They always say that one man’s trash is another man’s treasure, and with the recent popularity of the “rustic aesthetic” for homes and outdoor living spaces, that’s never been more true! Whether you’re browsing Pinterest, Good Housekeeping, or HGTV, the shabby chic look is everywhere. There are DIY projects galore, from refreshing an antique piece of furniture to upcycling a discarded item into a trendy piece of décor.

As the weather warms up and you start thinking about sprucing up your outdoor living space, here are 5 ways to incorporate rustic finds to achieve the perfect backyard style.

Image credit: Dana via Flickr licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0

Image credit: Dana via Flickr licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0

Barn-inspired accents

Add character to your backyard or porch with a small piece that looks like it came straight out of a barn. It may not be functional anymore, but it will definitely give you that farmhouse vibe. If you’re in the mood to DIY, repurpose feed sacks as throw pillow covers. You could also opt for an antique mechanical part like a large wheel, gear, or cog that looks well-loved. Simply hang it on a door or fence! An old metal milk jug is also a great choice to add a touch of nostalgia to your deck or porch.

Ladders, two ways

The lines of a ladder add visual interest, so look for a weathered wooden one to incorporate into your backyard. Hang it horizontally above a sofa on the back wall of your house to make the exterior a little more eye-catching. Or, give it a practical purpose by leaning it against a wall or fence and introducing climbing vines, like clematis or honeysuckle.

Worn out house furniture

Cupboards, chairs, shelves, or tables found at a flea market or on a neighbor’s curb may not be in good enough condition to use in the house, but outside, there are so many possibilities! You could repaint or refinish the piece to make it look new, or just leave it as is for a true rustic appearance. Chairs that aren’t sturdy enough to sit on could hold plants, and a broken cupboard could display knickknacks. An old farm table is also perfect for an outdoor entertaining buffet. Add some wooden benches to complete the look.

Antique patio furniture

Unlike delicate wooden furniture, pieces with metal frames will survive the years and can still be used as they were intended! Try to find solidly-built benches or chairs that can be easily retouched. A little rust or paint chipping can be covered up with a fresh coat of paint and a sealant. A few brand new modern cushions will elevate the look.

Planters and garden labels

Give your garden an old-timey look by using vintage tins, buckets, urns, or even chipped dishware to plant flowers or herbs. These are a great alternative to brand new ceramic pots, which tend to lack character. For your herbs and vegetables, distinguish each type using old silverware like forks or spoons. Use a metal-puncher or paint to label the flatware and then stick them in a pot to identify your plants.

When you pick up a worn piece of furniture or décor from a flea market, estate sale, or antique store, there are a few things you can do to freshen it up while still preserving that rustic look. Gentle cleaning with a rag and a mild detergent can brighten up metals or plastics, while a soft wood cleaner can help with wooden pieces. Depending on the condition of your treasured find, you can either refinish it with stain or paint, or just spray it with a clear sealant to keep the worn appearance while protecting it from further wear and tear. You could also use a spray protector like Scotchgard to seat cushions or other fabrics that will be spending time outside.

Once you’ve created your perfectly rustic outdoor oasis, get outside and enjoy it! Contact DC Mosquito Squad if you need help fighting the bite so you can relax in your backyard without being bothered by bugs.

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