Before and After: A $150 Paint Project Punches up This Dreary Gray Patio

published May 19, 2020
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Credit: Thankfifi

Al fresco meals and entertaining just aren’t the same without the perfect patio or deck. Even when the sun is out, it can be hard to ignore an unpleasant outdoor space. But turning an overgrown patchy yard or boring, cement slab of a patio into something spectacular takes a lot of time—and money.

But that wasn’t enough to stop Wendy Gilmour of Thankfifi, who cut costs without sacrificing style by skipping over the pros and taking this outdoor space project into her own hands. “The patio is the one area of my home where I just felt completely uninspired to spend any time,” she says. “It’s a sea of dull gray concrete slabs.” Replacing them altogether would cost way more than Wendy was willing to spend, so she came up with a clever low-cost solution.

In order to up the ante of her outdoor space without hurting her wallet, Wendy turned to painting her own tiles. The first round didn’t go as planned: “I stumbled upon the idea of painting the concrete tiles last summer, but with the wrong paint,” Wendy says. “Unfortunately, the design I spent days working on simply washed away in the rain. Heartbreaking.” This time, she made sure to get the correct paint, and chose a geometric stencil to create a statement design.

Credit: Thankfifi

Wendy selected masonry paint for her second go-round, and choose a chic black and white palette—specifically Sandtex’s Pure Brilliant White and Sandtex’s Black. Then, to get that dazzling star effect perfectly centered on each tile, she used a Kallat Tile Stencil from Dizzy Duck Designs. The result? Tiles that look like they were custom made. “We completed the entire project ourselves (in lockdown), fortunately without setbacks or surprises, other than perhaps that this time the paint held fast in the rain,” Wendy says. She believes the key this time around was pressure-washing and deep cleaning the cement tiles before painting, and using the right type of paint. Within roughly 10 hours of work, and by spending just $150, she revived her patio.

Credit: Thankfif

The icing on the cake is the added decor that takes it from a cool patio to one with a mega wow factor. To sit on top of her geometric “rug,” Wendy selected a live edge wood table from Gibson Bespoke Carpentry with industrial legs from The Hairpin Leg Co.; she styled Lene Bjerre chairs from Houseology around it. The setup is modern, stylish, and ready for all the best outdoor meals and conversations warmer weather has to offer.

Credit: Thankfifi

“I feel like this area of the patio makes a real statement now—dressed with the furniture I just love it,” Wendy says. “It’s super easy to clean; I just hose it down and the painted design does look almost like real tiles but for a fraction of the price.”

Inspired? Submit your own project here.