A Screened in Porch on a Budget

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We’ve lived in our home for 4 years and we really love our screened porch. As a family we spend more time there than we do in the living room. And when friends come over we naturally walk out to the back porch to catch up.

My husband works from home and he has adopted the screened porch as his secondary office. He had a lot of say in the redesign/refresh of our porch design and requested the porch have a masculine, cabin feel. And I think we pulled it off! The space feels cozy and welcoming with a lot of wood tones. We spent just under $400 on a new outdoor rug, 2 barrel chairs, a coffee table, speaker system, bamboo shades, and an updated ceiling fan for our screened porch.

Scroll down for more pictures and design ideas for improving a screened in porch on a budget.

porch when we moved in 5 years ago

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Updated Screened in Porch

We’ve had our outdoor sectional for almost 4 years. It fits the space wonderfully, gives us a big seating area, and is still in great shape so I wanted to design around it. Last year I purchased 9 new outdoor throw pillows from World Market at the end of the season for 75% off.

Our screened porch was functional but we wanted to make the space more personal to our style. The coffee table felt dark and heavy. And the rug (originally from a thrift store) was very worn and faded.  

the porch last summer

A Bamboo Coffee Table

Honestly, this spring I was discouraged that I wouldn’t be able to update our porch at all. Thankfully we spotted a $9 vintage bamboo coffee table at Goodwill in June. It was exactly the look I wanted for the space, and it encouraged me to keep going with our screened porch update!

If you find bamboo at a thrift store and it is in less than perfect condition, it is possible to restore it. Check out my friend Lora of Craftivity Design’s article on restoring bamboo and rattan furniture. It is really helpful!

Quick Tip: when discouraged you don’t have a big budget for a project. Spend a day visiting local thrift stores. Chances are you will find some frugal inspiration! 

Bamboo Shades

Meanwhile my husband splurged on 5 bamboo shades for the porch. We live in a suburban community with homes close together, and the shades give us some privacy while working or hanging out. And added bonus: the blinds keep the porch much cooler during the day!

Vintage Barrel Chairs

The barrel chairs were another thrift store find. My husband found them at our local Habitat for $8 each. At first I thought of recovering the plaid, but on second thought–they add to the cabin feel of the space. I added some pillows to the seats too, to tone down the plaid a bit.

A Neutral Outdoor Rug

We went shopping in early July and found that Target & Home Depot had their outdoor rugs on clearance. I picked a neutral tan rug with a trellis pattern. It looks like a natural jute, but is made of polypropylene to resist mold. I was thrilled to find a large outdoor rug for under $100! 

Porch Smart Tech

We added technology to the outdoor space, too. We installed a set of string lights for evening and synced it to a Wemo smart plug. My husband rewired a speaker system from the thrift store and synced it to an Echo Dot we already owned. So we can control our lights and music using smart technology, which I find pretty cool! 

Screened In Porch Update:

Bamboo Coffee Table- $9 Goodwill

Set of Caned Barrel Chairs- $16 Restore

8′ x10′ Outdoor Trellis Rug– $89 (in store on clearance)

Speaker System- $68 (subwoofer, receiver, and speakers from the thrift store plus new wiring)

25′ Globe String Lights– $16 from Amazon

Bamboo Roll Up Sun Shades, 5 panels- $174 from Amazon

Painted Ceiling Fan– $25 DIY Update

Total $397

We are so happy with how our screened porch turned out. It feels like our second living room, protected from the elements but still with cozy outdoor charm. If I had purchased the chairs, coffee table, and speaker system new we easily could have been close to $1k on this project.

By purchasing a few furniture pieces used and buying the rug on clearance we saved several hundred dollars and spent under $400. Hope this project inspires you to shop with a purpose and budget in mind on your next project!

Looking for more design inspiration? Check out these screened in porch ideas.

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