Decorating Your Outdoor Room
On The Cheap
By Kathy Wilson
Outdoor rooms are extremely popular these days, and not just amongst the rich and famous! You can squeeze an outdoor room in almost any space, and decorate it to match the style and mood of your home, inexpensively!
Any room needs furniture, and an outdoor room is no exception. However, much of the patio furniture on the market today is quite expensive. You can make inexpensive resin chairs work for you, however. There are new varieties with a texture to them that looks more like wood than their slick plastic counterparts did. Look for these! Also, the white Adirondack resin chairs sell at my local discount stores from $11 to $15, and look amazingly like the real painted wood chairs, especially from a distance. Dress up your new chairs with some cushions, and they will fit right in to any décor! You can also now spray paint those chairs with a new paint from Krylon called Fusion. Pick it up for about $4 and customize cheap plastic chairs. (Hint: Look at garage sales for used ones you can repaint!)
Once you have your furniture in place, time to think privacy. Hopefully, you are protected on at least one side by a wall, fence, or building. A great way to offer yourself some more private moments is to use a trellis as an extra wall, and plant fast growing vines at its base. You can anchor the trellis in a planter to make a moveable wall. Morning glories, scarlet runner beans, and moonflower will all cover your new “wall” in no time!
If your outdoor room is protected in part from the weather, fabric curtains can be used outdoors as well. I suggest using cheap flat sheets and either a staple gun or a grommet kit. Cheap muslin can work as well, and is so inexpensive it can just be replaced the next year! This is a great technique for the end of a porch or deck, and can help control the sun as well. Be sure to use tiebacks for those times you want to let the breezes blow through.
Lighting is so often overlooked in outdoor rooms because of its expensive nature, but this doesn’t have to be the case. Candles and torches are wonderful for outdoor meals, and solar lights can be used for safety, without the expense of electrical installation. Strings of clear holiday lights are magical wrapped around a tree, or over a porch beam. Luminerias can be created with recycled cans and a punch tool, then drop a candle inside.
Finally, don’t forget accessories to add charm and style to your outdoor rooms! Pick up some unfinished bird houses at the craft store, and decorate them with paint, then hang in a group on the garden fence or wall. Use scrap lumber to paint signs for your garden room with inspirational sayings, or words. Use your hand tools as décor items and hang them on the fence or wall. Lean an old picket fence against the porch wall,( or a new one, you can get a premade picket fence piece for around $8 at the home improvement center!) then place planters of flowers in front of it. Add cut flowers in pretty pitchers and bowls from the kitchen, pick up candles at the dollar shop, and lay out a fabric napkin or two as an impromptu tablecloth.
Any way you do it, an outdoor room is worth having in any home, and with a little creative thinking can be decorated with style, comfort, and the spirit of the seasons which coax us out of doors.
Kathy Wilson is an author, columnist, and editor of The Budget Decorator and other popular websites. For hundreds of free budget decorating ideas, visit her at