For the three years that Veronica Shaeffer and Keith Dumbleton lived in their Ukrainian Village apartment, their back room—an adorable sunporch with loads of potential—had become a catchall that served as a mudroom, potting shed, and storage area. The sad space was in serious need of an overhaul. Armed with $150 and a little DIY know-how, we transformed the porch into the perfect spot for summer cocktails.
What we bought
Fabric: $48, Jo-Ann Fabric
Plant stand (used as stamp): $9, Jo-Ann Fabric
Blinds: $58, the Home Depot
Paint & paint supplies: $15
Lamps: $12, Unique Thrift
Pendant: $8, Unique Thrift
The first step was to repaint the drab stained walls a fresh sky blue. This instantly brightened the room and inspired the Moroccan-meets-country-chic vibe. Shaeffer, a bridal gown designer, stitched up some punchy pillows out of vintage fabric and a futon cover from English-inspired ticking. We hit a few thrift stores in the area and found the cut-glass lamps for $5.95 each. The pair of hexagon tables were free—yes, free—on Craigslist and were revived with a coat of white paint. Shaeffer bought the pair of bentwood chairs years ago for about $40, and we re-covered the vinyl seats with a natural burlap.
The rag rug had seen better days, but we used a $9 plant stand and a sample pot of navy wall paint to stamp a pattern on the rug that tied the space together. We then repurposed an antique toboggan that Shaeffer found in her parents' attic as a bookshelf and installed simple bamboo blinds ($60 at Home Depot). The potting area is now a charming breakfast nook, thanks to a quick canvas cover on the storage shelf and an $8 industrial pendant lamp.
An enclosed back porch is a common amenity in many Chicago apartments, yet few tenants know exactly what to do with them. But with a little creativity, a coat of paint, and the right eye, your porch can be party-perfect in no time.