For people who enjoy outdoor living, a patio can be the perfect spot for lounging and entertaining. And it’s possible to create a living space that’s comfortable and visually enticing without breaking the bank. To give you some inspiration, check out these 20 affordable upgrades that will liven up your patio just in time for cocktail hour.
One way to add interest to your patio set is to provide pops of color, and a molded glass table torch set will do just that. Each set features three individual torches — red, blue and green — which you can group together or place in different areas. Not only is this item stylish, but it’s also useful. If warmer weather in your area means the onslaught of mosquitoes, these torches will repel them while you enjoy the outdoors.
LED Flame Speaker
When it comes to portable outdoor speakers, the marketplace is flooded with options around the same price point. But when you’re looking to liven up your patio, an LED flame speaker can add some “oomph” to your outdoor atmosphere in more ways than one. Not only is the item capable of crooning your favorite tunes, but it will also showcase warm yellow lights that mimic dancing flames.
LED Curtain Lights
Add instant ambiance to your patio with LED curtain lights. The almost 10-foot square panel contains 18 strands with 17 individual lights on each strand. In addition to the standard setting, the curtain contains seven additional lighting modes — like slow fade and twinkle/flash — to keep evenings interesting. With this curtain of lights, you’re limited only by your imagination. Use it as a brilliant backdrop, a sparkling divider — or mimic a starry night sky by hanging it over the top of a pergola.
Solar Lantern Light
This eco-friendly, waterproof solar lantern functions as a stylish piece of decor by day and casts an array of intricate leaf patterns on patio walls and floors at night. The product’s solar panel takes in sunlight to charge its batteries — which are included — during the day. Then, at dusk, it automatically illuminates for up to eight full hours of ambient lighting.
Outdoor Table Lamp
If traditional, indoor lighting is more your style, bring the indoors outside with this waterproof, wireless outdoor lamp showcasing a base made of natural slate. And there’s no need to worry about fumbling with electrical cords on your patio, this item can provide the warm white outside lighting you crave without the hassle. A three-stage dimmer and four-hour timer round out its features.
Cozy up your patio with one or more of these bohemian-style floor cushions. Available in a variety of patterns and color palettes, and constructed from 100% cotton, these round pillows — spanning almost 22 inches across — will provide fun, casual spots for those who prefer the floor to a chair. Plus, this item can be an excellent solution for quick, extra seating that you don’t have to leave out when you don’t need it.
For an interesting visual effect in a patio environment, incorporate objects of different sizes and shapes. To that end, you might want to consider the addition of this planter that comes in black, white or espresso. To mimic a coastal vibe, go with white. For a more sophisticated and elegant effect, opt for black or espresso. A bonus is the nearly 16-gallon soil capacity.
Paradise Palm Silk Tree
If you don’t have a green thumb, that doesn’t mean you can’t include a plant on your patio. It just needs to be the pretend kind, such as the Nearly Natural Paradise Palm Silk Tree. Standing 5 1/2 feet tall with 15 silken palm fronds, this tree has a realistic appearance that will give you and your guests a tropical retreat vibe without you having to worry about water, sunlight or wilting plants. The tree will come with a standard nursery pot, but you can dress it up with a decorative planter that matches your patio’s theme.
Wicker Bar Table
Fun plus function is what you’ll get with this quirky little rattan-style bar table. This height-adjustable table features an ice bucket attached to the center post for chilling your favorite beverages — and keeping them within easy reach. When mingling, guests can grab a drink from the cooler and take advantage of the table as needed, such as a place to park their beverage or mix a drink. The galvanized cooler includes a convenient drain plug for getting rid of excess water when the party’s over.
When you’re looking for a more tranquil setting on your patio, you can achieve a soothing spa-like atmosphere with this lightweight wall fountain upgrade. This rectangular wall fountain with a natural-stone look will not only enhance your overall decor, but it also features ambient sound effects that mimic waterfalls designed to help you destress day or night. In the evenings, the LED lighting installed in the unit will highlight this water feature.
