Affordable Porch Ideas: A Cheapskate’s Guide to Porch and Patio Decor

Porches and patios are lovely additions to a home. More often, porches give additional personality that enhances a facade while patios are a bonus recreational area for the backyard.

With the birth of contemporary architectural designs, more and more houses ditch the porch and opt for a straight-to-the-door facade. While this seems a more practical option, porches have since given lots of homeowners wonderful memories as well as an aesthetic approach to decorating.

Families long for an area in the house where one can just recline with a beer or wine on the other hand and bathe in in the beauty of their gardens. This is how we use our patios. It might seem simple but play an important environment to our well-being.

Consequently, having either a porch or a patio is not easy on the budget even for simple designs. Like anything these days, we have to be smart about our home spending. However, there's always a hack for everything.

Check out some of our suggestions to live the porch and patio dream at very good investments without breaking the bank.

Porch Ideas

There are so many things and patio ideas you can do to redesign your porch. Porches are seen as character-defining of a house, so when remodeling, take extra care to maintain its look and feel.

There are porches that entail intricate renovations especially period houses built around the 1800s. Others simply need very few tinkering to give it its own shine.

We've sectioned off our porch ideas to give you options which to prioritize come remodeling time. Most of the list is for front porch ideas. For back porch ideas, scroll on to the patio portion.

Railings & Balusters

patio ideas

If you feel like making a bit of change, then you can do a lot with a fraction of your budget or even do it on your own as part of a family activity. These days, most would just go DIY on everything to save.

So if they can do it, you can too especially with our list. Scroll on.

Re-paint

Paint can dramatize, emphasize, simplify or completely give things a totally different look for a deck idea. Depending on how big your porch is, expect to spend $30 to $70 for outdoor paint. The Behr Premium Plus from Home Depot got a 4 out of 5 stars rating. By just changing the paint color of your porch will give it a different personality. Pastel types usually make it more rustic while earth tones give your porch an old town feel.

Reclaimed wood

When you feel like changing the design of your railings and balusters, consider getting reclaimed wood before jumping the gun on a new one. Check out garage sales or venture out into the salvage yard for railings. Craigslist also has a lot of railings and baluster sellers that sell for less than $50 for a block of railings.

Screens

porch ideas

One of our screened in porch ideas is to make use of thin and light wood for its structure rather than following the design of your columns. Using thin and light structure is cheaper. Sometimes, you can even get it for free from lumber yards.

Flooring

Floorings are complex. You will always have to deal with the environment to where it is installed before finally deciding on a material, not to mention that any deck ideas should consider foundation.

Used or reclaimed bricks

Reclaimed bricks are not cheaper. They cost almost the same with just about a cent in difference with new ones. However, we all know that antiques give off an old world charm that will last a lifetime and never ending praises from your guests and neighbors.

This is a splurge and save trick where you buy old bricks to create patterns on your floor instead of the entirety. Reclaimed bricks cost about $0.50 per brick. If you buy just a few, you'd still save and get your ideal old world charm.

Uneven concrete to make patterned decks

outdoor patio ideas

If you see rejected concrete just thrown over, grab them. Uneven blocks or shaped concrete make great floorings especially for backyard decks.

You can either create a pattern or artistically spread them across your deck area. This is especially cheap for flat decks.

Reclaimed wood

You can buy reclaimed wood from non-profit organizations like Habitat for Humanity. Not only are you able to buy wood for a steal, you are also able to help out.

Mix old with new bricks, wood, concrete

Don't throw away old scraps. You'd find that mixing old stuff with new is the smartest way for any home project you want to get into. Obviously, retaining old stuff will save you money because you don't have to buy everything.

Other than saving, you also get to be more creative by thinking out a pattern for either old or new stuff for flooring. This way, you can come up with different themes for every section of your flooring.

Repaint your floor

Sometimes, you just need a new color for your concrete or wooden patio. Consider a neutral color if you want to give your porch a clean look. But if you’re looking to create a low-cost and low maintenance makeover for your porch or patio, opt for dark paint.

