5 Hacks for Creating Outdoor Furnishings on a Budget

patio with paint

Creating the perfect backyard retreat can be expensive, but it doesn’t have to be. It all comes down to making the most of what you have, and having a keen eye to find treasures at the dollar and thrift stores. There are tips and tricks you can use to help keep your costs low while still putting together a great patio for entertaining. Get started with these hacks for cute, budget-friendly, outdoor furniture.

You don't have to be looking for patio specific items; you just need to look for possibilities. Keep an open mind and look beyond what the item is, look at what it could be.These hacks are sure to impress your guests while keeping your wallet happy.

1. Repurpose Old Items

upcycled lamp

Turn something old into something new. This can be as easy as adding a fresh coat of paint or can be complicated enough to require power tools. You can make use of items you already own but no longer use, or find inspiration in something you stumbled upon at a yard sale.

Take this solar lamp for example. This lamp and the wicker basket (used as the shade) were about $5 combined at a local thrift store, the solar light was $1 from the dollar store, and the spray paint about $3 from a big box general store. Throw these seemingly random items together and you’ve got something cute and functional that didn’t cost you more than $10.

Do not take dollar and thrift stores for granted either. It may take some creativity and vision to utilize the items you find, but it is worth the low cost. You can always do a web search to find upcycling ideas if your creative juices aren’t flowing.

2. Build With Wood Pallets

old wood pallet

It is almost unbelievable how many things you can make using old wooden pallets. And, the best part about using these gems is that you can often get them for free. It may take some effort and a few phone calls to a multitude of stores, warehouses, and shipping companies to find them, but usually you can find at least one. Depending on the size of your vehicle and how many pallets you will be getting, you may want to take advantage a truck rental service.

You want to ensure the pallets you receive are in good condition and free of mold and creepy crawlies. Ensure that the structural integrity is not compromised, especially if you intend on using it in a capacity that will be weight bearing. You can also reinforce it with 2x4s if need be.

So, what types of cute, budget-friendly outdoor furniture can you actually make with wood pallets? Well, that list is longer than you might think: porch swings, benches, picnic tables, bars, and seating.

3. Use the Right Paint

spray paint

Paint can do more than just give your old table a facelift. Paint is a versatile product with more functionality than you may realize. If you’ve ever looked in the paint section, you may have noticed that there are indoor and outdoor paint options.

You have the outside option for a reason. Indoor paint was not formulated to withstand the elements. So, by using the specialty paint to give your indoor table a makeover before using it on your patio, you are ensuring that it will maintain that fresh look.

Lastly, you want to be sure to get the right paint for the material you will be using it on. There are different formulas for wood, plastic, fabric, and metal. This ensures that it will go on easy, will not peel, and will withstand the test of time. This can be one of the easiest hacks for cute, budget-friendly outdoor furniture.

4. Weather-proof Your Materials

weather proof sprays

This is always a good idea, but it is especially important when creating outdoor pieces safe guard against the harsh sun and mold or mildew from the rain.

Buying special fabric from the craft store to make something for your backyard can be costly. A can of Scotchgard can go a long way and costs only $10 (some places sell it for less). This is also great because it will help protect against spills and stains. You Just be sure you pick up the one that specially formulated for waterproofing.

Another hack you may not be aware of is to paint using a polyurethane floor sealant – which, thankfully, comes in a spray option. As you may have guessed, this can make the fabric stiff. This is not ideal for something like a hammock, but is prefect for a rug. Rugs meant to be used on the patio cost much more than your typical rug. The paint may run you $20, but you should get more than one or two uses out of it, meaning you can touch up your rug every time it loses its luster.

5. Use Outdoor Cushions

patio cushions

Much like specialty paint, these are made specifically to withstand the sun and storms of summer. It is more costly to consistently replace regular, everyday throw pillows that may cost less than it is to use something that was made to stay outside. You can find these for a reasonable price at a thrift store, dollar store, or local discount store.

You can also find them in a variety of shapes and sizes. This may make it easier to find a long cushion for a bench for example. Use this hack for cute, budget-friendly outdoor furniture to make it more comfy-cozy.