Creating a Big Outdoor Look on a Little Budget

You don’t need to have a large porch or budget to create an inviting outdoor room to enjoy with family and guests. There are plenty of ways to spruce up your space without spending a ton of money. Here’s how:

First, have a seat

Pull together a few simple items from your home.

If you want a porch that feels like an extension of your home, you need the right seating. If you’re on a tight budget, work with what you already have. Own a pair of lawn chairs? Great! Even if they’re less than ideal, you can freshen them up with a coat of paint or cover them up with a few brightly colored outdoor cushions.


Or perhaps you want to spend most of your budget up front by investing in high-quality, weather-resistant furniture. That’s fine, too. But don’t stop there! You can redecorate the rest on by squeezing the most out of every penny.

Start with the basics but don’t stop there.

We think it’s important to have a side table or coffee table so you and your guests have a place to rest a drink. It doesn’t have to be fancy—work with what you have. A table from inside with an extra coat of varnish will do the job. A bench, crates, an old trunk or a large planter turned upside down are all great alternatives, too. Of course, we just love our ceramic Garden Seat.


Now accessorize

Layer in the color and comfort to create a perfect porch.

Look inside your home and find items that can be pulled outside. Maybe it’s the indoor/outdoor rug in the entry that came in handy during the winter. Or a pair of lanterns, votives and a cheery vase you aren’t really using. You’ll probably be surprised by the number of items you find that can be put to good use outdoors.


Shiny and new isn’t always the answer. Have a look in your garage or visit a flea market for inspiration. Leftover tiles, a vintage wagon, an old iron grate, tin watering cans or aged terra cotta planters are all low-cost items that can really add charm and color to an outdoor setting.


We love to layer in fabric to visually soften an outdoor space. Throw an old tablecloth on a side table, add pillows and throws to seating or hang curtains for added privacy. These are all little touches that make a big impact.


Of course, one of the easiest and cheapest ways to add color is plants. If you have a green thumb, fill up the space with a variety of flowers, greenery and succulents for added interest.



Having a porch that offers all the comforts of the family room is a great way to entice your family outdoors. It’s easy and affordable if you work with what you have and use a little creativity. Create your perfect porch now and enjoy all season long.

How to Decorate Team

We enjoy spending days interacting with How to Decorate readers. From answering Design Dilemmas to writing How To articles and working with guest designers, our passion is to provide informative and accurate resources to help people solve their design problems.


  1. Reply

    Tara Villani

    July 8, 2011

    What great ways to dress up a porch. Fantastic!

  2. Reply

    mercedes diaz

    April 25, 2011

    the how to page is a great inspiration. we are all on a budget these days but it does not take away from pulling items from around the house; to create beautiful rooms, with the help from Ballard Design as main inspiration. Best catalog ever,so many beautiful things to complement.

  3. Reply

    Matthew McCluggage

    March 30, 2011

    Beautiful images. Top notch. Beautiful.