A Rooftop Space Goes From Bland to Luxe-for Under $1,000

See how designer Riche Holmes Grant creates a stylish outdoor space for a nurse and med student on this week’s episode of Outdoor Upgrade.
By Lisa Milbrand
April 15, 2021
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Looking for tips on how to revamp your patio or outdoor space on a budget? On this week's episode of Outdoor Upgrade, designer Riche Holmes Grant gives a very deserving ICU nurse and medical student a luxe rooftop where they can relax and unwind, for less than $1,000. 

Kiersten and Gaby haven't had a lot of time to fix up their outdoor space-they're both busy working at the hospital. Fortunately, Riche helped them figure out how to enhance what they already had-and found them the perfect centerpiece for their upgraded rooftop: a cool pergola that offers some much-needed shade.

Try these takeaways to help you fix up your patio, rooftop, or balcony.

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Spring for some shade.

Full sun can get hot really quickly-especially on rooftops. Installing a pergola or canopy can help you get more use out of that area, without dealing with the heat.

Add a fire element that's right-sized for your space.

Fire pits and fire tables have been in high demand right now, but you don't need a lot of space to safely have one. A tiny tabletop version works well for small outdoor spaces like balconies and rooftops.

Related: The Best Fire Pit for Your Outdoor Space

Stuff your pillow covers yourself.

To save a little money, buy outdoor-friendly pillow cases, then stuff them yourselves with a big bin of polyester stuffing. (Bonus: You can customize how stuffed your pillows are!)

Steel Pergola

$310, walmart.com

Kiersten and Gabby's pergola comes with a retractable canopy, so they can adjust the shade or sun to their particular taste.

Outdoor upgrades

Decorative Throw Pillow Covers

$40; amazon.com

If you want a mix of patterns that work beautifully together, look for sets like this, which feature six coordinating prints.

Outdoor upgrades

Boho Black and White Pillow Covers

$16; amazon.com

Kiersten and Gabby love a black-and-white color scheme, so this set of stylish pillowcases are perfect for their vibe. 

Outdoor upgrades

Indoor/Outdoor String Lights

$57; amazon.com

Large-bulb string lights add ambience and a romantic glow to evening get-togethers outdoors-and these LED lights are dimmable, so you can set the perfect mood.

Outdoor upgrades

Wicker Patio Conversation Set

$275; homedepot.com

This cozy textured conversation set is the perfect place for Kiersten and Gabby to unwind after a long shift at the hospital. 

Tabletop Fire Bowl

$195; amazon.com

You don't need a lot of space to have a fire element. This charming one gives off 30,000 BTUs of heat, and connects to a propane tank through the umbrella hole of your table.

Outdoor upgrades

Poly-fil Fiber Fill

$40; amazon.com

Instead of buying pillow inserts, simply stuff the pillow covers with fiber fill-it's machine washable in case of spills or dirt, and this 10 pound bag will easily fill the cushions for a patio.

Outdoor upgrades

Snake Plant

$27; amazon.com

Snake plants are hardy and easy to care for, indoors or out. It's a low-maintenance plant, so it's perfect for two busy medical professionals!

Related: 6 Indoor Plants to Detoxify Your Home

Outdoor upgrades

Black Ceramic Plant Pots

$30; amazon.com

If you're choosing simple colors for your outdoor space, have more fun with textures-like the ribbed texture of these pretty ceramic plant pots. 

Outdoor upgrades

Small Screw Eye Hooks

$12; amazon.com

Larger string lights can be heavy to install-but using screw eye hooks and carabiners or zip ties can help them stay secured.

Outdoor upgrades

Aluminum Carabiner Clips

$10; amazon.com

Use aluminum carabiner clips to help secure lights or other decor elements-and easily take them down if the weather gets rough.