Bland Patio to Tropical Paradise: A Renters’ Pallet Remodel
Once upon a time, we had a small patio that looked quite bland and generic. One day, the ideas to transform this patio into a beautiful bohemian style outdoor room came out of no where. I just got so excited, and called hubby: “Yes we are RENTERS, and yes, we ARE going to “REMODEL”our small patio into a tropical island style retreat, with pallets! “
How often are we waiting to truly start living?
You see, we do love where we rent, except for ……. the architectural style!
So to have our dream style patio looking like a boho tropical paradise, it looks like we will have to wait till we buy a house, have the right budget, have enough time…. right?!?
“NO, we are going to remodel our patio!“
* Some resources in article are affiliate links. Full disclosure here .
Creatively, the Renter’s Way:
Rule #1: No drilling into / attaching to existing patio walls
Rule #2: No painting existing surfaces including patio floor, walls and ceiling
Rule #3: We want to prove that everyone can have a gorgeous space no matter what their budget is, so we are making this with pallets!
Rule #4: We love a built-in look, but everything we build should be easily taken apart when we move.
Ready for the story to begin? This post will be a fun tour of our pallet patio / outdoor room with lots of patio ideas and bohemian decor DIYs. For detailed DIY tutorials on each component, go to the list at the end.
We’ll start with this inspiration board that inspired our patio design ideas !
We want this outdoor space to evoke the beauty of the ocean near us, and some of our favorite places like Kauai .
The materials, forms and colors are all inspired by the nature and culture of tropical islands, from turquoise water to yellow plumerias, from fishing baskets to tin roofs of island shacks.
You must be thinking how we took apart all those pallets?!
( Some of the helpful resources are affiliate links. Full disclosure here. ) Well, this tool made it SO much quicker and easier: a Duckbill Deck Wrecker we got on Amazon !
And here’s a detailed guide on how to find and work with pallets!
First thing on this patio we set out to transform was the floor!
We built panels of wood floor mats with pallets, stained them to look like tropical hardwood, and created a stenciled area right outside our living room door.
Remember the DIY pallet coffee table and benches with beach pebbles? Yes, those were designed for here! Now they look like built-in furniture don’t they?
Built-in seating is a great way to transform a space into a cozy nook, and a great way to save space because the walls are double functioning as backs for the seats! This is a perfect design solution for our small patio!
The pallet wood wall panels are built to be free standing. The 90 degree corners and posts behind the wood slats hold the panels together in place.
Instead of using all wood, we made a panel at the center from corrugated scrap metal, used as roofing on rustic style buildings from fishing shacks to old barns!
We transformed plastic Home-depot planters into these wood planters (here’s the tutorial! ) , which also hide the generic looking wall caps!
We also needed a place to store things such as watering can, a few tools, etc, so we built a cabinet from pallets! That’s going to be a long tutorial coming!
This cabinet also supports our pallet living wall, remember the DIY here?
Oh, and that wall sconce! We made a simple cover inspired by fishing baskets of tropical Asia! What is it made of? It will be a surprise, although I know you guessed it …. until we get to that tutorial! =)
Whew! There’s our tour! Was it a lot of work? Oh YES!
Worth it? Absolutely! Before this “remodel”, we did not use this space much because it was just not that inviting. Like sitting outside a warehouse or in a parking lot, sort of.
After the makeover, it’s like sitting in the warm embrace of a little tropical resort! It simply draws us out and we do come out here to eat, read, and dream daily!
And the best part? We now know that we don’t have to wait for the right location, the right job, the right income, the right weather….
The time to live our dreams fully, is NOW.
List of tutorials related to this patio makeover –
1. All About Pallets: An updated guide on where to find, how to select & work with pallets, and project ideas!
2. Stenciled Pallet Floor (or door mat!) : With free patterns that we created for here and how to make your own stencil!
3. Pallet Bench and Table: In this tutorial we make a table with … beach pebbles!
4. Wood + Plastic Hybrid Planters: They have the look of wood planters, and the easy of use of plastic planters!
5. Pallet Tropical Living Wall: So easy, it takes 30 minutes!
WOW! Really can’t add more to what has already been said. I’ve looked at hundreds (maybe thousands) of pallet projects. Yours is the best ever!
thank you so much Mady for such a sweet comment!! although we have moved, this DIY will always be really special to us 🙂
Very inspiring remodeling project. We really like your outdoor patio design upgrade! Hope ours comes out as wonderful as yours!
