How to Create a Family-Friendly Outdoor Space—for Under $1,000

With a little creativity and just $1,000, Outdoor Upgrade designer Riche Holmes Grant helps one family make over their bare deck for family get-togethers.
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Manish and Hina had big ideas for their backyard deck—including space for their family to gather, a little storage for the grill, extra lighting, and a family-friendly fire pit. But with only a $1,000, that meant designer Riche had to really get creative to fulfill as many of their wishes as she could.

A few of their ideas had to be sacrificed (goodbye, fire pit!), but Riche was able to create the perfect cozy outdoor space for family gatherings.

If you need some inspiration, consider these three design takeaways for your space.

Repurpose indoor furniture

A wooden stool or cart that's just gathering dust indoors can be the centerpiece of your outdoor design. To help your furnishings last longer, sand them down and apply waterproof outdoor-grade stain and urethane to help minimize weather damage. 

Opt for benches

Bench seating can generally fit more people—and is often more budget-friendly than individual chairs. You can add cushions to make them more comfortable.

Look for double-duty products

Manish and Hina wanted shade during daytime, and lights to make outdoor parties easier late into the night. An umbrella that has LED lighting installed inside is perfect for hot afternoons, and after-sundown entertaining. 

Best Choice Products 10ft Solar LED Offset Hanging Outdoor Market Patio Umbrella w/ Easy Tilt Adjustment - Cream
Credit: walmart.com

Best Choice Products 10ft Solar LED Offset Hanging Outdoor Market Patio Umbrella

$120; walmart.com

This umbrella is the perfect addition to your patio for night and day. By day, it provides shade over your seating area, and at night, its LED lights add a soft glow. 

Burruss Outdoor Patio Sectional
Credit: wayfair.com

Three Posts Burruss Patio Sectional

$420; wayfair.com

A stylish wicker sectional set can be rearranged into other seating styles—or use zip ties to help hold the sections together.

Katia Outdoor Acacia Wood Bench with Rustic Metal Accents, Teak Finish - Walmart.com - Walmart.com
Credit: walmart.com

Katia Outdoor Acacia Wood Bench with Rustic Metal Accents

$145; walmart.com

Sturdy benches provide plenty of flexible seating, and can be more cost-effective than outdoor chairs. 

Paul Outdoor Acacia Wood Dining Table, Teak Finish
Credit: walmart.com

Paul Outdoor Acacia Wood Dining Table

$198; walmart.com

Acacia wood is a great outdoor-friendly furniture option—this generously sized table is perfect for a casual barbecue or dinner party. 

Aperto Moroccan Diamonds Indoor/Outdoor Ivory Rug
Credit: rugsusa.com

Aperto Moroccan Diamonds Indoor/Outdoor Ivory Rug

$27 and up; rugsusa.com

When you're designing a larger patio, use rugs like this outdoor-ready option to delineate living and dining spaces. 

ZOUTOG Flower Pots, 7 Inch Plastic Pots for Plants, Indoor and Outdoor Planters for Plant Hanger, Succulents, Herbs, Little Snake Plants, Pack of 6, Plants not Included: Home & Kitchen
Credit: Amazon.com

ZOUTOG Flower Pots, 7 Inch Plastic Pots

$19; amazon.com

These pretty ribbed planters add a bit of texture to your outdoor space. 

Amazon.com: Moroccan Leather Pouf - Handmade Leather Pouffe - Luxury Dark Brown Pouf - Ottoman Footstool Hassock - 100% Real Natural Goat Leather - Unstuffed
Credit: amazon.com

Moroccan Leather Pouf

$53; amazon.com

This pretty pouf makes for cozy and kid-friendly outdoor seating. 

Fairfield 10-Pound Poly-Fil Premium Polyester Fiber
Credit: amazon.com

Fairfield 10-Pound Poly-Fil Premium Polyester Fiber

$48; amazon.com

Use a large vat of filling to stuff outdoor-fabric pillowcases and poufs. 

Areca Palm Tree
Credit: fast-growing-trees.com

Areca Palm Trees for Sale

$30; fastgrowingtrees.com

Give your outdoor space a touch of the tropics with a palm tree. (Just bring it indoors when the weather starts getting cool.)

ZENSTYLE Rolling Wood Kitchen Island Storage Trolley Utility Cart Rack w/Storage Drawers/Baskets Dining Stand w/Wheels Countertop
Credit: walmart.com

ZENSTYLE Rolling Wood Kitchen Island

$97; walmart.com

This multifunctional wooden cart can be a perfect outdoor bar or grill stand—as long as you sand and refinish to protect it from the weather.

Minwax 33255000 Helmsman Spar Urethane Aerosol
Credit: amazon.com

Minwax Helmsman Spar Urethane Aerosol

$10; amazon.com

Protect wood furniture for outdoor use with this urethane spray, which helps reduce graying and fading—and keeps moisture out.

wooster 2 in. Pro Nylon/Polyester Short Handle Angle Sash Brush
Credit: homedepot.com

Wooster 2 in. Pro Nylon/Polyester Short Handle Angle Sash Brush

$9; homedepot.com

A good brush makes applying stains and sealants simpler.

Varathane 1 qt. Natural Interior Wood Stain (2-Pack)-267140 - The Home Depot
Credit: homedepot.com

Varathane Natural Interior Wood Stain

$20; homedepot.com

If you have furniture with a mix of wood colors, consider refinishing them all with a single color—and topping it off with an outdoor-friendly finish. 

rust-oleum Protective Enamel Gloss Crystal Clear Spray Paint
Credit: homedepot.com

Rust-Oleum Stops Rust Matte Clear Spray Paint

$4; homedepot.com

Keep metal furnishings or hardware in great shape for years with a quick spray of this protectant enamel.

Kiuree Faux Leather Lumbar Pillow Covers
Credit: amazon

Kiuree Faux Leather Lumbar Pillow Covers

$15; amazon.com

Faux leather adds a touch of luxe to these outdoor-friendly throw pillows.

indoor outdoor restaurant chairs
Credit: walmart.com

Flash Furniture Rattan Indoor-Outdoor Restaurant Chair

$354; walmart.com

Stylish dining chairs can be used for outdoor seating away from the table—just add a cushion or two to make it comfy for a longer visit.

throw pillow covers
Credit: amazon

Throw Pillow Covers and Cases

$42; amazon.com

Coordinating sets of throw pillows make it easy to create a cohesive mix-and-match set.