10 Budget-Friendly Exterior Decorating Ideas That’ll Make Your Home Beautiful

C.E. Larusso
Written by C.E. Larusso
Updated April 27, 2022
An outdoor dinner party
Photo: DisobeyArt / iStock / Getty Images

Transform your patio (and have money left over for that big summer vacation!)

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Whether you’ve got a small apartment patio, wraparound porch, or a sprawling backyard, there are numerous ways to make your outdoor space feel well-designed and properly lived-in, no matter your budget. From fairy lights to repurposed pallets, here are 10 ideas to transform your outdoor living space without emptying your savings.

1. Plant Perennials

Pink peonies outside a house
Photo: Vira / Adobe Stock

Perennials will bloom again and again, every year, getting you the best bang for your flower-buck. Popular, easy-to-care-for perennials include Black-eyed Susans, Foxgloves, Peonies, Daylilies, and New England Aster.

2. Paint for Pizazz

A hand paints a wooden deck
Photo: nd700 / Adobe Stock

If the wood decking on your patio or porch is looking a little worn, try staining or painting it for a revived, fresh look. Make sure to choose colors that complement the rest of your home, but don’t be afraid to get a little creative with patterns like checkerboard or stripes. 

3. Add a Rug

Outdoor furniture
Photo: Trinette Reed / Stocksy / Adobe Stock

In addition (or as an alternative!) to painting the flooring, an outdoor rug can quickly liven up a space. Choose a simple but eye-catching pattern to make your patio pop.

4. Let There Be Light

Outdoor lights strung on trees
Photo: ruslan_shramko / Adobe Stock

For your outdoor space to become truly functional, it will need its own lighting system for those cocktail parties and other gatherings. Simply string cafe, lantern, or fairy lights overhead to create a cozy vibe, or hire a local outdoor lighting expert to bring your space to life.

5. Welcome Wildlife

Two birds outside a bird house
Photo: Stef Bennett / Adobe Stock

Hang a birdhouse (make one from some old scraps of wood!), bird feeder, or birdbath in your yard to invite some feathered friends to hang out. Birds offer natural pest control, in addition to being lovely to look at and listen to. 

6. Install Curtains

Outdoor curtains on patio
Photo: KatarzynaBialesiewicz / iStock / Getty Images

Curtains can be used to divide up your exterior area, delineating spots for dining and others for coffee and conversation. They can also encourage privacy and help block some of the sun’s rays.

7. Refresh Your Furniture

Spraypainting outdoor furniture blue
Photo: Steve / Adobe Stock

There’s no need to buy a whole new set of patio furniture. Wicker and metal chairs and tables can be brought back to life with a coat of spray paint, and comfortable seat cushions can add an unexpected contrast of color or pattern. 

8. Upcycle for a Bohemian Look

A repurposed bathtub used as a planter
Photo: icholakov / Adobe Stock

Hit up garage sales and flea markets to look for charming, wallet-friendly pieces of furniture that can be transformed with a little sandpaper and paint. An old chest can easily become an outdoor coffee table, and a clawfoot tub can become a chic planter for your herb garden.

9. Repurpose Pallet

Furniture made out of repurposed wooden pallets
Photo: Anrodphoto / iStock / Getty Images

Used wooden pallets can be bought inexpensively or even found for free, as some stores give them away after they are done with them. They can be turned into furniture like benches or loveseats after a nice paint job and the addition of some seat cushions.

10.  Plant Vertically

A woman mists a vertical garden
Photo: FG Trade / E+ / Getty Images

If you don’t have time to completely rethink or refresh your landscaping (or don’t have the space), consider starting a vertical garden, with the help of climbing plants such as star jasmine, climbing hydrangea, and moonflower for a simple way to create a visual impact of natural color and beauty.

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