Before & After: Ananda’s Patio Makeover

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Renting definitely has its limitations when it comes to remodeling or refurbishing. We are all about sticking to the lease rules, but we are also all about finding solutions that make a rental home feel personal. Ananda Qianyu was set on finding a way to completely transform her San Diego, CA balcony without compromising her lease and without spending too much money. Pallets for the walls, floors and furniture changed the basic stucco balcony into a colorful, lush and cost-effective patio.

Ananda had a few guidelines from her landlord to follow, but also imposed some of her own rules when planning what to do with the space. “Rule #1: No drilling into/attaching to existing walls. Rule #2: No painting existing surfaces including floor, walls and ceiling. Rule #3: We want to prove that everyone can have a gorgeous space no matter what their budget is. Rule #4: We love a built-in look, but everything we build should be easily taken apart when we move,” she says. Ananda’s home has gained additional living space that she and her husband love, without compromising their agreement or what they really want. —Lauren

Photography by Ananda Qianyu

  1. juice says:

    amazing transformation!

  2. Lesley says:

    This is truly impressive and beautiful. I am awed by her vision!

  3. Emily says:

    Gorgeous! I’d love to know more about the floor stencil, as I’m looking to do something similar in my entrance hallway…

  4. Mollie says:

    Incredible and resourceful. THAT is a transformation.

  5. shana says:

    I’m pretty much blown away. Stunning!

  6. BAANOU says:

    That doesn’t even look like the same space!! Amazing

  7. Thats so neat! Looks amazing, I love seeing the before and after shots. Such a dramatic change!

  8. Letitia says:

    Love the space, but for me the best part is the urli with plumeria.

  9. I would love to have dinner and drinks on this patio! What a great example of how small spaces can be really fun to work with.

  10. trotula says:

    oh. my. god.

    this is the kind of stuff i want design blogs to be full of. ananda, you totally crushed it.

  11. Michelle says:

    id love to know where the bench/storage came from.

  12. Lulu says:

    Brilliant. Seriously.

  13. Sarah says:

    How are the walls staying up?

  14. Jen says:

    This looks amazing. I love it! Where does one get pallets?

  15. Lauran says:

    All I can say is WOW. This is far more welcoming and colorful than anything you can buy from a retailer. Ananda, I hope you expand your landscaping services to include making outdoor furniture. Incredible!

  16. What a wonderful job. A makeover by renters is a real challenge. Love the fact that it was all disassemble ready. Has a fresh vibe. Looks comfy, inviting and not tacked on.

  17. Nikki says:

    I’m going out right now to make a snap together wire crate filled with rocks table. Genius!

  18. Kevin says:

    What a beautiful and creative way to personalize an ordinary space, working with the restrictions. Wow. Love it.

  19. Laura says:

    It looks like the perfect place to relax in style!

  20. madlyn says:

    Amanda, you are one clever lady! This makes me want to sell my house and get a rental just for the patio!

  21. Miriam Resnick says:

    Beautiful, creative, artistic and smart! I’d like to know how do the walls stand with being attached to original wall, and how is the wood stable when not connected to the floor. Thank you.

  22. emily says:

    so clever and bright! I love the painted floor…gorgeous work!

  23. Daria says:

    This is brilliant! How big is this patio? And, same question as someone before: how do the walls stand up?

  24. Pratima says:

    What a phenomenal transformation! Very inspirational for someone who loves outdoor spaces but has had to make do with little balconies all my life. Especially loved the stencil on the floor.

  25. Bobbie says:

    I am guessing you have a structure behind the boards of the wall pieces and then the benches etc hold it all in place. The whole thing is amazing. The ability to see this ahead in order to make it all fit together is incredible! Adding the wood floor is something I could never have imagined much less any of the rest!
    It is really fun and looks like a place you wont want to leave..

  26. Todd Stevens says:

    Amazing job by Amanda. Personally love the floor. Rental apartments with small balcony’s are a tough place to do nice outdoor spaces for extra living space. Wonderful job and excellent post (photos) thanks.


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