Pimp my patio
Does your backyard oasis need a makeover? It’s easy. Just use stuff you already own (or can buy supercheap).
Add a little light
After a sunny day like this, keep things bright by digging out white holiday lights and winding them around posts and railings, suggests Kristan Cunningham, an interior designer and a judge on HGTV's $250,000 Challenge. You can also use rope lighting (tiny bulbs encased in flexible plastic tubing), which sells for as little as $10 per foot at hardware stores.
Bust out the pillows
Whether you have an old swing bench or plastic chairs, get a fresh look by moving some colorful indoor throw pillows outside. (They’re not weatherproof, so bring them inside at night.)
Create a short-resort vibe
Cozy up your space by adding accessories. Fill glassware, pottery, or bowls you no longer use with sand, bits of sea glass, or seashells, says Sabrina Soto, an interior designer and host of HGTV’s Bang For Your Buck. Or, scour the free listings on sites like CraigsList.org and Freecycle.org for fun beachy items.
Go for fun planters
Studies show that flowers make people happier. Up the effect by using a bright bucket, old toolbox, or other fun vessel as a pot; put plants in plastic pots and drop them in. (Let water drain after watering.)
Photo: Istockphoto (all)
Repaint and renew
It’s easy to reinvent a worn wooden chair: Sand off old color by hand, prime it with a spray primer, coat with spray-on paint (use an enamel or acrylic), and finish with a spray gloss, Soto says. Got iron or metal pieces? Use a metal brush to get rid of dirt, then spray on primer, paint (try Rust-Oleum), and sealer.