I’ll start by saying, the carport was never a space I thought we would tackle. Our plan was always to replace it with a garage as soon as the budget allowed, but more important projects took precedence and we’ve been in saving mode, hoping to make it happen within the next year or so. In the meantime, while we’re living with the carport, I decided we should make the best of it and create a space we can enjoy this spring, summer, and fall. We spent the majority of last summer renovating our entire backyard, which has quickly become one of our favorite features of the house and property… it only made sense to address the carport since it’s all connected and part of our outdoor living space. Living in a small home, it’s important to make the most of every single square foot- even outside. Click through to see the before, after, and how we made it SO much better with a fresh coat of paint!
Here’s what the carport looked like a couple weeks ago. I’m pretty embarrassed to show this image, because the space turned into a renovation dumping ground and workspace over the course of the past year. Not having a garage has been a big inconvenience when it comes to construction and projects, but Emmett and I knew this was not the solution… do you spy the dog amongst the mess? Ha!
We organized everything, put items we weren’t using into storage, and tucked the tools away into the small shed. After tackling this project, it was apparent- a garage is now on the “must-have” list instead of the “wishlist”. Here’s what the carport looks like now…
I feel like I can finally breathe again! If you’re wondering what exactly we updated and the reasoning behind my design decisions, I’ll try to share a little bit about each update and the impact it made on our new outdoor dining space.
I tried to shoot the carport at different times during the day, but photos just don’t do it justice. Even though it was a “quick fix” (it’s truly amazing what paint will do), it has such a great vibe and ambiance. It reminds me of a quaint little European patio or hole in the wall outdoor dining scene. You can hear the wind wisping through the plants, the sheer curtains blowing in the wind, the woven pendant swaying back and forth, all while feeling a cozy rug under your bare feet. Add a little music, good food, and it is pure bliss! I honestly didn’t expect to enjoy this space so much. It’s giving our outdoor living space a run for its money- and it cost A LOT less. I feel like we have so many backyard hangout and entertaining options now.
Speaking of money- let’s talk about that… the carport is probably our lowest budget project to date and I feel like oddly- it’s one of the more impactful transformations. Would you agree? I think we can credit that to one single thing- PAINT. The only major thing we changed was the paint color. Isn’t that crazy?!
I wanted to get moody with the paint color. Obviously black is about as bold as it gets, but I love its capability to hide and disguise… especially in an exterior setting. The carport wood and exterior is in rough shape and there are dents and holes scattered all over. We used Sherwin-Williams Tricorn Black 6258 in a gloss finish from the Emerald® Exterior line. It did such a nice job of covering everything up and making it blend seamlessly. We also only needed / applied one coat, which saved us a TON of time. It’s a nice, true black that is super rich and adds a lot of depth to the siding. I also added some pops of lilac- the hanging pendant and the painted planting station / bar… you’ll see more about this (and that gorgeous color) in a couple months, so I won’t spend as much time chatting about that color (Sherwin-Williams Queen Anne Lilac SW 0021).
If you watched any behind-the-scenes on Instagram, you already know we purchased a paint sprayer for this project. I’m not sure why it took so long for us to get one, but it was a time saver- especially for painting this surface area. You can still catch a peek of the process saved on my Insta highlights.
Another impactful thing I added to the space was a beautiful outdoor area rug. The concrete pad under the carport was hand-poured back in the 60s (we think), and basically we’re assuming it was a DIY situation gone wrong- OR a contractor who had zero cement laying skills. Everything settled and there are pretty big cracks throughout. The easiest solution was to cover it with an outdoor, wet-rated rug. It feels great underfoot, disguises the unevenness, and is perfectly suitable to stay outside longterm.
This rug is also pet friendly… which is a must around here. You guys know how we feel about dogs. Ha! The boys have already made themselves at home on it. We’ve found out they prefer to lay on the rug as opposed to the grass. I think it’s nice and cool under the carport and they’re pretty lazy and love to lounge.