Create interesting patterns on your floors that a subtle yet elegant. Ask your painter what colors and paints suit your budget-friendly idea.

Roofing

covered patio ideas

For one of our covered patio ideas, roofing will automatically be a consideration. Many think that roof tiles should be the same as the roofing of the main house. There is nothing wrong with that as this was how it started with porches.

However, in recent architectural and interior design, it is also stylish to mix or blend different colors or even materials.

This way, you can choose to save on one material so you can splurge on another. In addition, by mixing and blending materials, you get to combine your preferences and not have to settle for just one design. To do these, you can do the following:

Accent with wood and tiles

patio design ideas

Tiles are usually the default roof for houses. But this does not mean you need to use the same for your deck. Try mixing in a few wood splotches. Wood planks will cost you $7 apiece in Home Depot. If you use wood for your entire roof, it will cost a lot. But by choosing to section it, you only spend a few to use as an accent.

Varnish

deck design ideas

When you just need a shine, all you need to do is varnish your tiles to give it a long overdue gleam. Depending on the color that you want, varnish at Home Depot range starts at $16. That and your time, is pretty worth the savings.

Go bold

You can highlight the front of your house with a bold porch roof color. This can immediately bring the viewer’s eye to your porch or patio and get them interested in your design. Complement the roofing color with same color but differently-textured pieces within your porch or patio.

Change only those that are chipped

You don't need to change all the tiles in your roof when remodeling or renovating. Carefully choose those that are salvageable and give it a gleam with either varnish or paint, while you replace those that can no longer withstand any more of the weather. This way, you don't buy for the entire roof, only portions of it.

Lighting, Furniture & Decor

backyard patio ideas

Once you're done remodeling the foundations of your porch, you can now focus on what we consider the fun part of remodeling your porch-- decorating.

Decorating is probably the easiest job in redesigning your porch.

You can leave it to the more artistically-inclined member of the family to complete the job. Or do it yourself for a change!

Here are some great ideas you can do to impress the decorator of the house:

Seats

cheap backyard ideas

Sky's the limit

There are countless seating designs in the planet and equally countless stores to find them. However, because there are so many designs, you can always focus on one thing at a time to base your seating choice.

Unless you lack space

If you lack space, consider less seats and more pillows, pallets and bean bags for your porch or patio. You can opt to have benches as well to create a rustic feel but create lots of sitting room even for relatively large crowds.

If you do have space, take a look at some of these great ideas for decorating your porch or patio on a budget:

Swings

back porch ideas

Swings are a common porch and patio furniture, the trick is to find one that fits the facade. Swing chairs also come in traditional and modern designs. If your porch design is period, don't hesitate to update it with a modern twist.

Wooden swings are straight up the most common porch seats. To liven up the wood, use cushions in different colors. You can also just drape a homemade quilt just to act as a color splash to a white background. Etsy’s has quilters that you might find interesting. Perfect for cuddling in the cold days.

Rockers

cheap patio ideas

Rockers are also good on porches. But to stand out and differentiate from the usual rocker, find one that is eclectic in shape, that is, opt for odd lines and shapes instead of the usual horizontal and vertical linings.

Another option is to choose a different colored rocker. Black, brown and white are usual that although these still make great classic designs, are hardly any different from the porch across your yard. Either paint anew with pastel, shiny and glossy as long as they withstand harsh outdoor conditions.

Cushions

deck ideas

Making your porch comfy and cozy with cushions is a priority. You can actually ditch every other tip here and just focus on cushions as the only way to enliven your design. But if you do the other tips, you’re sure to get the maximum effect.

Take a look at our article on porch cushions and how they can create a new feel for your patio. You can use old cushions from inside the house and sew new covers with vintage fabric.

PROTIP: You may also just buy new, reversible fabric and cover the existing cushions anew. This way, you get two designs in one case that’s easy to swap.