Absolutely, adorable! So creative. One of the best remodels on a budget I have ever seen. My late mom was the queen of budget remodels and she would have Loved this!
thank you so much Jan for sharing your sweet memories! i am sure i would love what she had created! 🙂
Hi, just wanted to say thanks for such an inspiring make-over. I too live in a rental ( town-house, with a small courtyard at back, and a good sized balcony off main bedroom ). I have been wanting to do something like this, but wasn’t quite sure how to go about it. Thanks to you, I am now so inspired to get started, can’t wait!!
thank you laura! happy “remodeling”!! 🙂
Hi – my significant other and I were inspired by your outdoor remodel project and so we’re attempting to do one ourselves. A few quick questions:
* Did you lay anything beneath the wood floor panels, or just put them directly on the concrete?
* What kind of stain did you use to get the tropical wood look?
hi brian, we put them directly on concrete, our patio is covered from rain. i used diluted acrylic paint, i also have a post on home-made wood stains here which should all work- http://www.apieceofrainbow.com/make-wood-stain/
Is that an apartment patio/balcony?!!? WOW, & I do mean WOW!!! I have lived in SO MANY apartments in my life (not now, I’m glad to say) & I can’t tell you how many times I’ve sat on my patio/balcony wishing I had the money to fix it up. Of course if I’d ever thought about doing something like this, it would have been ON like Donkey Kong!! I’ve seen a lot of pallet DIYs, but this……this is amazingly inventive, incredibly gorgeous, intensly inviting, & totally inspiring….I WANT ONE TOO! (ha ha ha) I actually found a man who has so many pallets (he owns & runs an oilfield company), he will NEVER use them all. So, I stop by & offer to even buy some & he refuses to get rid of even 5 or 10 of them…..VERY rude & hateful person. That was well over a year ago & they are still sitting there, in the mud, getting rained on, snowed on….you name it.. but he won’t sell any to me. Go figure…just my luck (lol). So if you know of anyone in the Odessa/Midland (TX) area who has pallets to share, let me know! Love your work! Keep it up because I need more ideas!
hi danielle, thank you for your kind wors! =)
forget about that rude guy, i have in this article http://www.apieceofrainbow.com/all-about-pallets/ all my fav places to get pallets, i am sure you can find some!! =)
How do you deal with the rain? Does it block the drain? Are there any concerns of wood rot?
our patio is fully covered. if rain gets in, the floor would be affected by rain. a single mat that can be lifted and dried would be a better choice in that case!
this is truly inspiring! I live in a concrete block of depresingness and this is just what will transform my space!!!
so pretty and imaginative….you’re so right, why wait to start living?
This is by far the most beautiful patio remodel I’ve seen! WOW! Can you come do this at my house??
Just looking at your creativity takes me back immediately to tropical places I have visited, great taste.
Very, VERY clever little remodel given the space and the renting situation. We loved it so much we shared it over at ours!
thank you Jamie! 🙂
This is simply stunning! You absolutely captured the tropical feel that you were going for, and it feels like you’re in a completely different location. Great job 🙂
thank you dear LZ! =)
This is beautiful! I’d love to know the breakdown of costs and total cost of the project.
hi bee! i am not good with numbers and records haha! it costs very little $, but we spent a LOT of time on it! =)
I can see no screws in your pictures – which is actually pretty nice! How did you put the parts together for the walls? Do you have some structure under the boards from wich you put scres into the back of the boards?
hi carola, if you go to the stenciled floor link in this post, it talks about the walls and how everything is put together! =)
I was wondering how I might about this for here , up north , where snow accumulates during the long winter months and then need to drain off… very nice , but would need to adjust for the climate difference
hi jed, that’s a good question… i think well defined space and colors are most important. =)
That is super cool! I love things made from pallets so that part is neat to me automatically but I really loved how you were able to totally transform a rented space without hurting what was there. So neat!
This is so beautiful! I agree with Donna at Funky Junk; a magazine is going to pick this up! Having fun looking at the rest of your website. So many good ideas!
