a beautiful outdoor space for less!

Affordable Patio Design for Small Spaces

Are you tired of looking at your empty and dull patio but hesitant to splurge on expensive decor? Well, you’re not alone. According to a recent survey, over 60% of Americans say they want to decorate their outdoor spaces but budget constraints hold them back.

But fear not! In this article, we will explore thrifty patio decor ideas on a budget that will transform your outdoor oasis without breaking the bank. From repurposing household items to DIY projects, get ready to unleash your creativity and spruce up your patio!

a hanging Fern in the sunshine

Clever Hacks to Maximize Outdoor Living Spaces

Below are seven hacks that I actually use on my small townhome patio space. Each one of these ideas suits a very specific need.

On a patio, or any outdoor space, it’s important to give each piece of decor or furniture a job. Before you buy anything, rather than mindlessly purchasing things that you think you might need or use for outdoor living, really sit down and plan out your space.
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Ask yourself questions like:

  • “How does my space function?’
  • “What is this space typically used for? Relaxing? Entertaining? Gardening?”
  • “Does it need extra seating?”
  • “How much space can I allot for plants, furniture, etc…”(literally use a tape measure and take measurements so that you don’t buy something that’s too big or too small)

Now, you have a reference point to go off of and won’t be persuaded to buy random items or things you don’t actually need, which will help you save money!

Doing all of this legwork before hand might seem excessive but trust me. It’s saved me SO much money and design headaches in the long run! Now you can get to work.

white flowers on an outdoor patio space

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Thrifty Patio Decor Ideas on a Budget

Okay. Let’s get into seven ways of creating a frugal patio space!

1. Try Faux Plants.

Did you know that you can use faux plants outside?! Yes you can!

You guys. I struggled last year getting any real plant to grow on my lattice. I tried and tried but to no avail.

fake vine on an outdoor patio

So, this year on my lattice, rather than wasting all that money buying real plants, I opted for faux. And, let me tell you…I LOVE them.

Using this method saved me bundles of money on plants. I purchased all of the faux stems on sale, spending a total of $12!

faux plants hanging a patio lattice

The day after I hung these planters, my neighbor came outside and was like “Rachel! Your plants look SO pretty!” I said “Thanks! Would you believe me if I said they were fake?!” She goes “Seriously?! I would have never known. They look so real!” 🙂

Tip: To make faux plants look as real as possible outdoors, place them in actual potting soil in a pot or planter.

It’s been a very windy Spring around here and I haven’t had any issues with these stems falling out.

faux plants in planters outside

So, if you are on a super tight budget OR if you just don’t have a green thumb, give faux plants a try!

For a cheap price, you have nothing to lose.

faux vines on a patio

2. Incorporate DIY Projects on a Patio.

It’s no secret that making things yourself, or re-doing items, saves a ton of money.

One of the easiest DIY projects that I’ve implemented on my patio is painting a small wooden table that I found at a thrift store for just a few dollars. When I bought the table, it was a weird tan color.

With just a can of green spray paint, this table flip cost me a total of $7!

a thrifted wooden table from the thrift store for a patio space

But, remember how I said earlier to buy each item for a specific purpose?

Well, the sole purpose of the table was, and still is, to hold my outdoor water feature. It’s the perfect size and, even though it’s been a few years since that coat of green paint, the table now has an amazing chippy patina to it, which I adore.

Another DIY project on my patio is the fountain itself. I bought the top spigot kit first then chose the galvanized bucket. I hooked everything up when I got home and voila! Instant water feature.

The sound of the water dripping is extremely soothing and drowns out the road noise. If you want an ultra relaxing patio space, get yourself a tabletop fountain. You won’t regret it!

an outdoor water fountain

3. Maximize Floor Space.

To ensure that your patio or deck is performing optimally, especially if your space is small, it’s helpful to have plenty of floor space. This will ensure everyone has plenty of room to walk around without stubbing toes!

To do this, you can:

  • hang plants from the ceiling or trellis
  • don’t have too many furniture pieces
  • use a hanging swing instead of a chair
  • place an area rug on the ground

hanging Fern on a patio

4. Opt for an Outdoor Couch.

Hear me out.

Many years ago, when we first moved to our townhome, we had a large patio table and four chairs. However, we didn’t use it often and we realized, after a few months, it’s because it didn’t fit the space!

