& Woodworking >> outdoor decorating
How to Decorate your Outdoor Space
without Breaking the Bank
by: Debbie Rodgers
Noted English clergyman Sydney Smith (1771-1845) is quoted as saying,
"Economy in the estimation of common minds means the absence of all taste
and comfort." But finding thrifty ways to decorate your outdoor living
space doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice either of those things. Here are some
ideas to help you:
- Forget trying to find that perfectly matched 9-piece patio set at the
first garage sale you stop at. If a matched set is what your heart truly
desires then by all means seek until you find. But you’ll have far more
success if you open your eyes to the possibility of mismatched pieces.
- Consider all the sources of inexpensive pieces, not just garage and yard
sales. Browse flea markets, country auctions and thrift shops. Keep your
eyes open when you pass the bulletin board in your neighbour store. Check
the classifieds. Rove the aisles at discount retailers or dollar stores. If
you’re serious about certain pieces then be bold. Let your favorite
restaurateur know that you love his patio pieces and if any need replacing,
you’ll be glad to take the old ones off his hands. Ask your friends and
family if they have spare pieces stored away. And don’t overlook “curb
picking” before a major trash pick-up. Many great items are put out
because the owners simply can’t be bothered with a minor repair or they
just don’t have the space to keep them.
- Accept substitutions. Instead of one large dining table consider several
smaller ones. Instead of a loveseat, use that great bench you found or
several different side chairs. Just be sure there’s at least one GREAT
- Imagine other uses for common items. For example, use a large wooden
toolbox as a magazine rack, a wooden door mounted on brackets for a shelf or
table, or an old mailbox as a planter. Vintage garden tools make interesting
wall art. Used wrought iron gates serve as a great patio wall. Old porch
balusters can be fashioned into candleholders or table legs.
- Fabric covers a multitude of sins. Pick up large fabric remnants at a
salvage center or buy used sheets, bedspreads and drapes at a yard sale. New
chair covers, a table runner, and cushions created from this yardage tie all
your odd furniture pieces together. Hang some extra yardage as an outdoor
curtain and you’ll wow your visitors.
- Paint is also a unifier and will do amazing things to most furniture.
Spray paint a junk store chandelier and hang it filled with candles.
Here’s a set of 94 citronella candles that will allow you to fill and
refill that great lighting fixture without breaking your budget. If you
think that your furniture odds and ends are just too, well, odd then try
mixing and matching paint color instead of painting all pieces identically.
For example, try one chair with a green seat and white legs, one with a
green back and white seat, and one with green and white stripes. Celebrate
- You might also think about using a certain theme for your outdoor
decorating, such as French country or Caribbean. The design interest will
draw attention away from any mismatching in your furnishings.
Economy in decorating your outdoor space does not have to result in the
absence of taste or comfort. You might have to work a little harder but think
how much satisfaction you will derive from a space that you made work for next
About The Author
Debbie Rodgers owns and operates Paradise Porch, and is dedicated to helping people create outdoor living spaces that nurture and enrich them. Visit her on the web at www.paradiseporch.com and get a free report on “Eight easy ways to create privacy in your outdoor space”. Mail to email@example.com