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The Blue Building Antiques, Alabaster AL Back Deck Makeover mantle

Back Deck Makeover on a Budget

The Beauty of a Deck

I live in Alabama.  So for most of the year, I am able to sit on my deck and enjoy the beauty of my yard.  The sun is brutally hot and terrifyingly strong at times.  We don’t even walk on the deck in the daytime during July and August because the sun is so stifling hot that you will burn the bottom of your feet.  But for the rest of the year, the deck can be a breezy and beautiful place to wake up to or to unwind on.  Especially in the evenings, there is usually a slight breeze as the day cools down.  With the birds chirping and the crepe myrtles in full bloom, our deck is a peaceful place to relax!  My back deck was in dire need of a makeover on a budget!

It has been a while since I have really spruced up the deck.  Every year I buy beautiful annuals that seem to thrive through the most of the summer.  I arrange them in planters around the deck so that the beautiful colors are visible from my kitchen windows.  In the spring, I refill the planters and scatter them around the deck for some color.   Lately that has been the extent of my deck decorating.  

My Tired Neglected Deck

The Blue Building Antiques, Alabaster AL deck update

We used to dine on the deck once a month or so.  We had a large dining table out there but we haven’t used it in about 4 years.

My poor deck has been so neglected.   There were so many old items just sitting around.  Like galvanized tubs for projects that never get completed.  And wonderful shabby lanterns longing to hold candles.  It was time for this deck to shine again.

First Things First

Note:  This post contains affiliate links.

I started by pressure washing the deck with my Ryobi pressure washer.  After the deck dried, I applied some Thompson’s Water Seal in a beautiful cedar color.  The wonderful folks at Thompson’s Water Seal sent me quite a bit of product a few years back after attending The Haven Conference.  I brushed the product onto the deck liberally.  We have been in our house for 15 years.  The last time that we sealed our deck was probably during year 2 or 3 so it was long overdue for some TLC.  One of my favorite companies, HomeRight, has the perfect tool for painting or sealing a deck.  They have a Stain Stick Applicator with a Gap Wheel.  The gap wheel slides between the slats in the floor of the deck to ensure full coverage.  You don’t have to pounce and drip into the openings between boards with this great tool!  My decision to stain the deck was a spur of the moment project so I just grabbed the bucket of deck stain and a brush.  Next time I will use Homeright’s Stain Stick.

We had a few miss matched pieces of metal deck furniture including a bistro set, a few extra chairs, a metal chaise lounge and a side chair.   I removed the large dining table and scattered the chairs and lounge around the deck creating several seating areas.

The Blue Building Antiques, Alabaster AL Deck makeover on a budget zinnias from seeds

Adding a Focal Point to my Back Deck Makeover on a Budget

Our deck was built along the back wall of our house.  My youngest son’s bedroom window looks out on the deck.  He has his computer right by the window so he always has the curtains closed.  He loves the dark.  So, since this window isn’t really functional, and since it breaks up the only large wall on the deck, I decided to cover it.  I used some antique sheet metal that was given to me by my sweet blogger friend Gina Luker at The Shabby Creek Cottage.  You can read about the history of this metal HERE.  After allowing the floors to dry, I grabbed an old mantle that I had at my store The Blue Building Antiques and Consignment.  I had been holding this beauty for the right project.  With the sheet metal behind it, the mantle is certainly the focal point of my deck!  

The Blue Building Antiques, Alabaster AL Deck makeover on a budget mantle

I use alot of potted flowers out in front of my store, The Blue Building Antiques and Consignment.  So I brought a few home!  At the end of the season, I gather the seeds from the zinnias and other perennials, and some annuals.  These are the first seeds I plant in the spring.  Great tip for having beautiful flowers at no cost!  

The Blue Building Antiques, Alabaster AL Deck makeover on a budget zinnias

Zinnias make great cut flowers and beautiful bouquets as well!  These are from my garden.

The Blue Building Antiques, Alabaster AL Deck makeover on a budget fresh cut zinnias

I had a sweet little bistro set sitting in the driveway so I cleaned it up and brought it up onto the deck.  I splurged an bought 2 seat ushions from Old Time Pottery…they were only $6.99 each.  Old Time Pottery had sturdy fabric remnants at wonderful prices.  I grabbed a few colorful yards of fabric for a steal and sewed some covers for existing cushions to give them a new look.  I was tired of seeing the same chevrons and ikats on pillows so I chose something different.  I was drawn to some purples, pinks and greens…the colors of my zinnias!

The Blue Building Antiques, Alabaster AL Deck makeover on a budget chaise lounge

This lounge chair came from my parents’ house in Philadelphia.  I remember sitting on the front porch in this chaise with my books from Penn scattered around.  My favorite place to study was in this chaise on that porch in Philly!  We brought it to Alabama 15 years ago and threw an old cushion on it.  With the brighter fabric covering the cushions, this is now a favorite place for daughter (IV) to soak up some sun.  Along with the chartreuse green fabric that now covers our black metal chair’s cushion, this makes a nice seating area to enjoy up the sun or dry off after a jump in the pool.

The Blue Building Antiques, Alabaster AL Deck makeover on a budget green chair

I found some silver lanterns at Home Depot on clearance for $12.  I added a few older lanterns that I had picked up at yard sales or bought from dealers in my store.

