Creating a Cozy and Stylish Outdoor Space on a Small Budget

Nothing makes a space more cozy and inviting than a comfy hammock! If you don’t have two perfectly-spaced trees to hang one from, try attaching it to a pergola.

Whether you’re embracing great aunt Josie’s hand-me-down patio furniture or scouting thrift stores and Facebook Marketplace, secondhand finds are a cost-saving way to deck out your outdoor room.


Lighting is a crucial component to any outdoor space. It can add warmth and ambiance, as well as extend the usability of the space into the night. String lights and lanterns are a classic option. They can be hung around a pergola, grouped together on a table or bench, strung along a fence, and more. Tiki torches are also popular and can be filled with citronella oil to help keep mosquitoes away.

Considering the importance of functional lighting early on in your design process will help you find the right balance for your budget. Consider using layered lighting techniques that include ambient, task, and accent lighting to create depth, dimension, and an overall balanced look.


Adding textiles to your outdoor living space is a great way to make it feel cozy and inviting. You can find affordable, weather-resistant pillows and throws at thrift stores, garage sales, or on Facebook Marketplace. Occasional furniture like end tables or stools are also great additions and can be found at yard sales and thrift stores.

Choosing the right fabric is important. Look for a fade-resistant material like Polyolefin, or opt for an outdoor performance fabric like GeoBella from Phifer. These fabrics are bleach cleanable, meaning they’re easier to keep hygienic in high-traffic areas like healthcare and hospitality. Additionally, they’re able to resist constant UV exposure that can quickly break down other textiles.

Opt for a light, airy textile that isn’t only comfortable to sit on, but looks good as well. Consider a soft woven olefin fabric that comes in a variety of weaves, colors, and textures.


Adding plants to your outdoor living space will add a soft, natural touch. Low-maintenance herbs, flowers or succulents work well in most spaces and are an inexpensive way to add color and texture. You can also create a garden wall or planters to display a collection of herbs, flowers or petite vegetables for a stylish, green focal point.

If your budget allows, a water feature adds a relaxing, calming element to the space. Consider a small fountain or a stone sculpture to serve as a focal point. Alternatively, a simple path can create a charming and secluded sitting area.

Creating a cozy and stylish outdoor space on a small budget is possible with the right planning and creative ideas. Begin by gathering inspiration from Pinterest boards, your favorite catalogs or websites. From there, you can identify a look or color scheme that will guide your purchases. Then, shop thrift stores, yard sales and Facebook Marketplace to find pieces that can be tweaked or painted to fit your desired style.


When designing a cozy outdoor space, seating is crucial. Whether it’s an oversized swing or a simple wicker bench, having multiple seating options ensures that everyone can enjoy the outdoors comfortably.

Adding a rug helps define the space and adds warmth underfoot. A patterned indoor-outdoor rug, like this one with braided white stripes ($78-$149, Walmart), is both stylish and practical. It’s fade and mildew-resistant, making it a great choice for high traffic areas where furniture is frequently moved.

For budget-friendly lighting options, try tiki torches — which can be filled with citronella oil to keep mosquitoes at bay — to create a relaxing vibe. You can also upcycle tin cans into lanterns that are easy on the wallet and look great when lined up in a row along your patio. Use them to draw attention to focal points, such as a lush tree or a unique sculpture. Also, consider hanging a wind chime to chime in the breeze and add calming sound to your outdoor area.

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