7 quick & easy ways to upgrade your garden furniture on a budget this summer

a patio with a table and chairs
How to upgrade your garden furniture on a budgetHearst Owned

Has your garden furniture seen better days? Good news: giving your furniture a much needed makeover in time for summer doesn't have to cost a fortune.

Anjelica Delfino, Valspar Paint’s paint and interiors expert, has shared a few of her top tips for upgrading your outdoor furniture, without having to replace it. Thankfully all seven upgrades are quick and easy, but they'll also completely transform the way your outdoor space looks and feels.

Get cleaning

Before you get started, give everything a clean. Garden furniture is likely to have accumulated quite a bit of dust, dirt and grime, whether you’ve left it out over winter or stowed it away. ‘And lemon juice is the perfect cheap hack for removing mould,’ Anjelica reveals. 'Mix lemon juice and a pinch of salt and use a sponge to gently remove mould and stains.’

If you plan on painting, sand the surface down to remove any existing paint before going in with a primer to ensure an even and long-lasting finish.

Apply a fresh lick of paint

A fresh coat of paint can completely transform a tired and weathered piece of furniture. The key though, is to opt for weather-resistant paint that is formulated for outdoor use and ensures it lasts year after year.

outdoor table in garden

Just like any makeover, why not take the opportunity to have some fun with colour and inject a bit of personality into your garden too? Tropical shades like teal, pink, orange and yellow look fantastic for summer. Or if you’re looking for a more neutral or classic style, try a warm cream tone or a sage green hue.

a table with chairs and a lamp

Reupholster cushions

Had the same outdoor cushions for years now? Well, you can give them a quick makeover simply by reupholstering. Either pick up some affordable fabric or, to save even more money, repurpose old curtains, tablecloths or even shower curtains.

You don't need to be an expert sewer or upholsterer either: all you really need is some basic sewing skills and a staple gun. 'Don't forget to add a layer of waterproof sealant to shield the fabric from rain and moisture,’ advises Anjelica.

outside seating area, brickwork painted white, potted plants surrounded the seat with pink and rose gold cushions scattered
House Beautiful / Mark Scott

Maximise greenery

A brilliant way to integrate more plants into your garden while simultaneously updating your outdoor furniture, is to incorporate planters or trellises. Plus, you can use items that might not be getting much use elsewhere as you do so.

For example, ‘convert an old ladder into a vertical garden by attaching planter boxes to each rung or simply placing potted plants on each step,’ Anjelica suggests. Alternatively, attach trellises to the backs of benches or chairs to support climbing plants and vines. Not only does it add some lush greenery but it creates a sense of privacy too, which is ideal if your garden is overlooked by neighbours.

garden with trellis planter and colourful plants

DIY a coffee table

Elevating our outdoor living room experience, a coffee table can be a handy piece of furniture to have in the garden, and to create one of your own, all you need are a few wooden pallets.

Often you can pick these up for free – or close to free – making them a great budget-friendly option. Then all you need is some wood glue, caster wheels, and a few coats of paint, says Anjelica. If you’re feeling particularly confident, you could even make a whole set of pallet furniture.

‘You can opt for a classic white, or make this DIY coffee table a statement piece by going bold with a bright pink or sunny yellow,’ Anjelica suggests. But whatever colour you choose, it will immediately jazz up an otherwise empty space.

grey benches and a purple table made of wooden pallets in garden
Анатолий Тушенцов - Getty Images

Look indoors

There’s probably furniture in your home that no longer fits with your current aesthetic. Maybe it’s an ornate set of drawers or a side table that goes unused. So, why not give it a new life outdoors?

In particular, Anjelica likes the idea of filling an old set of drawers with potted plants so you can change the display through the seasons. 'Alternatively, line the drawers with heavy plastic and drill some drainage holes if you want to plant directly into them,’ she explains. Just remember that the weight of the soil might make them quite heavy, so bear that in mind if you can plan on moving them around the garden.

keukenhof or kitchen garden, also known as the garden of europe, is one of the worlds largest flower gardens famous for its tulips, it is open only during spring time, and is one of the netherlands largest tourist attractions
Merten Snijders

Mirror, mirror

If your patio or balcony is lacking some visual interest, consider using mirrors which you can position against a wall or fence. Much like they do indoors, mirrors can help to create the illusion of more space and enhance the overall look. ‘They're also great if your garden doesn’t receive a large amount of sunlight, as the reflections will help brighten up the space,’ Anjelica explains.

But avoid buying a new one. Instead, you can upcycle an existing mirror in your home. If there's nothing already in your possession, have a rummage at your local charity shop to pick up a secondhand one for a much more affordable price.

arched garden mirror
Nickbeer - Getty Images

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