A back porch makeover with money-saving DIY home improvement projects and budget decorating solutions for a breezy summer retreat.
There have been the quick 1 monther room makeovers at our house where Robert and I swooped in, stuck to a plan, and got it done as fast as possible. And then there are other spaces where we learned to eat an elephant… one bite at a time. (That saying is so gross, by the way, right?)
Say hi to our elephant… well, one of them anyway. Our back porch:
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This is what it looked like when we bought the place, and it’s really one of the main things that sold us on this house.
And then we dragged in our hodge podge leftovers from our old house’s back patio, and it went downhill reeeaaally fast.
But little by little, we worked away on it.
First by painting the ceiling Benjamin Moore Palladian Blue last summer to mimic the gorgeous traditional “haint blue” Southern porch ceiling. And we replaced the old fans with these that were more our style.
This winter, we limewashed our exterior brick, brightened up the yellowy cream trim with a whiter Behr Ultra Pure White, and painted the doors with Behr Cracked Pepper to flow with our dark charcoal interior doors.
We’re still not totally finished, but we’ve come a long way by just cleaning up our old patio furniture, reusing our old string lights, adding a couple of outdoor rugs that fit better, buying an inexpensive outdoor dining set, and hanging some cheap mosquito net curtains to keep the bugs at bay.
We wrapped up the majority of it in time for The Happy Housie’s Seasonal Simplicity Summer Deck & Patio Hop. (You can check out all of the pretty outdoor spaces on the tour at the bottom of this post.)
We were able to reuse our old bench and chairs from our old patio that we got at World Market 3 years ago and just cleaned up all of the dirt and grime on the cushions using this solution. (The furniture has been discontinued, but here’s a similar outdoor bench and armchair.)
And after using this rug on my parents’ porch that I decorated for them last spring, I decided I wanted one for myself.
A few weeks ago, I scored this cute pillow for cheap from a Pier 1 store-closing sale, and even though it’s not technically outdoor, I just sprayed it down with Scotchgard weather protector and am crossing my fingers.
It’s missing a pom pom, but no one will notice, right? Not at 70% off anyway.
I snagged these garden stools last spring too at TJ Maxx and love how versatile they are. They’re great for a makeshift coffee table or end tables, if you want to separate them. Or we can use them for overflow seating if we end up with a large group of guests and someone needs a place to sit around the conversation circle.
I’d been on the hunt for a while for an outdoor table and dining chairs that would work with our already existing furniture. This table and these chairs were $170 for the whole thing and it’s small enough to prevent the space from being too crowded.
And I found this outdoor rug from Target that had a great pattern and texture but still was a great neutral in case I ever want to play with different colors out here.
We already had Father’s Day dinner out here by the pool this past Sunday, and it was so nice to chow down on burgers from the charcoal grill in the shade.
I doubt our indoor dining table will see us at all until winter.
And since the evenings get extra mosquito-y and buggy, we can just pull these curtains closed to keep them out, turn on the string lights for some ambience, and still feel the breeze.
I swear this porch looks BIGGER!
We still have the other end of this porch to contend with now that we’ve removed the outdoor TV and mini fridge. We have big plans to build an outdoor fireplace with an electric insert for some warmth in the chilly months, and we’ll put the TV back when that’s finished.
So for now, to celebrate July 4th in a few weeks, we put up our DIY yardstick flag art and will put shelves in the little cubby to hold towels and sunscreen for an Independence Day pool party.
Even though I would love a mojito this summer by the pool (#pregnancyproblems), morning coffee out here isn’t too shabby either.
If you want to know about any of the sources we’ve used on our back porch, you can see them all here:
- Ceiling color: Benjamin Moore Palladian Blue
- Trim color: Behr Ultra Pure White
- Door color: Behr Cracked Pepper
- Limewashed brick
- Outdoor ceiling fans
- Round outdoor rug
- Rectangular outdoor rug
- Outdoor bench (similar linked – ours is discontinued)
- Outdoor armchairs (similar – ours are discontinued)
- Garden stools (similar – ours came from TJ Maxx)
- String lights (Ours have been going strong for 3 years. We have a box of these bulbs on hand for when the occasional bulb goes out – 3 so far.)
- Lumbar pillow (similar – ours was a clearance find)
- Nautical rope pillows
- Outdoor dining table
- Outdoor dining chairs
- Napkins (similar – Homegoods find)
- Plastic goblets
- White melamine plates
- Mosquito net curtains (tutorial)
- Yardstick flag art (tutorial)
Pretty sure this will be our evening hang-out spot for quite a while well into the fall months now that it looks like this.
I really can’t believe how different it looks in our backyard a year later…
If you want more summer porch and patio decorating ideas, you can check out all of them in the Seasonal Simplicity Tour: