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7 Patio Decorating Ideas on a Budget

This post for patio decorating ideas on a budget contains affiliate links. I make a small portion when these links are used, at no additional cost to you.

This post for 7 Patio Decorating Ideas on a Budget has several of my most popular upcycled patio projects all in one place. It's definitely possible to have a great-looking outdoor space on a shoestring tight-budget. It just requires a few clever DIY projects, upcycles, and thrifted goodness (and, if I'm being honest, a bit of elbow grease and heavy lifting). See all of these patio decorating ideas on a budget listed out below for you.
Patio Decorating Ideas on a Budget
We've now lived here for three years. The entire first year we lived here, we worked on the inside of the house, and barely made any progress on the exterior. But the first gathering we hosted, everyone somehow found their way to our back patio. We knew we needed to get a move on putting a nice area together, since the space itself is already pretty inviting. We did this patio on a budget, cutting costs by creating most of the pieces ourselves. See our top 7 Patio Decorating Ideas on a Budget below.

Today is also this month's Thrifty Style Team day. I've shared loads of ideas from my friends toward the bottom of this post. You'll definitely want to check those out as well.
Colorful Patio

7 Patio Decorating Ideas on a Budget

When you purchase a 1970s home that has been vacant for a number of years and needs lots of updates, things add up quickly. We knew this going in, but we wanted this house, nonetheless. It was still one of the best decisions we ever made. But, our backyard took a backseat in the renovation department, since it was already in decent shape, just needed a bit of TLC (well, and furniture). Here are the ways we cut costs and still have a patio we can be super proud of (and one that screams US...hello, color?!).

Old Door Table

1. DIY Larger Patio Furniture Pieces

One reason we procrastinated so long in this space is because we didn't have a proper table. The one we brought over from our previous home was tiny (perfect for our previous tiny patio). This patio is quite large and made that table look a bit wimpywimpywimpy. So, when my friend, Bonnie, asked if I wanted an old door that her family was getting rid of, I jumped on it. 

You can DIY a patio table for much less than purchasing one. Our Old Door Table is the highlight of the space. And let me stop you before you ask: yes, plates sit level on it. The raised areas actually act as built-in chargers. They are decorative areas, but hold a plate perfectly.
DIY Patio Table
We configured plumbing conduit for the legs of the table. They were a major cost saver and really gave the old door an industrial look. Plus, attaching conduit is a lot easier and faster than a complete table build. You can see the entire tutorial (including painting tips) for our DIY Door Table here.

Rainbow Centerpieces

Other Big Ticket Patio Pieces to DIY:

  • a patio cover or pergola

    • We lucked into the fact that we had an existing patio cover in place here. But, we have built a patio cover in a previous home (that was in the pre-blogging days). 

  • planter boxes

    • We made our own larger rolling planter boxes that work wonderfully to move all over the place.
    • And, our most popular post here on I Should Be Mopping the Floor is for our sturdy planted posts. We used whiskey barrels to plant large posts (for lighting) and there was still plenty of room for pretty flowers. These planters are seriously show-stoppers. Wish we had a spot for them in this new house.

  • patio flooring

Mini Table Runner

2. Bring in Texture and Color with Fabric Items

  • I made some fun short table runner pieces (pictured above) to add a pop of color to the patio table. They're great for softening the space, too. I used Duck Cloth to make them outdoor-friendly.
  • I have lots of throw pillows around the patio, too. I make a lot of them using my basic envelope pillow tutorial. Then I coat them with Scotch-Gard to make them outdoor-friendly.

Patio Decor

3. Upcycle Everyday Items into Decor

We took old industrial-sized food cans, that several friends set aside for us, and made them into the most colorful and fun planters. They make adorable centerpieces.

Backyard Fence Decor
They look great as a Tin Can Flower Garden on our chain-link fence, too. We had gobs of these cans, so we have them everywhere

Polka Dot Planter
And we even used an old kitchen stockpot as an upcycled planter, too. This polka dot planter is one of my faves. It's so happy.

Colorful Porch
Our stockpot planter is the perfect little piece to have flowers overflowing out of it.

4. Create Inexpensive Yard Games for Entertainment

Besides dining al fresco out here, we love to play a game or two. We DIYed a couple of easy ones. 
Ring Toss Game
This DIY Ring Toss is one of our faves. It's been borrowed by so many friends who have, in turn, then made their own (it's so simple with my tutorial).