So, to work with the space rather than fight it, we use an outdoor couch instead. To make it cozy, many pillows and cushions were added, which can also be used on the ground as another seating option.

outdoor couch on a patio

Hubby built this couch a few years ago to fit exactly in this spot and it’s truly amazing.

We do eat outside on the regular but, rather than using a full table, we just bring out the TV trays! When we have guests, each person has their own tray to use and we can also use the outdoor side table.

So, if your space is small and can’t accomodate both a couch and table, try this method and see how it works for you!

a couch for outdoor patio living

5. Use Flexible Seating Options.

When designing a patio space, an important point to consider is flexible seating.

Besides your main seating options such as a couch, lounger, or patio table, why not try incorporating portable seating? Flexible seating can be used, and works beautifully, on any outdoor space, big or small.

Examples of this can include:

  • ottomans or poufs
  • a coffee table that can double as an extra seat
  • small, easily moveable chairs

Many of these items can be found at thrift stores or garage sales for a few dollars!

an outdoor pouf for extra seating

6. Incorporate Candlelight.

I love to use outdoor, battery-powered candles on my patio. My candles come with a remote that has different timer settings on it! Isn’t that so cool?! So, each evening around 5:30, the candles come on, marking the end of a long day.

To up the cozy factor and create a soothing ambiance on your patio or deck, try placing a few candles on an end table, inside a lantern, or along a railing.

outdoor candles on an end table

7. Shop at Thrift Stores for Outdoor Furniture.

The last patio decorating hack I have to share is to buy secondhand items!

Yes, an outdoor space needs to be comfortable and presentable but, truly, it’s outside. Everything is going to get wet and dirty so why spend a fortune on it all?

a flower pot sitting on a metal plant stand

Speaking from experience, thrift stores yield amazing options for outdoor decor and furniture for a fraction of the price.

Some items you can find thrifting include:

  • flower pots or hanging baskets
  • outdoor cushions or pillows
  • small side tables
  • decor or outdoor accessories
  • chairs or benches
Plus, you get to hand-pick and curate the items that speak to you. This is what’s going to make your outdoor space unique and stand apart from the rest!

a thrifted outdoor chair

Outdoor Garden Ideas for a Covered and Shady Space- Thrifty Patio Decor Ideas on a Budget

Let’s briefly touch on some simple flower ideas for small, shaded patio areas. I’ve learned a lot on this topic over the years and might have some valuable information that you can use, too!

1. Plant Flowers in Terra Cotta Pots.

I’ve tried so many pots and planters over the years but nothing is as timeless as terra cotta. Durable and stylish, terra cotta pots get better with age.

Truly, any color flower or vine can be paired with a terra cotta pot and it just seamlessly goes together. With terra cotta pots, less is more!

Style terra cotta pots on a plant stand, on the ground, on a shelf, or group them together for a pleasing display.

purple shade begonias in a terra cotta pot

2. Opt for Hanging Baskets.

To conserve space on the ground, I’ve found hanging baskets to be an amazing solution.

My patio only gets a few hours of sun in the morning and then the rest of the day it’s shaded. For years, I didn’t know what types of flowers to plant that would survive in full shade. However, after much trial and error, I’ve found a few that work in spaces such as these including:

  • coleus
  • hanging vines
  • a few varieties of begonias
  • creeping jenny
Not only do hanging baskets allow you more space but they also double as privacy acting plants!

In the heat of the Summer, my hanging baskets are twice the size as they were in the Spring and help to block out cars and passersby.

This creates a secluded a serene spot, even on the edge of the city!

a hanging basket on a patio

3. You Can Never Have Too Many Ferns.

adore fern plants. They remind me of a forest floor, bathed in dappled sunlight that comes in through the canopy.

For a shade-dwelling patio, and for a small outdoor space, fern plants get you a big bang for your buck. The fronds spill over the sides of planters and pots, gifting you with the prettiest green leaves. Fern plants give even the darkest patio a spectacular pop of color!

Try placing fern plants in large pots or hanging baskets for a cohesive look.

a fern plant hanging on a small patio

4. Utilize a Lattice or Hanging Garden.

My last tip, for thrifty patio decor ideas on a budget, is to try a hanging garden!

