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. For more, here are 52 Best landscaping ideas & designs for gardens, rooftops, and balconies.
Our patio design inspiration board
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?!
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!
Step 1: transform the patio 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!