Instant Style for Outdoor Spaces

Do you have a couple of minutes and a fistful of dollars? That's good. How about a day or two? Even better! Because all of these ideas promise major impact for your outdoor rooms—with just a little cash and less than a weekend's worth of work.

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Everything In This Slideshow

  • 1 of 19

    Stripe It Rich

    An attention-grabbing rug does wonders for an otherwise bland deck, drawing in colors from the nearby beach, inspiring the hue of some throw pillows, and providing a soft surface for bare feet.

  • 2 of 19

    Relaxing Retreat

    How inviting is this mound of cushions and pillows? A few futon frames, laid flat and stacked with mattresses, provide stretch-out seating and comfort, while a melange of pillows in red, white, and blue (both stripe and solid) help prop up a lounger to read or chat.

  • 3 of 19

    Mirror, Mirror

    You might not think to hang a painting or mirror on an exterior wall, especially one made of brick, but mounting this mirror over the sofa is just the finishing touch this compact seating area needed. The mirror doubles as artwork and, when paired with boisterous pillows and a graphic rug, elevates the porch to an outdoor living room.

  • 4 of 19

    10-Minute Tricks

    Refresh your outdoor room in 10 minutes or less with these quick and easy updates.

  • 5 of 19

    Into The Swing

    Converting an old bench into a porch swing held aloft by rope is a worthwhile weekend endeavor. Simply cut off all four legs, drill holes in the armrests for the rope, and knot the rope's ends through some eye hooks screwed into both the seat's frame and the ceiling.

  • 6 of 19

    Orange Crush

    It's easy to fall hard for classic rattan chairs when they're spritzed with juicy orange paint. They go from ho-hum to woo-hoo -- with just a few minutes' work. Pair them with contrasting blue elements for even more pizzazz.

  • 7 of 19

    Cool Contrast

    A can't-fail way to energize a room, whether inside or out, is to combine contrasting colors for visual pow. Here, a slim concrete wall -- painted azure blue -- provides a stunning backdrop for a hefty orange pot bursting with flowers and foliage. It's almost like a modern art installation, both simple and stunning.

  • 8 of 19

    The Whole Spectrum

    Pillows in a host of hues and in the same lively pattern enliven an all-white porch. Repeating the coral and the blue (in the bamboo chair and string of lights, respectively) dabs on a bit more color for a cohesive scheme.

  • 9 of 19

    Let There Be Candlelight

    Cast a colorful glow on an outdoor table with a homemade candle chandelier ringed with glass bottles. The bottles are fastened to an aluminum tray with plastic zip ties threaded through holes punched in the metal sides, and pillar candles cluster in the center. The whole fixture is strung with metal cables from an overhead pergola, no electricity needed.

  • 10 of 19

    1-Hour Outdoor Lighting

    Create this beautiful light fixture in just one hour -- this tutorial shows you how!

  • 11 of 19

    Striking Statement

    Curtains in bold, bright patterns bring major impact to a covered deck -- they give the impression of enclosure while still letting air and sunshine through. Thread ready-made curtains onto a wooden dowel or PVC pipe mounted high on the corner posts, and tie them back to keep them tidy -- or let them loose to catch the breeze.

  • 12 of 19

    Straight and Narrow

    Have just a sliver of space? You can still fashion a cozy outdoor nook with a slim settee, cotton rug, and a few white curtains. Repeating the radiant red from the front door on both the rug and the pillow keeps the whole look cohesive.

  • 13 of 19

    Mismatched and Memorable

    Who says outdoor furniture has to be a matching set? It's far more interesting -- and, let's face it, easier on the wallet -- to collect pieces as you find them and as you can afford. Here, a hulking table with beefy legs sidles up to an old wooden pew, a weathered bench, and a rusty metal stool; they're all secondhand or homemade. And because they're all worn, weathered, and (mostly) wooden, they mingle merrily together.

  • 14 of 19

    Keep It Contained

    A low deck doesn't necessarily need a railing. Instead, large pots of plantings with varying textures and colors dotted along the perimeter ease the transition from deck to yard.

  • 15 of 19

    Bottle Bouquet

    Scavenge a few empty wine bottles from the recycling bin (though any glass containers of similar size will work), run them through the dishwasher to clean them and remove the labels, and wind fine wire around the mouth of each. Hang the wires from a hook screwed to an overhead beam and vary the height of each bottle for a sparkly bouquet that will catch the light beautifully.

  • gardening bench 16 of 19

    Simple Starburst

    Leave it to some inexpensive -- but eye-catching -- artwork to uplift an entire scene. This mirrored starburst only looks complicated; it's actually a small round mirror from a crafts store surrounded by thin wooden shims (available by the bundle at home centers). Wood glue holds it all in place, and screws mount it to the siding.

  • 17 of 19

    Subdued Sophistication

    Limiting a room's color scheme doesn't automatically mean boring. In fact, a carefully curated palette is more sophisticated and soothing than one buzzing with every color of the rainbow. Here, medium gray siding dictates the background hue, and the furnishings include tints both darker (black) and lighter (pale gray) for variety. Glossy pieces, such as the metal end table and ceramic side table, set off a little spark.

  • 18 of 19

    Kid-Size Clubhouse

    If there's such thing as a sophisticated clubhouse for kids, this little structure surely qualifies. Built on a platform a few feet off the ground and accessible by both steps and a slide, this open-air clubhouse has many of the amenities of a grown-up gazebo, such as a peaked roof, railings, and cloth curtains for privacy -- all scaled down to child-size.

  • Next Slideshow 10 Ways to Create a Backyard Getaway

    10 Ways to Create a Backyard Getaway

    Try these ideas to turn your backyard into a relaxing outdoor oasis.
    Begin Slideshow »
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