Again, to free up precious surface area, a hanging garden will give you a space to display flowers and greenery without sacrificing style.

A hanging garden can be achieved by using:

a hanging style garden for a small patio space

Closing Tidbits for Thrifty Patio Decor Ideas on a Budget

In today’s fast-paced world, it’s easy to get caught up in the idea that, in order to have a beautiful and inviting patio, you have to have a large sum of money to spend. However, as we’ve discussed in this article, thrifty patio decor ideas on a budget, that’s totally false!

With a little creativity and resourcefulness, it’s totally possible to create a stunning outdoor space without breaking the bank. From repurposing old items to shopping at thrift stores, there are a plethora of ways to decorate your patio for less.

Outdoor living is meant to help us unwind, relax, and feel at ease after a long day. Be encouraged to create a dreamy patio space that is within your means, finding a renewed sense of what home means to you.

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Leave me a comment! How do you like to style your outdoor space? I love hearing from you!

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an outdoor water feature on a small patio

If you are new here, I’m Rachel, the writer and content creator here at The Antiqued Journey. I’m so happy to have you! I encourage you to stop by the ‘about me’ page to get to know me a little more.

Here on the blog, you will find loads of inspiration for decorating with vintage and antique decor, simple DIY crafts and many thrifting adventures. If that interests you, I invite you to sign up for my e-mail. You will receive a free digital download as a thank you!

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15 Comments. Leave new

  • Loved this blog on decorating a small deck. Please tell me about the lattice you used as walls. I need to block off one side of our deck where the air conditioner provides an not very pretty view . Thankyou.

    Reply
    • Rachel Granholm
      May 16, 2024 8:26 am

      Hi, Kathy!
      Thanks so much!!
      The lattice was here when we moved in…many of the patios in our townhome community have them. I believe they are from the hardware store..I’m sure you could find them at any big box hardware store in your area and then we just painted them brown. They come raw or plain wood but I think some stores sell them in white, too. They are not very expensive! Our AC is on that side as well and that provides a nice barrier!
      Hope that helps. Thanks for reading today…I appreciate it! Have a lovely day!

      Reply
  • MaryJo Materazo
    May 16, 2024 10:29 am

    Great post Rachel. I love the fountain you DIYed. The sound of water outside is so soothing. I’m also loving the green chippy table it’s on. 🤩 so many great ideas. Have a great day. XO- MaryJo

    Reply
  • Angie @ https://rootsandhearth.com/
    May 17, 2024 11:28 am

    I love these tips and hacks! I got some great ideas from this post; my back deck needs some major help, and I love the lattice idea. Super cute and functional. Thank you for sharing!

    Reply
    • Rachel Granholm
      May 17, 2024 11:58 am

      Hi, Angie!
      Thanks so much!! I am so happy this was helpful for you!! I hope you enjoy refreshing your deck!!

      Reply
  • Such a pretty fountain! And yes ferns are wonderful!

    Reply
  • […] week, on Thursday, I shared a brand new post all about thrifty patio decor ideas on a budget. Here, you will find simple tips and tricks to style your outdoor space without spending hundreds […]

    Reply
  • Hi Rachel! I love the DIY water fountain on your patio. It looks great and I bet the sound it creates is relaxing. Love all your tips on creating a cozy patio space with less money. The flexible seating is also a great idea. Thanks for the inspo!

    Reply
  • Love these budget friendly tips and tricks, Rachel! We’re getting our house painted soon which means we’re going to have to do the porches and patios at the same time and oh my word talk about sticker shock. It’s amazing how quickly everything can start to add up especially if you need furniture and landscaping like we do. I’ll definitely be using some these tips. They’re awesome! Thanks lady, CoCo

    Reply
    • Rachel Granholm
      May 22, 2024 2:14 pm

      Thank you!! I’m SO excited for you! How fun!! Can’t wait to see photos!! Glad to help!

      Reply
  • I’m in the process of making over our back patio so I appreciate all of these tips! I embraced using faux plants on my front porch for the first time this year and I may never go back, lol!! Enjoy your beautiful outdoor space!

    Reply

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Rachel from The Antiqued Journey blog

Hey! I’m Rachel!

I’m so glad you are here! Old things are my jam. Antique malls and thrift stores are my happy places.

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