Make sure that the fabric you choose creates interest to the eye and can withstand the elements--they are, after all, outdoor pillows.

Hammocks

patio decorating ideas

You can make your own hammock or buy one from a thrift shop or furniture store. These are usually very inexpensive and can be done at home with cheap materials.

If you have a small child, getting an outside crib or baby hammock can be a great design element for your porch. But make sure the slats or weave on the hammock is smaller than your child’s head for safety reasons. Never leave your child on your porch alone and in a hammock.

Old Chests and Storage

Vintage chests and storage boxes are tough and usually look scuffed from a beating. This means that they’re sturdy and shabby-chic enough to be part of your porch or patio. Keep magazines and toys and books inside them for entertaining guests.

PROTIP: Raid your attic or your parents’ home for unused pieces that you can put on your porch or patio. All you may have to pay for is dinner or lunch with your folks to get that old set from when you were a kid or something from grandma and grandpa!

Lighting

There are two lighting functions: to illuminate and to set the mood.

Some lighting fixtures function as both while others are just for mood setting. This lighting fixture from Amazon just costs $36.29. This is value for money because of the dusk to dawn feature saving you energy costs. Also, always get LED lights so you don't have to change frequently. LED lights are also environment friendly.

If you want to add drama to your porch, get a chandelier. However, chandeliers can be expensive if you don't know where to look. Etsy is the ultimate arts scene these days where you can find really good, one-of-kind, custom made home furnishing.

Backyard Patio Ideas

cheap landscaping ideas

Now that we’re done with the front portion of the house, see what you can do with some of our backyard patio ideas. While porches usher your guests inside your home, your patios complete the experience you want your guests to have of your home and your kind of hospitality.

Depending on the kind of patio that you want and how you want it to blend with your backyard ideas, your outdoor patio ideas should make way for function first and foremost. If you like entertaining in your backyard, then a patio will do wonders. Even small backyards will have its own charm when done the right way.

Similar to porches, we’ve sectioned off our ideas to make it easier for you to prioritize when you want to remodel. Patio design ideas come by the dozen or more in our area, so feel free to use them all you want.

Deck

small backyard ideas

Like indoor flooring, backyard deck ideas go by the hundreds if not thousands of materials. Concrete, wood, plastic, brick, and bamboo are just a few of the materials you can use for any diy backyard ideas that you might think of. Here are some of our favorite and cheap patio ideas that you might want to try on your own.

Use reclaimed wood

While we’ve mentioned using reclaimed wood for porches, it is even easier to use reclaimed wood as a deck or flooring. In porches, you need to think about railings and balusters blending with your flooring.

But with patios, reclaimed wood will especially blend well with the outdoors because of its already rustic nature. It’s also cheaper because you don’t need to make it appear new, its appeal is in its ruggedness.

Reclaimed wood is sold by the block at less than $50 or you can get it from Habitat for Humanity. Deck design ideas come from the simplest of things.

Create levels for small patios using pallets.

One of our favorite small backyard ideas is to make the area appear bigger by creating levels. Create levels as you would with stairs using pallets. This way, you make it seem that a small backyard has different sections as opposed to having a horizontal stretch of wood. Wooden pallets sell from $2 to $12 on eBay.

If you ask us, we’d go for the used pallets, so it blends well with the garden. A new one will stand out but not for the way you want it unless you apply varnish so it blends well with its surrounding.

Used tiles for stepping stones. In case you’ve just remodeled your bathroom and want to throw used tiles, don’t. Use them to build stepping stones in your backyard. We never get tired of this trick because it makes us even more creative without having to spend so much.

Use the tiles to create mosaics for stepping stones. It gives you a Moroccan feel. Used tiles are not just for stepping stones though. They are also good for the whole of your concrete flooring. Concrete patio ideas are not at all attractive. It is in the way you mix it with other materials that can create an aesthetic appeal.

