How to make a patio look expensive on a budget — 8 stylish ideas you'll love

Make a patio look expensive with simple tips from a lick of paint to wall lights and outdoor rugs

how to make a patio look expensive on a budget, patio porch with furniture, round mirror, rug, firepit
(Image credit: Truss Interiors)

Embrace luxe resort vibes and make a patio look expensive with a few simple tips and tricks. As the warmer months creep in, you'll want your outdoor space to look its best.  

It can be as simple as revamping your patio with some leftover paint, adding some pots full of summer blooms, or investing in an inexpensive patio umbrella. 

Whatever your budget limit is, we have options that will help you transform your patio ideas from tired to stylish. 

How to make a patio look expensive on a budget

We all want our patios to look high end but sometimes budget can hinder this a little. Our guide on how to make a patio look expensive on a budget will give you great ideas on how to achieve a stylish and quality look for less. 

Prices were correct at the time this article was published.

1. Add a touch of color

Porch/patio with duck egg blue painted shiplap, round table with green painted chairs, stripe blue rug and cushions, tableware, vase of foliage on table

(Image credit: Little Greene)

One of the quickest ways to add value and make a patio look more expensive on a budget is to freshen it up with paint. 

Ruth Mottershead, creative director, Little Greenesays, "Paint is the perfect way to transform a patio or porch quickly and easily, be it a refresh of garden furniture, creating an outdoor feature wall, or painting fences, railings, a garden gate, pillars or even plant pots, paint is a fantastic tool for adding personality and character to create an inspired exterior. 

You can do this as sparingly or as much as you like, Ruth adds:

"You don’t need to revamp the whole garden scheme to make a design statement, a simple update such as painting an exterior wall or revamping patio furniture can make the whole space feel renewed."

expert headshot Ruth Mottershead
Ruth Mottershead

Ruth Mottershead, creative director of Little Greene, has been working in her family’s business for 12 years. She writes content for the company’s marketing material, manages photoshoots and communicates with Little Greene and Paint & Paper Library’s customers.

2. Add interest with an outdoor rug

Patio furniture with coir rug, large planter, rattan coffee table, hurricane lamps

(Image credit: OKA)

Often it's not the big pieces that add value, but rather the smaller details that bring a look together and make it successful. 

"The secret is to consider the space an extension of your home and decorate it as you would any other room in the house. For example, I like to add rugs to a living room or bedroom to give the space texture and color, and an indoor/outdoor rug will do exactly the same to an al fresco area, while also giving the patio a focal point,"  says Sue Jones, creative director at OKA.

For a similar rug try Anthropologie's Handwoven Mischa rug is natural with a bold orange check.

Before placing your new rug down on your patio check out our guide on how to clean without a pressure washer first. 

expert headshot of Sue Jones OKA
Sue Jones

Creative director Sue Jones founded OKA in early 1999 with friends Annabel Astor and Lucinda Waterhouse. Since then, OKA has exceeded all expectations, growing into a fully-fledged omni-channel retailer operating 13 stores across the UK and three in the US.

3. Invest in a fire pit

how to make a patio look expensive on a budget, patio with furniture, rug, round mirror, firepit, view of yard

(Image credit: Truss Interiors)

There's nothing nicer than toasting smores over a fire pit, and they certainly help to make a patio look more expensive — as well as adding an ambient glow and heat. 

"This fire table has extra class because of the light color and glass surround around the burner mechanism. Coupled with teak accent furnishings, and large-scale lanterns, the patio has a nice balance between comfort and casual elegance making it feel elevated, yet approachable," says Julee Wray, founder and lead designer, Truss Interiors.

4. Pick stylish accessories

Patio with rattan armchair, white seating, blue cushions, coffee table, tray, flowers,

(Image credit: Cailini Coastal)

As with your interiors, the accessories you choose for your patio can make or break a scheme so it's worth spending some time to get them right. 

Consider chair pillows, a blanket or two for those cooler evenings, and a tray to serve drinks and nibbles on. And choose melamine tableware as it's light to carry and they come in a great selection of decorative designs. 

"Don't forget to accessorize just as you would in a living room, adding a personal touch such as lanterns, hurricanes, smaller table top planters or objects will also add a richness and interest to the space," shares Katie McCaffrey, owner and principal of McCaffrey Design Group.

We really like Anthropologie's Dakota melamine dinner plates, they also come in lavender, medium pink, dark green, and white. 

image of interior designer Katie McCaffrey from McCaffrey Design Group
Katie McCaffrey

Under Katie’s strong leadership, California-based McCaffrey Design Group has developed a reputation for client-centric designs that delight with incredibly tailored and unique spaces.

5. Take time to choose the right lighting

Patio wall with wall light and planter with tree

(Image credit: Buster + Punch)

Lighting is a key aspect to creating a patio space that's welcoming and ambient. There's plenty to choose from that suit all budgets – festoon lights, fairy lights, candles and one of our favorite options – wall lights. They can be more of an investment, but if you choose wisely it will last for years. 

"I wanted to use a cast solid metal backplate that would have a soft glow during the day when natural light touches it – and then it transforms and softens when the sun goes down and you switch to artificial light," says Massimo Minale, architect and founder, Buster + Punch

Wayfair have a great selection of outdoor wall lights, we love their Ainsworth Steel Wall Light, it's stylish with a classic design that will suit all patios. 

6. Choose a selection of furniture

how to make your patio look expensive on a budget, undercover budget with white and wood furniture, white coffee table, pendant light,

(Image credit: Summer Classics)

How you layout your patio furniture can make or break your patio scheme and if you get it right it will help to make it look more expensive. It's good to use a selection of furniture types and to have a central focal point. 

An outdoor sofa and a mixture of armchairs around a coffee table is a good start. Armchairs offer flexibility as you can move them around. Furniture with white or cream seating and back pillows always looks super stylish and therefore gives the illusion of being expensive. Keep your color scheme pale and choose a white side and coffee tables. 

Katie McCaffrey has a great tip for this, "To make a patio or porch feel expensive have pieces which feel substantial — think furnishings which have weight and permanence, not ones which will fly away in a wind gust."

7. Add some greenery

Apartment patio with wood and white furniture, plant

(Image credit: McCaffrey Design Group)

With interiors we always say 'Bring the outside in' and that's because plants and flowers bring life to a scheme. The same works for your patio too, add plants where possible as it will create a lush feel as well as color and texture, and they're great for strapped budgets. 

"I am also a huge proponent of large plants potted or otherwise. The large scale will feel more landscaped and will envelope the space giving it more permanence and coziness. It's all about making the patio feel like a room — an extension of the house," says Katie McCaffrey. has this stunning Magnolia Tree that's ideal for patios and porches, it can live for generations too!

8. Pop up a patio umbrella

Outdoor patio with parasol, rug, wood table and chairs, outdoor kitchen

(Image credit: Ikea)

As well as offering much needed shade, a patio umbrella is a stylish addition to your patio that will give it a more expensive look. 

From elegant whites like this smart Pierpoint Market Umbrella from Wayfair, to Amazon's Jearey designs in an array of brights, there's something for every patio scheme. 

It's certainly possible to make a patio look expensive on a budget if you're clever with what you spend your money on. 

From patio furniture upgrades to simple outdoor accessories, you can choose stylish pieces and revamp your patio with our top tips. 

Sophie Warren-Smith

Sophie has been an interior stylist and journalist for over 22 years and has worked for many of the main interior magazines during that time both in-house and as a freelancer. On the side, as well as being the News Editor of indie magazine, 91, Sophie trained to be a florist in 2019 and launched The Prettiest Posy where she curates beautiful flowers for the modern bride.