6 Ways To Upgrade Your Outdoor Space for $250 or Less
1. Roll the party in with a bar cart
If you love entertaining, a bar cart ($170, Amazon) will transform your outdoor space.
“A bar cart is a must-have on the patio or deck during the summer,” says April Jensen, founder of ADJ Interiors in St. Louis. “It’s a welcome addition to your space, and you can keep it stocked with glasses, beverages, and dishes of snacks and candy. I like to add visual appeal with fresh flowers, cool glassware, or a crystal ice bucket.”
You can also use your cart to transport and store books, decks of cards, board games—just about anything that could add to the summer fun.
2. Create an illusion of space with mirrors
Mirrors have long been a secret weapon for creating an illusion of space and light inside, so why not use them outside?
“You can create window effects and illusions with mirrors in your garden,” says Marina Vaamonde, a real estate investor and founder of Houston’s HouseCashin, a platform that connects sellers to investors. “I would suggest placing them strategically around your space to reflect the light or flowers and greenery.”
Add visual interest outside with a window mirror ($135, Wayfair) that’s either anchored to or leaning against a wall.
3. Light up the night with a portable fire pit
Roasting s’mores, telling ghost stories, and snuggling up by the fire are iconic summer activities. Custom-building a fire pit can cost thousands, but there are many portable options ($175, Wayfair) for way less.
“Adding a portable fire pit is one of the best ways to instantly upgrade your space,” says L.A.-based interior designer John Linden, of Mirror Coop. “They add ambiance and a focal point, and are perfect for gathering around at night.”
Fires also keep bugs at bay—another bonus of this safe, swoon-worthy accessory. Check out this one on Wayfair for $175.
4. Get your glow on with customized lighting
Lighting setup can make or break your outdoor vibe at night—so make sure yours is custom-tailored for a bright family dinner, sweet romantic date night, swinging party, or whatever else you have in mind.
In addition to (or in lieu of) investing in a portable fire pit, Jensen recommends zhuzhing up your space with “string lights or cute Mason jar lanterns with solar lights.”
You can hang string lights ($34, Amazon) from trees, along fences, or along the wall of your home, setting the stage for romance or parties, depending on the brightness and how many strands you use. Mason jar and lantern lights can be set on tables, pillars, and posts, and around trees and garden areas for instant ambiance.
5. Install a garden gallery
“Outdoor sculptures add an artful, modern feel to your backyard space, and they’re an excellent substitute for fountains, especially in places like California that are increasingly focused on water issues due to drought,” Connelly says.
Whether you’re looking for vintage, classic, whimsical, or offbeat sculptures—or a mix—prices start as low as $15, and items are widely available at garden stores and online at retailers like Wayfair and Etsy.
6. Throw up some shade
“Shade sails are essentially mesh sunscreens that you can order to size and install for effective sun shading,” says Tim Gordon, founder of Gordon Buys Homes in Oceanside, CA. “You can transform a space by ordering one or more in different sizes and colors. They’re made to mount directly to a house, post, or fence.”
Sunshades start around $30 and are available at home stores and online retailers like Lowe’s and The Home Depot.
Every Morning: 1. Make Your Bed Try to make your bed each morning before you become distracted by the demands of the day. Even if the rest of your room is less than tidy, having your bed made sets an orderly tone for the entire room. Studio G+S Architects 2. Squeegee Your Shower Glass and Hang Up Your Towel If your shower has a glass surround or door, consider using a squeegee to clean it after your morning shower. I do this daily, and it takes less than a minute. It keeps the glass looking fresh and free of water droplets and also makes cleaning it at the end of the week easier. I also recommend hanging your wet towel neatly using the full length of the towel rack. This keeps it smelling fresher as it will dry more quickly than a doubled-over towel. As a bonus, this practice reduces the need to launder your towel as often. Cefalia Development 3. Put Away Toiletries and Wipe the Counter Every morning before you leave the bathroom, clear away hair an
1. Rent out your pool or backyard If you have a pool worth diving into, then you might want to dip your toe into the rental market this summer by using a pool app called Swimply . The company advertises that pool owners can make up to $10,000 per month, although that will depend on how much you charge per hour. “If you have a pool, cash in and make some extra money,” says Erick Nilsson , founder of Rentola . “The average hourly rate for renting a pool via Swimply is $45. This price changes according to the area. In places like Los Angeles, the prices can hike up to as much as $100 per hour.” The app also allows you to rent out your backyard or private gym. Plus, the company’s insurance policy will protect you for up to $1 million for general liability claims. 2. Host a photo shoot Have a great open-concept living room? Or a deck with a view to die for? Your home could be a perfect fit for Splacer , an app that connects you with event planners looking for unique spaces. Whether it
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