Designing on a budget is never quite as fun, but budget is the number one priority for most people. Craigslist is one of my favorite places to bargain shop, and honestly of all the furniture on there some of the best is the outdoor furniture. Outdoor furniture purchased new is pretty pricy because unlike normal furniture it has to be made with extra care and protectants for harsh weather. So finding something gently used is usually your best option. Also don't limit 'outdoor' furniture or rugs only to the outdoors, as it will be more durable so it's also a great option for mud rooms, laundry rooms, basements, sun rooms and more! Sticking to a budget is important but for more of an impact you might want to choose one or two items to 'splurge' on.
I was lucky enough to get outdoor furniture for free from my mom because she is planning on downsizing soon. She gave us the hammock, glider and matching end table. Everything was used but still in great condition, I'm sure you could find something very similar on Craigslist for around $200. So my splurge items were my rug and pillows. But they really were not a splurge, the rug was an older style from Pottery Barn that I had seen last summer. It caught my eye then, and I hadn't forgotten it so I knew it would make a big style impact! The rug was no longer online but I checked my local store and they had one still in stock and marked down to under $300. The pillows are also Pottery Barn and luckily I got them when there was a sale of 40% off outdoor pillows for one day only and that was in April. (Some people think the best sales are at the end of summer but in reality they aren't, and the end is when everything good is sold out. Same thing for Craigslist, before summer is when people are selling their old patio sets to make room for new ones). The glider is very small so two pillows on it (22" and 18" squares) were more than enough to fill it up and add style. You can also look at Target or HomeGoods for cheap and stylish pillows with a big style impact. I choose the green striped pillow to pull in the same color and pattern as my hammock, even though they are different sized stripes and different shades of green it still coordinates. The black, white and grey pillow pulls together the grey and white rug with the black furniture; and the scroll pattern on the pillow is very similar to the pattern on the rug and on the glider. I wanted everything to look cohesive without being to 'matchy-matchy' and I think the throw pillows are what accomplished that.
Plants instantly add warmth to a space and outdoor spaces should be full of them. I choose an oversized black planter for this patio and filled it with marigolds because they are one of the few flowers that do not attract bees or other pest. I very quickly got tired of the bumble bees buzzing around while I'm trying to relax on the hammock. So that honestly was more of a practical decision, design wise I would not have chosen yellow flowers. Although I do like the reds, and the red stems of the peppermint because the deck railing is a reddish color. Red was not a color I wanted to highlight so I didn't add much of it, just enough red hues to pull together the railings. And we do have a reddish grill that was free from our landlord (not pictured) in the corner near the door, which is in a practical location for cooking. I planted mint in my small dark green (pulling in the color of the hammock), flower pot because mint does not attract pest and it repels mosquitoes. Ideally I would've loved a large outdoor sofa out here (something with a black metal frame and ivory cushions) but the cheapest one I could find was still out of my budget and honestly we don't know how long we will be living here so I only want to purchase things that can work with any sized space. While more seating would be nice for entertaining, we haven't even entertained out here yet (I have folding directors chairs if we need them) and I mainly use the space for laying out in the sun, so the large hammock is perfect. I am trying to stay practical and not purchase too much to soon, which is very important when on a budget that and prioritizing.
Keeping outdoor furniture clean can be a challenge. I originally would bring the hammock inside every time it rained, but that got to be quite a hassle so now I really only bring it in if I know it's going to be bad weather for a few days in a row. I just flip it over to dry if it does get rained on. The hammock is actually not hard to clean with a hose and maybe some elbow grease on a tougher spot, same cleaning for the pillows although I haven't had to clean them yet. After a heavy rain I will make sure to shake out and flip over the pillows to let them dry off. This back deck has some pretty awful concrete floors that I did a deep clean on one day, using a natural cleaner and large scrub brush from my local hardware store. I spent maybe $40 and put in a lot of time and sweat but that was one of the biggest improvements. This did take quite a lot of effort to scrub out but I really focused on the edges of the deck that would not be covered by the rug, and got it much whiter. (See the before and after in photos 2 & 3). I decided to go with a large 8x10 foot rug because of the old concrete floor, if my flooring was wood or something nicer I might've went with a 5x8 foot rug to show it off. Overall I am very happy with this space and will most likely only be adding more plants if anything!