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Easy Outdoor Furniture Hacks

Customizing With Trims, Fringe, and Tassels

For the Spring 2021 One Room Challenge, I updated my patio to create an Outdoor Living Room and Al Fresco Dining Space.

While the majority of the budget went into the living room, I certainly didn’t neglect the dining area. In fact, I spent a good deal of time customizing the furniture. I was able to create a great looking dining area for very little money!

Outdoor Dining Chair Customization

Two summers ago my patio dining table basically exploded. Literally. I have no idea what happened but one morning we came outside to find that the glass was shattered down to the very last shard.

Needless to say, a new table wasn’t on our radar for the budget. So we just picked up a simple inexpensive table like this one.

Then last summer we sanded down and repainted the outdoor dining chairs that we inherited 7 years ago from my Grandfather-In-Law.

I’m pretty big on reusing items when I can and since they only needed paint, it was a no-brainer for me. (I quite literally can’t even tell you how old they are but they are in perfect shape now that they are rust free and have a new coat of paint.)

Having said all that, when we decided to redo the patio area this spring, I didn’t want to purchase new furniture. So I set about finding a way to take my old furniture and make it new. The table was fine, the chairs were good, but I needed new cushions.

The problem is that when I get an idea in my head, that’s it. I basically must have that exact thing.

Well, I couldn’t find cushions I liked that fit my chairs. Having them custom made didn't fit in the budget. So, I decided to go with a semi-custom option.

I love the look of dining tables when the head and foot chairs are unique to the rest of the seating. So I ordered plain navy cushions but then added this outdoor fabric to two of them.

I cut it 8” wide, hemmed the raw edges and stitched it down the center of the cushions. Et voila! Semi-custom covered dining chairs for the al fresco dining space.

Sprucing Up a Boring Patio Umbrella

Sticking with the semi-custom theme, I decided to spruce up the cantilever umbrella, too. We had just purchased this item last summer, as well.

I decided I really needed to give the area a good punch. The only eye-catching element so far was the two newly trimmed dining chairs. I debated several different options and styles for trim, fringe, and tassels.

In the end I decided on this 6” bullion fringe from Sunbrella.

Attaching it was as easy as gluing it to the edge. It’s pretty heavy so I used heavy duty fabric glue and pinned it as I went in order to hold it flush while the glue dried.

Semi-Formal Outdoor Tablescape

When I use this table for a meal I want it to be pretty but simple. I don’t intend to have super formal dinner parties out here. We grill a lot, I love salads, wraps, family style serving, passing bottles of wine around, etc.

So to balance the casualness of al fresco dining with the semi-formal style I prefer, I chose the following pieces.

Blue and white ginger jars for the centerpiece, blue and white dishes and napkins, napkin rings, placemats, footed goblets, and candles all give the table a formal air. But because the placemats and napkin rings are woven they tone down the formality.

Votive candles in simple glass jars instead of pillar candles, and big, fresh cut flowers also make the setting more casual.

All together (including the tablecloths, candles, votive holders, and dinner plates) the entire table setting cost right around $200.

Chair cushions, trim fabric, spray paint, and trim for the umbrella cost just over $300. That means all in all I only spent $500 of my total budget on the al fresco dining space for my patio makeover.

Other Outdoor Furniture Hacks

Adding trim to outdoor furniture is probably one of the easiest and most impactful ways you can spruce up store bought outdoor furniture. Here are some hacks I used in other areas of my backyard.

I decided to add a DIY belt to plain navy pillows using rope trim and velcro. This just adds a little pop and gives a nod to the subtle beach/nautical style I have going on in the space.

I also bought standard bench cushions and custom cut them to fit my fire pit benches.

Check out the how-t0 of this project on my Instagram.

Lastly, I have lots of outdoor fabric leftover from the dining chair trim and this console table I covered.

I plan to use these fabrics to make bolsters or throw pillows for the fire pit benches. I will link to that project when it's completed.

Well, I’ve given you several ideas of how to hack your outdoor furniture, from spray painting, to adding trim to umbrellas and pillows, to customizing the shape of cushions.

Which hack are you most likely to use in your next outdoor project?

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