Backyard on a Budget: Part 1

If you've been following this blog for any length of time, you already know I'm very budget savvy. If there's a way to do something on the cheap, I will, and this summer-long series chronicling my backyard adventures will be no exception. Sometimes I'm thrifty to the point of yuck (like in this post) and sometimes a light bulb goes off and I think I've thought of a pretty good idea (like in this post, this post, and this post).

Well, on our trip to the states last week, I walked into the home aisle at TJMaxx (first place I go!) and saw my go-to vintage blue colour just screaming my name! It was a vinyl polka dot outdoor table cloth, and although I don't actually have a table outside, nor do I actually use table cloths, I knew I had to have it! My first thought was "How has it never crossed my mind to buy table cloths instead of fabric (especially if they're on sale for $4.99!)?" Granted, this was of the vinyl variety, but there are plenty of indoor/outdoor table cloths that aren't vinyl and are a very weighty durable material that could be used for loads of things. Although I wish these weren't vinyl, I do love the colour, and I do love the fact that they're wipeable.

We have a pretty standard "conversation" set outside which consists of two arm chairs, a love seat and a coffee table (please don't judge the sorry state of this before photo- it hadn't been touched since last summer!). We got it as a wedding gift from my grandparents, so it's served us well for nearly four years. The furniture itself has held up spectacularly! We leave it out all winter long and do not cover it up, and it still looks the same as when we first assembled it. This resin wicker stuff is grand! The seat cushions, on the other hand, have not faired as well. They were pretty flimsy to start with, and over the years they just haven't held their own. I'm dying (DYING I tell you) for some nice chunky, beefy white cushions, and Ikea just happens to have them. I was oh so very excited, until I saw the price tags. They are $40 each, and I need 4, so including tax it's going to total $180. Eeek! Just for seat cushions? And of course, once I have pretty seat cushions, I need to get pretty toss cushions, and so the total would not so slowly creep up!

I do one day hope to get new cushions (it IS my birthday the end of this month, hint hint to the peeps in my life!), but I really wanted to do something in the interim. Plus, if I am ever the lucky owner of $180 worth of cushions, I can tell ya that as soon as September hits, those babies would be wrapped up and inside my garage about as fast as I shovel down dark chocolate during my period. So, since we do have the occasional nice day in the fall that I might like to take advantage of, it would be nice to have a "secondary" set of pillows that can hang out all year long.

So, that is how the polka dot table cloth seat cushions came to be! The colour is so fun and they were so easy to do! I didn't even bother sewing them. Just wrapped em up like a prezzie, and instead of taping the sides, I glue-gunned it.

Although I'm not one to shy away from a good DIY project, you will never see me take on any "big" DIYs. I admire those people who build furniture like Anna White, and tile their own floors, and reupholster their sofas, but I'm not one of those people. My requirements for a DIY to be worth it is that it HAS to be both inexpensive and somewhat quick and easy to accomplish. If it does not meet those requirements, then I would rather SEDI (someone else do it). Time is valuable too, yo!

Ok, back to my cheap and easy DIY. Oh wait, it was so easy that I actually have no more instructions to give! Buy cheap table cloth, cut to size, wrap your pillow, glue gun it, and you're done!

 I am hoping to accent my blue with some graphic tangerine or coral pillows like I posted about here (which will definitely be a DIY and certainly a part of this series), but until then I just brought out some extra pillows I had inside to demonstrate the idea.

Not bad for $5 makeover, hey?

What do you think? Yay or nay on the bold pattern for the seat cushions?

And this lil makeover has sparked a new idea.... DIY graphic barbecue covers! Genius, no? The ones they sell are so ugly. This would be cheap AND pretty! I think I may have to break out my sewing machine soon....

Thanks for stopping by!

xox J


  1. Great redo, Jen! The polka dot print is so fun and it didn't hurt your wallet to do something "in the meantime" while you dream about your Ikea cushions.

    My patio furniture is in a pretty sad state, too but the cushions are not such a forgiving shape for recovering without sewing skills. My trick is to distract guests with potted flowers and cute serving trays etc.

    I was excited to see your Dollarama spice cabinet featured on I Heart Organizing today. Congrats!

  2. Thanks Claire! It's not my "dream" but certainly better than the alternative! And I was so surprised and excited to come across my spice labels on my reader today! Glad you saw it! :)

  3. You are seriously awesome! Love your blog. You have inspired me to do so much in my house b/c you do make it easy...on a budget!!!

  4. Thanks! I'm all about cheap and easy, lol!

  5. Your townhouse actually has privacy fences?!?!?!? Ok that is it! I'm moving to Canada! But seriously, love how cute the colors turned out. And in my book, that is a major DYI project so kudos to you!

    1. Thanks darlin! It was probably the EASIEST DIY project one could ever do, so please don't give me too much credit! And they really don't have fenced in townhouse yards where you're from?

  6. So cute! And I love the budget!

    Enjoy your time in your fabulous yard. I'm a Maxxinista too. Can't get enough of TJ Maxx


  7. Love it! What a wonderful idea! Came over from the centsational Girl Party! I love the idea of a cute BBQ cover :)
    New follower here!

  8. Those polka dots are just cute! :) It is pretty amazing how you can come up with those fancy redo but with budget-friendly expenses!

  9. how do those feel when you sit on them with the outdoor table cloth? Does your skin stick to them?

  10. I know this is an old post, but how did these stand up over time? Did the hot glue hold up to in outdoor conditions?


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