Outdoor Space Makeover: Painted Floors And DIY Drop Cloth Shade

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When we bought our home over 3 years ago I was smitten by the outdoor space just off the kitchen. It has a gorgeous view and adds a lot to the living space of the home during the summers.


outdoor space makeover

We hadn’t really done anything with the space since we moved in and I didn’t feel like we were taking advantage of it’s full potential. So I decided to cozy it up a bit.

checkerboard painted floors

The first portion of the space that was screaming for a face lift was the floor, it was dull and dirty.  I’ve always wanted a checkerboard floor. It seems really classic to me yet a major statement. It took a half gallon of paint and about two afternoons…

painted deck floor

1. first I found something I could use as a stencil for the diamonds. It just so happened that I had a picture frame that was exactly the size of diamonds I was going for (18×18). You could make your own stencil out of cardboard. I used chalk to outline the stencil starting on the end where the kitchen door is and working my way to the other side. I just eyeballed it, trying to make the diamond centered on the middle plank of wood.

2. Then I worked my way out to the edges using a ruler to draw the straight lines I needed to finish odd corners where the stencil wouldn’t fit.

3. Then I painted in the diamonds while watching Netflix on my tablet…multitasking is my fav.

4. And then I took my circular sander and gave it a quick run over the top allowing the grain of the wood to show through. This is the step that, to me, makes all the difference. It makes it look like it’s been like this for years, and distracts from any blemishes in the paint job.

drop cloth pergola shade

The second issue with this space that I wanted to tackle was the blazing heat. During the day it was not inviting with the sun beating down on it. And despite the beautiful pergola it didn’t provide any shade whatsoever. I’d seen several pergola shades that I loved but to buy them would have been $560 at the least for the size of space we have. So I did what any good creative elbow greaser would do and made one.

Walmart sells 9×12 canvas drop cloths for $19.97  this was my shade solution for our outdoor space. I bought two and did the following…

DIY drop cloth pergola shade

After these steps I sewed the two portions together making a 4 1/2 x 24 piece of material. Then I draped it evenly on every third rung of the pergola, using a staple gun to secure it. I also added some string lights from target to give a nice glow at night.pergola shade and lights

Outdoor Space Makeover After

After these two major projects I just started filling in with things I’ve been gathering and working on here and there. I made our 10 person pallet table last summer and the metal chairs and chandelier I happened upon at our local thrift store. I got the chair pads at IKEA. outdoor space makeover 3

Besides an eating area I wanted to designate a seating area for reading or watching the kids do acrobats on the trampoline… outdoor space makeover 5So I cleaned up a coffee table given to me by my sister. (sorry Josie I sanded your name carving off the top hehe) And I added some thrifted mirrors to reflect the vegetation. I also added one of my favorite patterned pillows that I actually got at the Queen Bee Market in Carlsbad last year! I’ve had those big floor pillows in the house for years but they’ve lived a good life and now I’m banning them outside. The his and hers rocking chairs were a score on Craigslist.

I’m happy with the end result and I know our time spent in this outdoor room will definitely increase!

I linked this post up to some of these parties!


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  2. says

    I was googling stenciled deck floors because like you, I just don’t like stained decks. Plus you have to re-finish them every two years. Am so glad I found your blog. I’m definitely going for it but I might make a big stencil out of contact paper and spray paint the openings then reposition the paper when I need to.

    Also, so funny. We just built a pergola over Memorial Day week-end. I was debating what to do to cover the top as well, and guess what? I used drop cloths, too, but I weaved them in and out of every board as we are in a high wind location.

    Hmm, great minds think alike?

    • Paula Fraley says

      We have also recently built a pergola, but having problems with adding additional shade. I purchased outdoor fabric and made two pieces approximately 36′ long x 50″ wide that we weaved in and out of the top boards. Our problem has been with anchoring the ends so they do not move. We have approximately a 2′ drop on both ends. I double backed the fabric on the ends so that the right side of the fabric is shown, and thus there is a pocket. We have ran a board through the pocket for weight but it is still shifting. Our material is white vinyl over wood so we can’t staple, etc. I appreciate any suggestions you may have. Thank you.

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  4. says

    Thank you, thank you, thank you! I have been looking at pergola shades every summer for the past 4 years and they ARE so expensive. The other day I was at Lowes and saw drop cloths, and thought, “I wonder if somehow we could use this, or just tarp.” I had forgotten about the whole thing until I saw your post! Your deck is SO beautiful! I want to use the lights to, but never new how to make it look nice. I’m not the best decorator. :) Thanks again!
    Gina @ Gina’s Craft Corner

  5. Jeni T says

    What do you do when it rains? Is the material weatherproof? Any trouble with wind? The weather is pretty much my only concern but I really love the look.

  6. says

    Great Makeover! Your updated space looks super cozy and inviting. Creating a pergola with drop cloths was a great idea for shade, and saving money. Enjoy your new space. ;o)

  7. says

    I have a pergola I’ve thought about making a shade. I love how yours turned out. The draping is so pretty! I decided against an overhead shade for now because the times we use it most, is in the evening and our real enemy is the setting sun, from the side. So I hung drop cloth curtains and we pull those to block the sun. We also planted big river birch trees and this year they have filled out enough to provide enough shade we haven’t even pulled the curtains each time we’ve used it!!

  8. says

    This is so cute! I love it! I’m not 100% sure at the moment how I got here lol but I’m so glad I did! My house doesn’t have a porch/deck in the backyard (wah) and I’ve always thought about having a Pergola built but didn’t know what to do about shade, this is genius!

  9. says

    Just found you via the link party @ Ella Claire. This probably my favorite outdoor space ever! Really, really well done! I’ll definitely be pinning and storing up ideas for the future :)

  10. says

    I’m in LOVE!!! Now I’m motivated to create an outdoor seating area with a checkerboard floor!!! We just finished power washing, so I think this post was great timing!

  11. says

    ohmyword! beautiful outdoor area! it all looks fabulous! i know those checkered painted floors must of been kinda hard to do, but it all looks great!

  12. says

    Love, love this outdoor space. I especially love lights in an outdoor space. We put up hundreds of feet of lights last summer for our son’s wedding carnival in our back yard and they are still up – love them too much to take them down!!