I pretty much hate a plain concrete patios. They are boring and just plain…well, plain. No amount of awesome outdoor furniture, potted plants or cute throw pillows will disguise that ugly cement patio glaring you in the face. 

But let’s face it, a lot of us have ’em. Short of tearing it out – a costly and time-intensive endeavor to be sure – what can you do to add some flair to your ugly concrete patio without breaking the bank? Thankfully, there are several inexpensive solutions to upgrading your concrete patio.

Check out these DIY concrete patio upgrade ideas!

I pretty much hate a plain concrete patio. But let’s face it, most of us have ’em. They are boring and just plain… well, plain. A couple of seasons ago we stained one of our concrete patios, and that was a good solution.

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variety of patio upgrade methods shown including covering with pavers, stain, and paint

Concrete Patio Upgrade Idea #1: Use an Outdoor Rug

Let’s start with the easiest way you can upgrade your patio in a flash: buy an outdoor rug to cover up that ugly concrete!

There are so many colors, patterns, sizes, and options available, so not only can you give your patio a makeover quickly, but you can also match your unique style. Plus, it requires hardly any effort, making it easy to do if you are pinched for time or getting ready to entertain guests. My favorite option is to go with something fun and tropical, like this rug. Because why cover up your boring patio with something that’s also boring, you know?

colorful outdoor rug with palm print

It’s so simple, yet it totally transforms your outdoor space from blah to fabulous!

Concrete Patio Upgrade Idea #2: Use Paint or Stain

Taking it one level up from the rug idea: refresh your concrete patio with paint or stain. I know what you’re thinking: “Can you use paint or stain on concrete?” Well, the answer is yes!

You might remember how I stained one of our concrete patios a while ago. It was so simple and easy, and the stain held up wonderfully season after season with minimal touchups. But there are many more ways to use paint, stain, and even spray paint to cover up your patio.

before an after of concrete staining

Here are a few ideas to get you started:

Use Concrete Stain to Upgrade Your Patio

Using concrete stain to upgrade your patio will yield gorgeous results – and it’s so much easier than you think! You just need a few materials, know-how, and some time and patience.

The first thing you need to do is research how to stain a concrete patio. These expert tips from Family Handyman are a great place to start. They break it down step-by-step and provide pictures and great advice to make your DIY project look like you hired a pro.

stained concrete walkway

And if a simple stain is still too boring for you, fear not: here are a couple creative ideas to use for your patio makeover:

Create a Tile Floor for Your Concrete Patio Using Concrete Stain

This fake tile floor from Beneath My Heart is absolutely stunning – and she did so much of it while entertaining her busy kids. Talk about a DIY Champ! This is another great tutorial to learn how to stain concrete.

concrete patio stained to look like brown tile and white grout

Create a Concrete Patio “Rug” Using Concrete Stain

Like the idea of the outdoor rug but don’t want to worry about cleaning it (or possibly tripping over an edge – ouch!)? Or maybe you just haven’t found one that’s quite your style? We’ve got you covered.

Paint your concrete patio to look like a rug instead!

painting blocks of color onto concrete patio

This tutorial from Lowes makes it easy and fast (and super cute!). Plus, they include a pattern template so you can dive into this DIY project right away, even if you don’t think you’ve got the skills it takes to do it.

This is a great option to get creative and use colors and patterns you like.  

finished blocks of color stained on concrete

Use Paint to Upgrade Your Patio

Well…not just any paint. If you want to paint concrete, you’ll need to use concrete paint. Like the stain, this is a great upgrade option for your patio. We love this tutorial from Handmade Home. They do a great job breaking down the project. Plus, they create a fake tile floor like the tutorial above, only using paint instead!

concrete painted to look like tile

Use Spray Paint to Upgrade Your Patio

Finally, you can use spray paint to give your concrete patio a facelift. We love the way Chrissi at  First Home Love Life updated her front entry with a stepping stone mold and spray paint. This is such an easy alternative to stamping concrete, and you gotta love that price.

concrete stained to look like tile in irregular shapes

Concrete Patio Upgrade Idea #3: Cover It Up

Sometimes your concrete patio is beyond a rug placement or a paint job. We get it.

If you really want to take your patio space to the next level – or you just like a great DIY challenge (we see you!), it’s time to get out your tools and cover your concrete patio up.

