Small Patio Decorating Ideas for Renters (and Everyone Else)

Aileen Allen

Article Posted By: Aileen Allen

of At Home In Love

Small Patio Ideas for Renters (and Everyone Else)

Here are some great small patio ideas for a comfortable and attractive outdoor space that doesn’t include a lot of space. Most of these ideas will work great on an apartment balcony or the small patio of a condo. And take note if you rent your home: You can easily take all this patio decor to your next home.

This is the contribution to The Home Depot Blog’s Patio Style Challenge series from Aileen Allen, who writes At Home in Love. We sent her a patio furniture set to get her started, and she did the rest.

These small patio decorating ideas make the most of a small space in an apartment or condo, but you’re bound to get some good patio inspiration even if you’re working with something with room to spare.

Small Patio Decorating Ideas

My husband and I rent a house with a little concrete patio, but in the two years that we’ve lived here, we’ve never put any effort into it. Like, zero. So when I was asked to participate in The Home Depot Patio Style Challenge, I was excited to have some motivation to actually do something with our patio!

I looked through some of the stylish patio ideas from last year’s Style Challenge, and to be honest I was inspired, but also a little bit intimidated. I don’t have a big backyard or a spacious deck, and since we rent, I can’t paint the concrete or make any drastic changes. But I knew I could still make ours better…and  I’m excited to show you what I did! It may not be the fanciest outdoor space you’ve ever seen, but I can tell you that it’s so much nicer than before. We never used to spend a lot of time on our patio, but that’s going to change this year.

A small patio badly in need of a makeover

Here’s what our patio looked like before. The only thing out there was a pair of metal garden chairs (that I got for $5 from Goodwill). We’d sit out there on sunny days sometimes, but it wasn’t particularly inviting or comfortable.

The Patio Bistro Set

My overall goal for the makeover was to make our small patio more inviting and fun, a place to actually hang out and relax together (and maybe even have friends over). The first order of business was to find some patio furniture. Our space is really small, so obviously there was no room for a dining table or big lounge chairs.

But The Cottage Grove Bistro Set by Hampton Bay was totally perfect. Cute, simple and modern, and just the right size for our small patio. The chairs came with seat cushions and pillows, so they’re way comfier than the chairs we had before, and the table is perfect for setting down a drink and a book. I can’t wait to sit out here this summer and read.

The Cottage Grove Bistro Set and  HotSpot Solid Base Revolver Fire Pit on a small patio

The Fire Pit

The next thing we got was a fire pit. It’s the HotSpot Solid Base Revolver Fire Pit. I had always wanted one, and I love the way this one looks. It’s clean and modern and really beautiful, and it has a wood cover, so it functions like a table when you don’t have a fire going.

The HotSpot Solid Base Revolver Fire Pit on a small patio

Outdoor String Lights

Next up, we hung up outdoor string lights between our house and the tree next to our patio. These string lights, my friends, are magic. They make any space feel more intimate, romantic, and finished. I highly recommend them!

Outdoor string lights over a small patio

The Grill

Plus, we got a grill. It’s a KitchenAid two-burner propane gas grill in stainless steel and black. It has a fairly small footprint, so it’s a good idea for a small patio. I’m really happy with all our patio changes, but might be the one I’m most excited about. I love steaks, cedar plank salmon, burgers, and all kinds of grilled deliciousness that we haven’t had the option to cook for the last few years. So this baby is definitely going to be getting lots of use.

A KitchenAid propane gas grill

Extra Color for the Patio 

Besides all the big things, I also put an outdoor rug and some painted terra cotta pots out there, to add some color.

Small Patio Ideas for Renters (and Everyone Else)

Table Ready for Alfresco Brunch

Small Patio Ideas for Renters (and Everyone Else)

The Patio at Night

The other night, we turned on the globe lights, lit a fire, and made some s’mores. It was so much fun–the first of many similar nights this spring and summer, I’m sure.

Small Patio Ideas: Outdoor string lights cast a lovely glow on a small patio at night.

A couple toasting marshmallows over a fire pit on their small patio

I hope my small patio makeover encourages you that no matter how big your patio is, whether you’re a homeowner or a renter, it’s worth putting some effort in! You don’t have to make any dramatic changes or undertake a huge project to make your patio into an inviting space that’s actually fun to hang out in. Some globe lights, a fire pit, and a few colorful accessories can make all the difference.

Aileen has more about this cozy outdoor space on her blog, including more photos.

Aileen Allen writes about design, lifestyle and DIY on her blog At Home in Love. She lives with her husband Ben in Seattle.

For more patio decorating ideas, see other Patio Style Challenge articles as well as our Patio Style Challenge pinboard on Pinterest. And browse our Outdoor Living Department for everything you need to enhance your outdoor space.