During the summer months, a patio can be one of the most beloved and most frequently used parts of our homes. In fact, 60% of us use our outdoor grills year-round, and not just on holidays.

But for those with smaller backyards, it can be easy for one’s patio to feel cramped and confined. Luckily, there are a variety of ways you can instantly change this — and many of them don’t even cost that much! Summer is the perfect time to make your patio — the Spanish word for “courtyard” — the place where you can enjoy the outdoors in the comfort of your own home.

If you’d like to make your backyard feel a little less cramped without breaking the budget, here are three of our favorite patio ideas to make any outdoor space instantly more beautiful, open and homey:

Add a path of patio pavers
Want to keep your grass in good shape while complementing your patio space? Patio pavers or stepping stones can be a great, affordable solution. Pavers come in a wide variety of shapes, sizes and materials. From brick pavers to concrete and travertine pavers, your options are virtually endless.

Opt for less-expensive patio furniture
You don’t have to spend thousands of dollars while adding extra seating spaces to your patio. Most home improvement stores sell affordable patio furniture that you can assemble yourself. If you can’t find what you’re looking for in-store, you can always search online for new patio furniture, as well.

Lighten up
Did you know that adding lights to your patio space is one of the best ways to make it feel larger and more open? Energy-efficient CFL and LED are usually the best options for outdoor lighting. Best of all, patio lights make your home more safe and secure overall.

What are your favorite ideas for giving patio designs an upgraded look? Have any other questions about brick patios or pool deck ideas? Let us know in the comments below.