Summer at Home: Ideas to Transform City Balconies and Patios on a Budget

Summer at Home: Ideas to Transform City Balconies and Patios on a Budget

Home is where the heart is and kindof where we are during this pandemic. It’s hard to tell when this will all be over. Brides have postponed their weddings till 2021 and no matter how close freedom feels, a threat of a second wave makes quarantine seem to linger.

Being home for the summer, some people are choosing to decorate their homes and patios. I’ve been looking at ways to make my patio more of an oasis. Already, I’ve planted roses – but it’s been a month and the roses still haven’t bloomed.

I stated small a few years ago and just added a table and chair set. I’ve had dinner parties on my patio and dates and now virtual happy hours and weekends reading. I love my patio space, but it needs a bit of a spruce or love piece or grass, a few plants, maybe another person – just kidding.

Memories from a Chicago dinner party I hosted on my patio.

One thing I’ve noticed about patio furniture and decor is that it’s expensive. Couches and loveseats tend to be $200 to $700, if you’re lucky, and faux grass comes in different shapes and sizes. I’ve been quite overwhelmed with the patio shopping process, so I wanted to share some inspo that I’ve found.

Patio Inspiration for a Budget:

Who knew plants cost $80. I did not. With anything, redecorating can be quite expensive, but if you don’t want to spend a month’s worth of rent on your new oasis, I found some creative ways to transform your patio into a cozy place.

One of the coolest Chicago patio transformations I’ve seen is from Chicago blogger, Fenique. She posted a behind the scenes YouTube video to show you how you can also spruce up a small patio on a budget. One of my favorite aspects was the paper lights.

If you have more of an enclosed balcony in the city, I thought this balcony makeover YouTube video provided a way to refresh their space for under $400.

I started becoming more interested in changing my patio when I saw G from Love is Blind post photos of her patio. She has so many plants and even does yoga on her patio.

Patio Furniture for Small City Spaces:

I started small when I started decorating my patio. I got a table and chairs on sale at Target for less than $30. I still can’t believe that. Right now, I have a rose bed made of concrete slabs which I plan to spray paint black (less than $4 per can on Amazon, since you can’t buy spray paint in Chicago). One thing I’ve wanted to add is a lounge chair or love seat.

Simple patio decor at Wayfair

One of the most affordable pieces I’ve seen is this loveseat from Wayfair for under $250. Wayfair is having a big sale right now.

Patio set from Amazon

Another great place to shop for patio furniture is Amazon. One of the least expensive ones I’ve seen is this wicker patio set and chaise lounge for under $400 from Amazon.

Patio Greenery on a Budget:

I have a newfound love for plants. One of the best parts of Chicago is the parks. I love doing yoga in the park during the summer or walking through Oz Park in Lincoln Park or sitting outside in the gardens during my lunch break downtown.

If you don’t have any plants outside, I would start with some simple planters, which you can get from Target for under $10.

Planters from Target. Photo: Target

If you don’t have shelves for plants, I like the idea of a planter box. The bigger ones are usually over $100 (that’s why I’m spray painting my concrete slabs for $4).

Amanda Whitfield
Amanda Whitfield

Amanda Whitfield is a writer and speaker and a relationship builder. She believes that meeting people in person is important. After attending numerous fashion, startup, and creative events, she founded Windy City Cosmo is 2015 to help people make connections in the city as they build their businesses, start and end relationships and see and be seen. Over the past three years, the entrepreneurs she’s interviewed have become the most successful in Chicago and Windy City Cosmo won an award in 2017 for her work for female entrepreneurs.

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