Anytime we entertain or have backyard BBQs, our friends know we prefer they bring their pups as well. Let’s just say, our dogs enjoy get togethers just as much as we do, because our yard basically turns into a dog park and they get to run around with their pals.
Both our home and our neighbor’s house is pushed to one side of the yard. Although we have a privacy fence (see more on installing that here), we still catch a glimpse of them through the window from time-to-time. I thought adding some sheer curtains would keep the carport feeling open, add ambiance, as well as make it feel a bit more private. The planted honeysuckle also helps with that.
The curtains probably won’t stay outside permanently, but they only take about 5 minutes to tie up and take down. They’ll be great for dinner parties or entertaining, but on the day-to-day when it’s just Emmett and I (and the pups), we’ll most likely leave them down. They are very pretty though, aren’t they?!
I will admit- I had a happy accident in regards to the curtains. I went searching for black tension rods the morning of the shoot and realized a black tension rod is sort of hard to find in person (I’m sure there are plenty online). I finally found a good option at Target, but they’re technically “shower” rods, so it was much larger in diameter than I expected. I got home and realized the curtain pocket wouldn’t fit over the rod, but the curtains were super long anyway… so I ended up folding them over the rod and then tied them back with a ribbon. I actually think it’s more functional if I’ll be moving them in and out as we entertain. It also saved me an hour of sewing and hemming, so I’m going to roll with it! Again- the name of the game for this makeover was easy.
In addition to the paint and textiles, I also added a pendant light to the carport. It feels more formal and gives your eye something to wander to, other than the wood siding.
Emmett swapped out the back porch light during the One Room Challenge and things are already feeling SO much better in the lighting department out here.
Lastly, I brought out our existing outdoor dining furniture. We purchased it last spring and it’s held up really nicely. I love that we have a table large enough to fit 6-8 people. Our dining area inside, or the breakfast nook as I’m calling it, only fits 4 people- so this is ideal for entertaining in the spring, summer, and fall months.
The only piece of “furniture” I bought for the space was this planting station for $60. It comes raw and unfinished, so after I assembled it, I asked Emmett to spray it the same color as the pendant light. I like that it feels cohesive to the space and adds a fun pop of color.
The plan is to have this piece double as a planting station, as well as a bar or serving area when entertaining. For a small piece, it holds quite a bit.
The “planting station” is honestly already coming in really handy and I love the way it looks for an outdoor space! I’m really digging the lattice pattern on the back.
If you’re interested in the sources, I’ll link everything below in a “Get The Look” roundup…
01: patterned outdoor pillow // 02: glass vase // 03: woven pendant light // 04: sherwin-williams tricorn black sw 6258 // 05: outdoor dining table // 06: wicker dining chair // 07: outdoor area rug // 08: outdoor seat cushion // 09: white textured planter // 10: brass entry set hardware // 11: black planter // 12: planting station // 13: candle sticks // 14: white planter // 15: sheer drapery panel // 16: bronze tension rod // 17: brass watering can // 18: sherwin-williams queen anne lilac sw 0021 // 19: outdoor sconce // 20: outdoor side table // 21: black outdoor pillow // 22: wood serving dish
Overall, this space feels so much more functional and looks a million times better. It’s doing exactly what we need it to- bridging the gap between two finished spaces (the laundry room and the backyard), and giving us a place to sit down, eat, and entertain.
We haven’t had a functioning dining area in almost 2 years! It feels extremely nice to not eat on the sofa for a change. I feel like our house is finally coming together.
As always, I’d love to hear your feedback and I’m happy to answer any questions in the comments below! Oh, and if you’re interested in the cornhole boards pictured above… find those here. That was a fun DIY we put together last summer. Are you guys digging the outdoor and exterior related posts? I really enjoy these types of projects.
*This post is sponsored by Sherwin-Williams. I am a brand ambassador and absolutely love their products! As always, all content, ideas, and words are my own.