DIY Cornhole
We had a friend give us some cornhole boards, too. They were destined for a burn pile. But I revamped them in my Cornhole Board Painting post. And I made my own DIY Cornhole Bags, too. When we have folks over, this is the first thing they want to do: play cornhole!

Patio Lighting Ideas

5. Know When to Splurge

  • Lighting was important to us. These color-changing lights are kind of spendy, but they are a huge feature of our patio (all of our neighbors have told us how much they love seeing them on all the time and three separate neighbors have even bought their own sets).
  • We also splurged on comfortable patio seating. Our adirondack chairs were from World Market. But, I only bought them two at a time, when they were on sale. So, for a few months, our kids were jealous that we had chairs and they didn't. That's the breaks, man.

Texas Backyard
The metal chairs at our DIY Patio Table were somewhat of a splurge, too, although they are the most affordable version of these I've ever seen (and they're rated for outdoor areas, too). We've had them out here for over two years (we don't even bring them in for inclement weather). We purchased these metal chairs here on Amazon. And I researched the heck out of them...they have the best price and ratings around. And we can attest to both of those.

Life is Good Sign

6. Make Your Own Statement Pieces

I love making handmade signs out of old wood scraps. They literally cost nothing. I made this Life is Good one specifically for this space. If you're new to sign-making, the Life is Good sign is a great tutorial for you to start out with. 

Coffee Sign
I also have this small coffee sign on one of the brick walls. It's another DIY sign.

Fun Patio Decor

7. Make Your Patio Decor Yours

Overall, you definitely want a space that represents you and your family. Whether it's through color choices, plant ideas, or fun statement pieces, just have fun with your space and make it your own.

Dramatic Patio Lighting
And don't forget, today is Thrifty Style Team day. Be sure to check out all of my talented friends' posts below. They always bring it.

Thrifty Projects

via Redhead Can Decorate

via The Creekline House

via Duke Manor Farm

via Hearth and Vine

via DIY Beautify

via Cottage at the Crossroads

via Bliss Ranch

via Chatfield Court

via 2 Bees in a Pod

via The How To Home

via Salvage Sister and Mister

via What Meegan Makes

via The DIY Village


  1. You know you created a space I love when I pinned 3 pictures! I am making that toss game pronto, I LOVE it. My family goes through those big cans of Costco peanuts at a rapid pace and our sea of concrete patio desperately needs some colorful planters, and your sign sums it up that life is good. Love this post!

    1. Thank you so much, Bliss! I really appreciate that. That sign is definitely our fave, too...a great motto (especially on a patio!).

  2. Wow! So many great ideas! I love all your cheery polka-dot ideas and that table. Now you've really got me inspired for the summer.

    1. Thank you so much, Patti! I think polka dots may be my love language. And yes, bring on the summer! xoxo

  3. So. Many. Ideas! The flower pots! The table! The signs! The games! I can't decide which one is my favourite! Such an amazing space that you've created for your friends and family.

    1. Awww...thank you so much, Courtenay! Definitely a labor of love. Appreciate your kind words.

  4. WOW, all of it is just amazing! So many fun, colorful ideas!!! Thanks for the inspiration Kristi!

    1. Thank YOU for those kind words, Cindy! Much appreciated. xoxo

  5. I could hardly wait to click on the link when I saw the title of your post! I KNEW you would have some amazing ideas that I could incorporate on my new back porch. Thanks for sharing your tips and suggestions, Kristi!

    1. Thank you so much, Meegan! I bet your new house is so much fun to decorate. xoxo

  6. So many awesome thrifty ideas and such a fun outdoor area! I always love to see the fun colors you use when you decorate.

    1. Aww...thank you so much for that, Kristi! I really appreciate the kind words. xoxo

  7. BEAUTIFUL patio!! how beautiful, what a wonderful place to relax and spend time with family and friends.

    1. Awww...thank you so much, Tamalita! I appreciate that. xoxo

  8. kristi, how fun and colorful is your outdoor patio....and those cans. how creative. love these ideas.

    1. Thank you so much, Laura! The cans really do make me smile. So happy you stopped by today. xoxo