06/21/2013 01:23 pm ET Updated Aug 21, 2013

How to Create a Stylish Summer Patio

By Kathy Woodard for

Stylish patios are easy to create and popular for creating outdoor extensions to the home. They allow you to enjoy the outdoors in comfort, and outdoor living has never been more a part of our everyday living! Even if your budget is tight and your space small, you can carve out a little oasis to whisk you away from the hustle of daily life for you and your loved ones.

The first step in creating an stylish patio or outdoor room is to locate the right place for it. If you have a built in covered porch or patio, you have a natural area. However, sometimes it's nice to create a space farther away from buildings and the commotion of others, so feel free to look for unused spots under a tree in the garden or in a private side yard to create an unattached patio.

Once you have your chosen spot for your sanctuary, you need only follow a few easy steps to create a patio "room" that anyone would enjoy relaxing in after a long day.

Step One: Give Your Patio Room Floors, Walls and Ceilings

No, I'm not talking hiring a contractor here; there are easy ways to add the sense of boundaries and privacy without spending big bucks. Use inexpensive fabric panels or hanging planters to create a private wall on a porch, or trellising, evergreens in planters or hedging out in the garden. Trees, vine covered arbors, or the brilliant blue sky all make an excellent ceiling. Flooring can consist of grass, gravel, paving or decking. My favorite technique to dress up a plain concrete floor is to paint on a faux area rug. Clean the concrete first, paint and stencil your rug using masking tape and house paint, then seal with an exterior grade polyurethane.

Step Two: Add Furniture and Accessories

Even a simple chair tucked in a quiet corner can make your oasis special. Consider resin or aluminum furniture to keep costs down. Plastic or resin chairs can be spray painted with specialty paints to give them a more upscale look. Add a table for those glasses of lemonade! Don't be afraid to bring traditional decorating items into your rooms. Pillows, throws and candles all make charming and useful additions, and add comfort to your space. If your room is open to the elements, you can either purchase weather resistant fabrics, or bring your fabric items indoors during bad weather. Remember you are in an outdoor room, so decorate with nature! Planters of flowers, garden signs, and even old tools, birdhouses and watering cans are at home in an outdoor room.

Step Three: Light Up the Night Sky

To make your special spot really magical, add lighting to create a nighttime glow. Strings of inexpensive white holiday lights can be wrapped around tree branches or decking, tiki torches and candles add a festive flair, and solar lights can accent the pathway or steps.

Follow these easy steps to creating a warm and welcoming outdoor patio space as inviting as any interior room!

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Kathy Woodard (Wilson) has worked in home and garden design since 1988. Single mom of five kids, she knows what she's talking about when it comes to tight budgets! Ms. Woodard shares her expert advice on her popular website and newsletter The Budget Decorator, which is available online at She is a home decorating expert and columnist for and, and is a freelance writer published in such magazines as Country Woman, Country Sampler's Decorating Ideas, HGTV's Decorating Newsletter and Decorating Solutions Magazine. She has a self syndicated column seen in hundreds of national and regional publications. When she is not writing or caring for her children, she loves gardening, decorating, photography, reading and spending time in the outdoors.