Decor

Porches’ charm are in their structure, where you can use intricate wood carvings in balusters, columns and spandrels. With patios, you can go all out with decorating the expanse.

Patio decorating ideas out there however, can tempt you by spending a lot. This is why our cheap backyard ideas will give you options to choose to save rather than just splurge.

Use vertical spaces to hang plants.

diy backyard ideas

Hanging plants on vertical fences are a good way to keep your privacy as well as maximize small patio ideas. Some privacy fence ideas range from using picket fences to wires but we recommend using plants to save on costs.

Plants

You don’t need to dump all your plants just to make way for space in your patio. All you need to do is to place them in strategic places, where they can either create privacy, add glamour or beautify an area especially when these are flower-bearing plants.

Old tire swing

 small backyard ideas

Swings give you a romantic feel. If you have a tree, the more that you need to add a swing to it with a cheap solution – an old tire. Just spruce up the tire by painting it in pastel. You can get old tires from junk yards.

Furniture

You have to have your seating figured out if you want to entertain outside. Guests will at one time want to sit to relax their tired feet caused by mingling around your party.

So arrange chairs that they can take turns sitting on. Entertaining for an intimate party? Nothing to worry about if you have the right kind of chairs to improve the ambience and set the mood.

Cushions, bean bags, ottomans.

back yard ideas

Instead of using chairs, use softer furniture—pillows! Cushions, bean bags or ottomans make great alternatives to chairs. They’re certainly cheaper than buying wooden or wrought iron chairs and tables.

Pallets

We’re fans of pallets. They’re cheap, useful and easily converted into something more beautiful. Paint them, stack them, or use used ones to blend with the landscape.

They can easily be stored when you aren’t entertaining a lot of guests or you can stack them against the wall for easy use. Keep linen covers inside your old chest or storage piece or you can use carefully-folded blankets to cover them.

Make sure you air them out and prevent them from gathering dusts.

Lighting

deck design ideas

Lighting will create an even more dramatic scene if that is what you are after. But you don’t have to break the bank to light up your patio. Here are some lighting ideas that you can do on your own with just a quick trip to the hardware store.

String lights

Instead of using expensive ambient lighting, use string lights. It’s simple while creating a dimming feature around your garden. They come in colored, yellow and white lights. Target has it at $11 moving to the more expensive ones.

Mason jar candles.

outdoor patio ideas

Mason jars have so many different uses. One of it is ambient lighting for your own backyard. What’s great is that you save on power because you can use candles, DIY style. You don’t even have to mull over where to put these mason jars.

You can either hang them or just scatter them in the garden surrounding your patio. Guests won’t even know that these are candles especially when grass slightly covers them.

Paper lanterns

Another inexpensive idea, paper lanterns can simply be small lights enclosed in japanese paper. You can make your own through guides online or buy some from a thrift store, furniture store or flea market.

Hang them or place them haphazardly all about your porch or patio to create that effortlessly chic but classy style that exudes quiet, tranquility and relaxation. You can simply change the paper or the lanterns based on the holidays.

PROTIP: Create lanterns for each season or holiday and rotate them in your decor schedule so you have a new, trendy look. Stow the old lanterns away for future use when the right season or event comes along.

You can go classic with folded accordion paper or try something like the lanterns you saw on Disney’s Tangled. Whatever you choose, you can be sure that there are inexpensive options out there.

Porches and Patios: An Expression of a Homeowner’s Hospitality

deck ideas

A house is not a home. True. What makes a house a home are the people inside it. However, we believe that the right tools inside the house makes the people inside become the best of hosts.

This is how we see porches and patios. They are doors and windows to the experiences that we want our guests to feel. They act as first and lasting impressions. When we fail to take care of these parts of our home, we fail to give the best memories to those who visit us.

We’re sure you also have your own great tips and tricks to contribute to our list of affordable home decor. What are your cheapskate but chic hacks for decorating? Add them here and we’ll include them in this article in future updates!

BONUS VIDEO