Continue reading Back Deck Makeover on a Budget


Quick outdoor cushion upcycle

I started sprucing up my deck about 2 weeks ago.  I am always amazed at how strong the southern sun is and how damaging to outdoor cushion fabric…with or without UV protection.  Last year I splurged and bought 2 outdoor seat cushions for our cute metal chairs on the deck.  When I say splurged, I don’t mean I spent alot of money.  Rather, I actually purchased them NEW from a brick and mortar store.  In the past I’ve been lucky enough to find used outdoors cushions for only a dollar or two each since I own The Blue Building Antiques and Consignment The Blue Building Antiques and Consignment and we have incredible dealers.  But in this case, my splurge cost me only $8 for 2 cushion.  

This year I pulled out my cushions and they were so sad!  The Alabama sun has bleached the fabric and since I “splurged” last year, I refuse to splurge again this year.  

Here is one outdoor cushion at the end of last year’s season.  Prepare yourself…they are dirty even after spritzing with bleach and water.  There is not even a sign of the cute pink and white buffalo check pattern that once rested on the surface.  Dirt and debris settled into the tufts and permanently stained the fabric.

I even scrubbed the cushions gentlywith a mixture of bleach and water.  It was after I took the time to scrub them that I decided I was still going to use them.

I get so tired of dirty cushions! So I decided to grab some paint and get to work. This seemed like a cost effect and quick solution to renew my cushions. 

I have painted other fabric pieces, most notably a sofa.  You can read about the sofa upstyle HERE.  Painting fabric can be tricky.  The best advise I can offer is to practice first.  Read up on various techniques and then actually try them yourself BEFORE you jump into your main project.  

Since these cushions will remain outside, I was not worried if they did not have a soft texture.  Actually, if you use straight paint, without diluting it with water, the final texture on the fabric will usually feel stiffer than fabric and more like vinyl.  For my outdoor cushions, this would be perfect.  A stiffer texture would allow them to be easily wiped off or hosed down…depending on how vicious our rains should be here in Alabama this season.

I had some of my sweet friend Kellie Smith’s paint left over from a previous project.  Kellie is the creative genius behind Velvet Finishes.  I grabbed some VIVID and a brush and got busy.

And here they are now, completely refreshed with VIVID, a vibrant red from the Velvet Finishes paint line.

I still have a little touching up to do and I will be painting the chairs with a fresh coat of white.  But in the meantime, these beauties are brightening up the deck!

A fabulous group of my blogger friends are linking up their projects in The Inspired Makers Challenge:  The Outdoor Edition.  Check out the projects below and enjoy the inspiration!

Lisa @ The Purple Hydrangea | Kim @ Farmhouse Made | Sarah @ 1915 House
| Denise @ My Thrifty House | Anika @ Anika’s DIY Life
Kellie @ Gratefully Vintage | Sam @ Raggedy Bits |
Leanna @ Faeries and Fauna |
Victoria @ Dazzle While Frazzled




Quick upcycle project at The Blue Building Antiques #1” is locked Quick upcycle project at The Blue Building Antiques #1

Quick upcycle project #2 at The Blue Building Antiques

I find these chairs all of the time at thrift stores and yard sales for $2 to $5.  When we were getting ready to do The Market on Chapel Hill, I bought a few to spruce up for our check out area.  This is another quick upcycle project!

Here is the chair in its original condition:

The Blue Building Antiques Alabaster AL Blu Updo #2 Folding Chairs Before

I did a little light sanding to smooth out and deeper scratches or imperfections.  I used a lower grit sandpaper since that’s what was handy.  But a finer grit will result in a much smoother appearance.  It’s amazing how a little sandpaper can increase the quality of  a quick upcycle project

The Blue Building Antiques Alabaster AL Blu Updo #2 Folding Chairs sanding

Since the chair was metal, I used Rustoleum spray paint.  It works very well and comes in tons of colors.  Rustoleum is my go to if there is any rust on the object to be painted.

The Blue Building Antiques Alabaster AL Blu Updo #2 Folding Chairs Rustoleum

As always with spray paint, be careful to keep your can moving while applying the paint to ensure no drips or pooling of paint.  Rustoleum makes these handy little gizmos that lends some ease in handling and controlling your application of spray paint.  Here is my affiliate link to the Comfort Grip.  I find this tool useful when using the spray paint for more than a simple dab or short spray.  Sounds funny, but it reduces the strain on your trigger finger AND keeps your fingers from being painted.  Lord knows we painters get enough paint on us!

The Blue Building Antiques Alabaster AL Blu Updo #2 Comfort Grip

To add some fun to the chair, I taped off some areas to make grain sack stripes.  I used (affiliate link) Frogtape to mark my lines and then grabbed the Rustoleum again but in a more grain sack friendly color.

The Blue Building Antiques Alabaster AL Blu Updo #2 Folding Chairs spray paint

And here is the final chair:

The Blue Building Antiques Alabaster AL Blu Updo #2 Folding Chairs final

This was a quick and easy way to spruce up old folding chairs!  Give it a try!

 Quick upcycle project at The Blue Building Antiques #1” is locked Quick upcycle project at The Blue Building Antiques #1