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! “

Build a stunning tropical outdoor room with pallets- A Renters Remodel! | A Piece Of Rainbow

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?!?

* Some resources in article are affiliate links. Full disclosure here .

“NO, we are going to remodel our patio!

pallet_remodel_apieceofrainbowblog (7)
Build a stunning tropical outdoor room with pallets- A Renters Remodel! | A Piece Of Rainbow

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 !

Build a stunning tropical outdoor room with pallets- A Renters Remodel! | A Piece Of Rainbow

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.

Build a stunning tropical outdoor room with pallets- A Renters Remodel! | A Piece Of Rainbow

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.

Build a stunning tropical outdoor room with pallets- A Renters Remodel! | A Piece Of Rainbow

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?Build a stunning tropical outdoor room with pallets- A Renters Remodel! | A Piece Of RainbowBuild a stunning tropical outdoor room with pallets- A Renters Remodel! | A Piece Of Rainbow

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!

Build a stunning tropical outdoor room with pallets- A Renters Remodel! | A Piece Of Rainbow

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!

Build a stunning tropical outdoor room with pallets- A Renters Remodel! | A Piece Of Rainbow

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? 

Build a stunning tropical living wall with pallet! | A Piece Of Rainbow

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! =)

Build a stunning tropical outdoor room with pallets- A Renters Remodel! | A Piece Of Rainbow

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.

Build a stunning tropical outdoor room with pallets- A Renters Remodel! | A Piece Of Rainbow

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!

Build a stunning tropical outdoor room with pallets- A Renters Remodel! | A Piece Of Rainbow
Build a stunning tropical outdoor room with pallets- A Renters Remodel! | A Piece Of Rainbow
Build a stunning tropical outdoor room with pallets- A Renters Remodel! | A Piece Of Rainbow

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!

70 Comments

  1. 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!

  2. Very inspiring remodeling project. We really like your outdoor patio design upgrade! Hope ours comes out as wonderful as yours!

  3. 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!

  4. 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!!
    Laura-Kay

  5. 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?

  6. 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!

    • 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!

  7. this is truly inspiring! I live in a concrete block of depresingness and this is just what will transform my space!!!

  8. 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?

  9. 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

  10. 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!

  11. 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!

  12. 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!

  13. 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! 🙂

  14. 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!

  15. This is speechlessly beautiful and inspiring!!! How did you guys put the pallets together and how are the pallets 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. 😉

  16. 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!!

  17. 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

  18. 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!

    Tania

  19. Hello Ananda,
    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
    Uwe

  20. 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!

  21. 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!

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