Garden | Outdoor Living | Outdoor Living Spaces | Spring | Summer

Everything You Need to Create a Small Patio Dining Space On A Budget!

You can create your own outdoor oasis on your patio or even a tiny apartment balcony with these easy outdoor dining ideas! I’m also putting together 8 different shoppable, budget-friendly small outdoor dining rooms to inspire you. And feel to steal the looks!

One of the great things about furnishing a really small space is it costs a lot less than a larger one. Everything is cheaper, from the dining table and chairs to the rug, to the lights!

Here are the elements that make an outdoor dining space feel like your own private oasis, even when you’re in the middle of the city or overlooking an ugly parking lot.

Bistro Set

For a tiny balcony, you most likely only have room for a bistro set. This is a small patio dining set with a small table and two compact chairs. But what could be more romantic? Bistro sets are generally inexpensive and the table and chairs often fold or stack to save space during the off-season. Here are a few of my favorite inexpensive patio bistro sets for 2021:

Outdoor Rug

I’m a huge fan of outdoor rugs because they make any outdoor living space feel cozy and pulled together. Not to mention they’re the perfect opportunity to bring color and pattern into your space. I love to choose rugs with bolder patterns for outdoor rooms. Here’s my guide to choosing the right size outdoor rug, and a list of my favorite inexpensive indoor/outdoor rugs in every color you can imagine!

The great thing about a small balcony or deck is you can use a small rug, which will cost a lot less than a larger one! Just be sure the rug is large enough that the chairs stay on top of it, even when they’re pulled out from the table. A 4’x6′ or 5’x7′ rug should be perfect for most small 2-person dining sets.

Outdoor Lights

Patio lights create a beautiful, festive mood for any outdoor living space! String lights are by far the most popular option since they’re inexpensive, romantic, and easy to install. Check out this post for all the different ways to hang string lights.

I also love to use candle lanterns, including LED and remote-controlled ones, outdoor chandeliers, and tiki torches. I try to place the lights at different heights to create layers of light.

Many people love to use solar lights too. I haven’t had success with these because I live in Seattle, where we don’t really get enough sunlight to make them bright enough. But if you live somewhere sunny, then by all means! Here’s my in-depth guide to lighting outdoor living spaces.

You can shop this patio design here.


Depending on your outdoor space, you may need to consider privacy, since there’s nothing more awkward than trying to enjoy a romantic dinner on your balcony while your neighbors look on from their balcony next door.

I like to use tall plants to create a screen. They can be potted, and they can also be artificial! Here’s a list of my favorite faux plants and where to get them. Plants are beautiful and they create a calm atmosphere too, so don’t underestimate their power to transform your space. This guide is about decorating with indoor plants, but the same principles apply to outdoor spaces.

You might also consider a lattice, screen, vertical garden, or even ultra-easy DIY outdoor curtains like these shower curtains I used in my outdoor living room.


Many of the same things you would use to give you privacy will also provide shade. But if you find yourself baking in the hot sun during dinner, you might consider a patio umbrella or shade sail. Here’s a more in-depth guide to creating shade for your outdoor living spaces.

Outdoor Throw Pillows & Blankets

These are optional in an outdoor dining space, but I think they really ratchet up the cozy factor. Especially if your evenings tend to get chilly! I love to use pillows and blankets in every outdoor living space because they add color, pattern, and texture! Just be sure your pillows are under cover when it rains.

Eating outside with family and friends is one of the great joys of Summer! I hope you set up a space you love, even if it’s just a postage-stamp-sized spot! Happy Summer!

more patio ideas…

Easy DIY String Light Poles!

8 Shoppable Patios On A Budget!

Stencils for Painting: An Easy Patio Table Makeover

Boho Porch Swing Reveal: Small Front Porch Decorating Ideas

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