Makeover On A Budget

The pool area needs sprucing up, but there’s no money in the budget for it, right? Here are some creative ways to dress it up without spending thousands of dollars.

First Impressions

The best place to start is the entrance. Gates are expensive to replace, but handles and locks have reasonable costs.

Start by replacing rusty springs, and tighten them for a faster-closing response of the gate. In the case of our facility, the old springs caused the gate to stop short of latching, which was a serious security issue. Additionally, the latches were worn and barely opening, which prevented the gate from closing--even with the new springs. We purchased new latches that allowed a more fluid motion for automatic closing. These two replacements for each gate made them feel new, operate better, and gave a good first impression to new patrons.

Worn Furniture

Pool furniture is expensive. A complete replacement is most likely out of the question. However, less-expensive options are available. We contacted our furniture company and simply ordered replacement straps. Some chairs needed a complete overhaul, so we took all of the straps off, painted the base of the chairs to give them a fresher look, and replaced either some or all of the plastic straps. If you have some extra money, a new color is not a bad idea either. Consider changing from an outdated color to a fresh, new one when purchasing replacement straps.

Another way to freshen up furniture is to look over any worn tables or umbrellas. Ripped, discolored umbrellas and broken table tops are eyesores to patrons. Replace only the broken table tops. Either get rid of faded and ripped umbrellas, or replace them. Another option is to rent umbrellas to patrons--this way you can keep them inside to preserve them, and start earning money for the replacement expense.

Pool Deck

The pool deck probably looks dull from the colder months. If you do not have money in the budget for repainting, rent a pressure-washer and clean the deck. Pay close attention to corners and shady areas that tend to grow mold; if necessary, put some bleach in the water to eliminate the mold. Pressure-washing can uncover cracks and other unsightly areas. To keep expenses down, try to repair only these areas rather than repainting the entire deck.

Trash Cans

If the trash cans are dull and showing their age, a little paint goes a long way. Paint them when you repaint the chairs to give an overall fresh look. If the bins are plastic, refreshing may be difficult, so it might be best just to replace them. However, be sure to replace them with either longer-lasting bins or with a darker color.

Color, Color, Color

Nothing shows age like an outdated color scheme. If you have money left in the budget--or you are lucky enough to need a pool resurfacing--choose a more updated color palette. Pool areas are no longer the bright, white pool decks with light-colored water. While light colors hide chips and cracks, they also show dirt and age. Contact a local concrete designer to obtain pricing on new colors and even textures. Stone colors or earth tones create more of a retreat than a “public pool” appearance. Smooth concrete is outdated, and while brick pavers are expensive, an alternative is to install brick pavers in a small area--like a spa--with a repainted pool deck in the larger area. Concrete designs can be painted to look like brick pavers with less expense.


With any redesign project, maintenance is an integral part of keeping a pool area looking fresh, so be sure to check pool pumps regularly, keep chemicals in balance, and stay on top of preventative maintenance. Also, be sure to bring furniture inside during colder months to prevent fading and cracking. During warmer months, keep furniture clean by washing it regularly to eliminate oils and debris, and always bring furniture inside during storms to prevent damage. Longer-lasting improvements are very important during these economic times, so take good care of a pool, and it will last a long time.

Kati Trammel is an advertising and public relations specialist in Lakeland, Fla. She can be reached at