Gazebo Makeover

Here’s how we gave our gazebo a makeover for under $700!
We inherited this hot tub when we moved in. I get overheated easily in a hot tub, and Tim doesn’t really like hot tubs, so we decided to get rid of it. The jets worked, but the water didn’t warm up. I put it on Craigslist for free, and a nice gentleman came and picked it up within a week. He said he was going to fix it and give it to his mother-in-law.
I found this nice set of rattan furniture on Craigslist for 100$. The wife wanted to be rid of it, since it had been collecting dust in their garage for a long time. The husband was a little disappointed to see it go. He and his brother used to crawl underneath and play. They remember their dad sitting in “his favorite chair” (the one with the ottoman). I discarded the dated cushions and tore out the leather straps, which were pretty dried out. Other than that and some fading, this set is awesome, very sturdy, and it has lots of mid-century character (from the 1950s!). Tim reinforced the furniture under the cushions using plywood.
This image shows what the furniture looked like before I gave it a thorough scrubbing with some Murphy’s Oil Soap.
This image shows the rattan furniture after the dirt and stains are removed. I also added a few light coats of polyurethane to protect it from moisture and renew its shine.
I ordered some new cushions online at World Market. Their prices were very reasonable compared to every other website. The one problem: The cushions only came in one size, which was slightly bigger than the size I needed. I decided to modify the couch base by attaching 1x4s on the bottom of each piece (the couch was three separate pieces). This allowed for the extra inches so the cushions didn’t look too crowded. For the chair, I just pushed the cushion in place, and it didn’t look weird. The ottoman was another story, though. I had to take the removable cover off and slice about 2 inches off of two sides. I reattached the batting and gave it a little stitch here and there to keep it in place. Later in the blog you’ll see what I did about the cover.
The place where the hot tub used to be was a different color than the surrounding area of floor, even after Tim pressure washed it. We bought an indoor/outdoor rug to cover the unsightly floor, but because of a slight dip toward the back end of the gazebo, there was a place that held water for several days. We decided to use the rug inside, in the room where people most often enter the house after having been in the swimming pool. Tim painted the cement and used a leaf blower to dry faster between coats. We were able to walk on it about two hours after the final (3rd) coat.
Instead of spending 45$ per panel on outdoor canvas curtains, I bought ten 6×9 drop cloths, some hooks to go in the gazebo frame, and some clipping rings. This was an idea I saw all over the web. The genius homemaking guru who originally thought of this deserves kudos. My husband drilled pilot holes and inserted the hooks.
For each 6×9 drop cloth, I used seven curtain clip loops. I didn’t worry about measuring perfectly. I just put one on the left, one on the right, and then folded the loops together to find the mid-point. For the remaining four pieces, I put two between the left and middle and two between right and middle.
I’ve seen where you can create pleats by folding the drop cloth, but I like the loose, lazy look.
Notice how the drop cloth is folded down on the top to create a valance. Another perk of this technique is that you can easily adjust the height of the curtain. As I mentioned earlier, the floor of our gazebo is a little bit uneven, and if I were to have purchased standard curtain panels, I would have had to sew a new hem on a few of them.
I purchased some fabric and stitch witchery to create curtain tie backs and pillows. It was pretty brain-dead easy, and only required a hot iron, ironing board, and patience. For full details read the post on my blog. I can only upload 15 images per project on this site.
We got this plaque when Tim’s dad, Richard, passed away. It used to be under the magnolia tree, but for some reason the dogs liked to pee on it, and it just didn’t feel right to leave it there. So it’s been sitting here and there, looking for a home. We finally found the perfect place for it, in the bottom portion of the coffee table (which spins, BTW). It looks as if it were supposed to be there, custom made from the get-go.
I have no idea why, but at Lowe’s garden center, the plant pots that have plants in them are less expensive than the empty plant pots. Weird, huh? On the couch behind the plant you can see the other pillow I made.
The finishing touch was to string lights (also purchased at World Market) across the ceiling. Viola!

Suggested materials:

  • Murphy's Oil Soap, Paint Drop Cloths, Hardware, Paint, Painters Tape, Potted Plants  (Lowes)
  • Outdoor Furniture Cushions and Lights  (World Market)
  • Material, Stitch Witchery  (Joann Fabrics)

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Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!


Have a question about this project?

3 of 6 questions
  • J long
    on May 15, 2018

    Hi I love your pergola, I have one also. I have taken sheets and hung them up for curtains but my main problem is the way they blow when it gets any breeze. I have tie backs and I have attached velcro to the bottom side and attached it to the post but they are still blowing. What did you do?

    • J
      on May 16, 2020

      Sew large washers to the bottom for weights.

  • Gabrielle Falk
    on Jan 9, 2020

    What an incredible job. I just love the rattan furniture. That furniture new, today, wouldcost 'heaps'. I use 'block-out' curtains on my pergola - grey in colour to go with the black rattan seats and pod-chair. However, I find that the curtains don't seem to last a long time (maybe because they are indoor curtains!!). How do you find the canvas curtains? Do they last a good while, or do they deteriorate / go mouldy quickly. Thank you for your advice.

    • Gabrielle Falk
      on May 9, 2020

      Thanks for the info.. However, I live in Sydney, Australia so I would have to try just going to Google, to find out where I could get them. As we don't have the stores you recommended.

  • Beaufortgal
    on May 18, 2020

    Do the drop clothes help to keep the sun out?

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