Here are our favorite ways to cover up your concrete patio:

Build a Deck Over Your Patio

I love a gorgeous deck, and it’s an awesome solution to all your patio problems. Kelly at ‘View Along the Way‘ shows you how to build a deck over concrete. She gives you great how-to instructions, plus all the tools you’ll need to get this done. This is a perfect solution for an outdoor patio that needs updating but is beyond trying to save with a few cosmetic upgrades.

wooden deck cover over old concrete patio

Use Tile to Upgrade Your Patio

No stains or paints are used here! This is the real deal. Upgrade your concrete patio with tile. The feasibility of this project will largely depend on the materials you use and your climate, but the effect is stunning. Today’s Homeowner has a full tutorial on how to properly cover your concrete patio with tile.

laying tile onto concrete patio showing the process of priming the concrete

Use Pavers to Cover Your Concrete Patio

Another permanent cover up idea for your patio is using concrete pavers to cover it up. For this option, we once again return to ‘Family Handyman‘ for a complete step by step for you on how to cover a concrete patio with pavers. No jackhammer here!

prepping to cover concrete with pavers by laying landscape fabric and filling area with sand

Use Renter Friendly Temporary Tile

I have always loved these interlocking wooden deck tiles. These are such a great option if you are looking to dress up a rental apartment or house’s plain concrete patio with a bit more than a rug. And they are so easy to install! These are from Wayfair, but I’ve seen the same or similar tiles carried at other retailers including Amazon, too!

temporary wooden deck tiles modeled on home patio

We hope you loved these DIY patio upgrade ideas! Check out our 9 DIY Cool & Creative Patio Flooring Ideas for more great ideas, projects and tutorials for your outdoor space! You also may love our post on Patio Privacy Screens.

Enjoy your new patio!

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11 Comments

  1. Joseph Lyman March 30, 2021 at 12:40 pm

    I would like to learn more about how I could acquire one of these kits for my patio

    Reply
  2. Stephen Hursley October 19, 2020 at 7:37 am

    My wife and I bought a fixer-upper with a terrible backyard patio. We used the tile cover up and it was incredible! The outside of our house is looking perfect now so we’re turning to inside.

    Reply
  3. Peter Johnston January 8, 2020 at 10:51 pm

    This is the perfect post for anyone who wants to know about Patio Cover Up Ideas. This post helped me a lot. keep posting.

    Reply
  4. Wendy March 30, 2019 at 3:03 pm

    On my flat roof outside a bedroom window I laid artificial grass. It is only cosmetic as I am unable to walk on that area, but when looking out it blends in nicely with the garden below.

    Reply
  5. pk September 4, 2018 at 3:14 pm

    Our concrete patio is the roof to our garage. What do you recommend as a cover-up? We think the tile or pavers would add too much weight. Any ideas?

    Reply
    1. Kathy Woodard September 24, 2018 at 3:29 pm

      How about the vinyl decking materials you can get at the home improvement store? Or, if your patio already has concrete, painting the concrete with a porch paint or stain? You could even do a design like the one from ‘A Beautiful Mess” in our post on amazing patios… https://www.thegardenglove.com/outdoor-room-ideas/

      Reply
  6. Platformdeckguy June 15, 2018 at 7:28 pm

    Don’t do the platform deck option! I bought a house recently and the previous owner did this about 7 years ago. The deck is rotting out due to moisture and mold that gets trapped under the deck! There is no airflow so if you do this it will need to be replaced in 5-10 years. This option is only good if there is a roof over the deck to keep water away.

    Reply
  7. Ailsa February 15, 2018 at 11:24 pm

    My concrete courtyard is cracked and uneven – can you lay tiles or paving slabs on top as this will raise it above the damp course or can a layer of it be taken off to allow space for the patio to be laid at the same finished height?

    Reply
    1. Kathy Woodard February 27, 2018 at 5:45 pm

      We aren’t experts with this kind of project, but if we understand your question right, you could have the sand to be less thick under the areas that are raised up to allow it all to be the same height… Just be sure there is SOME sand under the entire project, and that you set it in well so that it doesn’t settle out of place.

      Reply
  8. agnes June 1, 2015 at 1:20 am

    Please give us some advise how to make a water feature in a small garden. On the wall or in the garden. Thank you, Agnes

    Reply
  9. Jason Roland December 27, 2014 at 6:31 am

    Now I love a good concrete patio – but these cover ups look amazing. The great news is if your patio shifts and becomes uneven, you can still fix it with a concrete lifting. As long as you have the slab underneath it isn’t a problem!

    Reply

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