What a fabulous oasis you’ve created. Now you can take a vacation on your own patio!
thank you Betsy! 🙂
Did you just hear a big CLUNK? That was me falling over your pallet wood patio redo. Oh my gosh… are you kidding me?! If every magazine in the world doesn’t pick this one up, they have missed the pallet junk boat!
Stunning! Just stunning. Featuring you on Party Junk this weekend!
thank you so much donna, my dear pallet idol!! you inspire me so much!! xoxo
Ummm…would you like to come over to my townhome and work your magic?? This is amazing!! I own my townhome and would still do something like this! Awesome job! 🙂
sure Vicky! 🙂
Really amazing before-and-after! Congrats on the vision and the accomplishment! 🙂
From the photos, I’m unclear on what’s holding everything together (especially the pallet “walls”) if you couldn’t drill into the pre-existing concrete surfaces, etc. Does info at the related links explain that? Thanks!
hi Paula! I will post the detail of the wall and floor next week! 🙂
This is speechlessly beautiful and inspiring!!! How did you guys put the pallets together and how are the pallets attached to the wall?
thank you hoi! the wood panels held together like a 3-sided box, it’s not attached to the wall =)
That’s amazing! I was wondering the same thing about how they were attached to the walls. So incredibly creative and BEAUTIFUL!! I’m going to use your patio for MY inspiration board. 😉
This is SO awesome! I’m planning a balcony makeover and I’m totally making your colorful wood planters!
Ananda, ummm I have no words…Ok, this is stinking’ AMAZING!! Wow it is like a paradise and I want to move in! 🙂 You are so awesome can I just say…LOVE!!
thank you mindi! i’d be thrilled to see you move here- imagine all the DIY fun we can have?!? xx
Ananda, This is just AWESOME! Wow, you did such a great job, what a fun space!
thank you my friend! xx
You are so incredibly creative! This space is so awesome and I can’t believe it’s all non-permanent and renter-friendly! GENIUS!!! I love it!
thank you dear brynne! this was so much work haha! =)
That is amazing, so inspirational! Pinned! Thanks for sharing such a lovely space with us. 🙂
thank you so much justine! xx
OMGosh Ananda! Every time I come here, I am amazed at your talent. But this time, it’s over the TOP! I am loving this paradise, and I can’t believe you did it with pallets! It’s truly beautiful. When I saw it, I shoved my computer at my husband and said “LOOK at this amazing patio my friend Ananda made with pallets! It’s beautiful!!!” I want to go out there and read every day too! You are truly talented girl, and I am so humbled! xoxo
aww kristi you are so sweet! thank you my dear friend!! xo
WOW!!! I can hardly believe that’s the same patio! I think it’s a great idea to love where you live… a little bit of elbow grease and you can have your dream living space no matter where you live!
so true! no matter where we live, we can have a dream space! xx
OH my gosh. This is something I am going to have to try out. It is absolutely beautiful!
This is absolutely frigg’n awesome!!
thank you!! =)
I LOVE this. So much goodness!
this looks awesome!! I wish I had the time to do this project.
this is a great post!
This is my world.
The build your own wooden pallets and other beautiful things!
You can do as much good stuff as you show them also.
To me it is also a need to share beautiful things with a lot of other people who do not have a large income etc.
Anyone can rebuild if he wants.
Many, many greetings
thank you uwe!! yes no one should feel limited because of budget! look forward to see more of your pallet creations! =)
wow you are so creative! I love this post!! The colors are so inviting, beautiful blog!
Amazing…I’m totally floored! Makes me wish I was more handy with tools!
WOW!!!! This is SO, SO impressive! I wish I had been this creative with my rentals. You guys totally rocked this… =)
thank you so much miranda!! xx
AMAZING!!! I would be out there all the time.
Yes! I’ve been looking for some pallets for a while for a DIY I already have in mind and you just gave me so many new ideas 🙂
Oh my goodness. I’m speechless. I can’t believe you did SO MUCH without crossing the lines of renting the house. This is incredible! Love the colors!
Wow, you just nailed my dream porch! We have a huge lower deck that has a pool and a screened in porch that I love but we also have a porch off of our master bathroom upstairs and I am dying to get some pallets and go to work. You might have just inspired me to actually start that process. I had thought about doing it when we first moved in a year ago but never got around to it!
Wow! This looks wonderful. I beyond love it. Thanks for sharing.
That is beautiful!!! You did a great job! =)