Folding Adirondack Chair
To liven up your patio, you’re going to need more than just ordinary seating. Instead, consider opting for one or more of these sturdy Adirondack chairs, made from real acacia wood. Choose from navy blue, white, grey, dark grey or natural finishes. An added — and unexpected — feature of this item is that it’s foldable. That means that you can stock up on several without having to worry about perpetually cluttering your patio. Simply fold and store the extra chairs when they’re not needed.
Outdoor Beanbag Chair
If ultra-casual seating is the route you want to take when upgrading your patio area, this club chair/bean bag mashup might be just what you’re looking for. Filled with premium polystyrene beads, this cozy chair is wrapped in a 100% cotton canvas blend with rope trim that gives off a nautical vibe. The back includes a handy grip to make moving it around the patio a breeze, and the rayon-covered bottom adds an extra layer of protection, so you won’t have to worry so much about wear and tear.
Opt to hang up this fun, bohemian-style hammock chair, and it might just become the best seat on the patio. With a weight capacity of 265 pounds, children and adults alike can enjoy this novel seating choice that allows for comfortable movement. When guests aren’t around, you can enjoy reading, listening to music or simply enjoying nature while gently swinging.
Zero-Gravity Lounge Chair
For kicking back and relaxing while on the patio, a zero-gravity lounge chair can literally give you a leg up. Reminiscent of an outdoor recliner, minus the bulk, this chair features a padded seat and back suspended from a double bungee cord system. The lockable reclining system allows you to adjust the chair to that perfect lounging position. With the addition of this chair to your patio, don’t be surprised if your guests want to stay longer than anticipated.
Outdoor Wicker Glider Chair
One way to make your patio a fun and enjoyable space to spend time is to provide unique seating options. Another fun seating option that allows movement is a glider chair, and this aluminum-framed model with wicker fabric is a good choice for the outdoors. As an added benefit, the glider’s lightweight construction will allow you to move it around the patio at will for different purposes.
Every patio needs a large, outdoor rug to act as an anchor for the space. Otherwise, your furnishings and accessories will appear to be disconnected. But don’t opt for a boring rug. Instead, add interest to your patio by picking something akin to this lively coastal print. A great tip for decorating is to find a rug pattern and color you like and build from there.
Gas Fire Pit
No patio is complete without the addition of a fire pit, but smoke and embers from a traditional fire aren’t likely on your list of pluses. That’s why propane-powered units, albeit more costly, can be worth it. Although this fire pit, featuring a slatelike finish, retails for more than the majority of items on this list, it’s at a more reasonable price point than many other gas-powered units, which can retail for hundreds of dollars. Opting for this fire pit as a patio centerpiece will bring the ambiance you want without the nuisance.
Lighted Patio Umbrella
Adding a patio umbrella to the mix can add a touch of whimsy and function to your outdoor space — especially if you choose a vibrant color — but if you want to up the wow factor, choose a model with built-in solar-powered lights. By day, you can tilt the umbrella to shield you from the sun, and by night you can enjoy sitting in the romantic glow of the LED lights.
Outdoor Ceiling Fan
Summer weather can sometimes be stifling, which can drive people indoors. But you don’t have to allow the heat to deter you from spending time on your patio. And you don’t have to resort to a loud and distracting freestanding fan to cool you off. As long as you have an area for mounting, this ceiling fan can provide the airflow you need to defeat hot summer temperatures and reclaim your outdoor living space.
An open patio is fantastic for stargazing, but when it comes to protection from the sun, not so much. With a shade sail, which comes in a variety of colors to complement your decor, such as terra, blue and sand, you can turn your patio into a day-long retreat instead of a space with limitations. The sail blocks up to 95% of harmful UV rays.
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About the Author
Cynthia Measom is a Texas-based writer specializing in finance, business, parenting and education. With almost a decade of online writing experience, her work has appeared on websites such as Chron.com, The Bump and The Motley Fool. Measom received a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Texas at Austin.