downtown Toronto patio makeover

The time has finally come for me to share my rooftop patio reveal with you guys! This was such a long time in the making. TBH, although my husband and I finished this a couple months ago, we wanted to just enjoy the fruits of our labour once we were done. There were too many beautiful days this summer for us to pass up the opportunity to selfishly relish in what we’d done. So, #sorrynotsorry this blog post is a bit overdue!

The Before & After

I guess you can say the overall vibe we were going for was a mix between Scandinavian style and Boho, and I think we’ve achieved that! Our rooftop patio is like a little urban oasis to us, complete with plush accents and greenery. The best way to give you an idea of the monumental makeover we did to our downtown Toronto rooftop patio is to just cut right to the chase and show you the before and after. So, take a look at this transformation:

Before:

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After:

downtown Toronto patio makeover

The Quick Backstory on our Rooftop Patio

We are very lucky to live in a small building, where each of the units has its own private (fully enclosed) patio space on the roof. This is very rare for downtown Toronto! So, we’ve never had to worry about sharing amenities, and it’s been great for entertaining and personal use.

When I bought the loft, I’d purchased the seller’s patio furniture. It was in great condition and included a full sectional, extra chairs, a dining table set, and a barbecue. I was all set! For the first couple summers, I made such great use of the space. The problem, however, was storage. The storage shelf + tarp situation I inherited from the seller wasn’t enough to protect the cushions from critters. Unbeknownst to me, raccoons would visit from time to time. They pulled the cushions out and eventually set up a little home in that particular corner of my rooftop space.

Over time, the space was left unused and unloved. We briefly looked into replacing all the cushions. But that turned out to be more of a hassle than (and about as expensive as) replacing the patio furniture, altogether.

Fast forward to this year, when the pandemic hit, and the desire had never been more real to do something about our rooftop patio! Having an additional 250 sq. ft. to yourself outdoors can really do wonders for mental health! It must have been somewhere between the ‘the world is going to end’ and the homemade breadmaking part of the pandemic that we decided to go all in on our rooftop patio! The whole process took about 2-2.5 months and A LOT of work to complete, but we are so glad we decided to bite the bullet!

downtown Toronto patio makeover downtown Toronto patio makeover

Pressure Washing

The first step was to pressure wash the wood. I don’t think it had ever been done before and had roughly 16 years worth of accumulation, so it was very dingy looking. My husband borrowed a pressure washer and went at it one Saturday for about 5-8 hours (bless his heart!). The before and after are like night and day!

before and after pressure washing

You can see such a huge difference between the before pressure washing (on the right) to after pressure washing (on the left)!

Patio Furniture

Turns out, lots of people had the same idea as us this year. So, finding a full patio set was not an easy feat. We knew we wanted a neutral/tan colour for the base and light cushions. We narrowed our options to Canadian Tire and IKEA. In the end, we chose the IKEA SOLLERÖN for a few key reasons:

  • IKEA’s furniture is sold in sets on the website, but the sets are just comprised of the individual pieces that are assembled. In other words, you can purchase every single individual piece to build your own set (including armrests to make end pieces and armchairs). The cost works out to be the same as buying the whole set, so it’s a fantastic work-around if you can’t find the full set!
  • The cushions are sold separately too. So, if some get damaged, you can easily replace them. The cushion covers can also be removed and washed in your machine.
  • Each chair has lots of storage – both in the bottom compartment and in the back. So, between storing the cushions inside the patio furniture and using furniture covers which we also bought from IKEA, we were all set!

IKEA solleron patio furnituredowntown Toronto patio makeover

The IKEA SOLLERÖN set is in high demand – especially with the white and beige cushions. So, I must caution that acquiring all the pieces took us about 2 months and included multiple trips to IKEA, ordering through IKEA’s click and collect and doing multiple pickups as far as Burlington. We even had the SOLLERÖN stool delivered by a third party in the U.S. and the last couple SOLLERÖN one-seat chairs delivered to us from a third party in British Columbia. We did pay these third parties separate shipping costs, but it was worth it to have a completed set within the summer of 2020.

I am super thankful to have a very resourceful and patient husband who sourced everything. Because if I was doing it on my own, I definitely would have given up and tried again next year!

my downtown Toronto patio makeoverIKEA solleron

Another plus about IKEA’s furniture is that the cushions are easy to clean. We’ve been able to wipe away any little stains with a damp cloth or baby wipe, and haven’t yet had to put the covers in the laundry. We are very happy with our purchase!

BBQ

The other key patio item that has made all the difference for us this year was our brand-new Napoleon Prestige barbecue. While not pictured here, I wrote a separate blog post about it which you can find here.

Accents and Accessories

While my husband is more the big picture, logistics, and assembly guy, I am all about the details. Sourcing all the accents and accessories was the fun part for me, and apart from the furniture, they’re really what made the whole space come together!

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Pillows (Covers & Inner Cushions): H&M Home | White Throw: Nordstrom Rack (Similar)| String Lights: Canadian Tire | Round Floor Stools: IKEA | Rug: Bed Bath & Beyond | Macrame Planter Hangers: Amazon | White Lanterns: Amazon | Round White Rattan Tray: Bouclair | Ceramic Planter: Amazon | Plant Stand: Amazon | Cotton Rope Storage Basket for Plant: Amazon | White Side Table: Wayfair | Two-Toned Ceramic Vase on Side Table: Bouclair | Round Ceramic Vase on Side Table: Bouclair | Round Lantern on Side Table: Bouclair | White Cantilever Umbrella: IKEA

Urban Barn floor pouf

I mean, I love it all. But one of my favourite pieces is this Baja floor pouf from Urban Barn! I searched for several weeks to find the perfect floor pouf and went back and forth between round and square. The good quality floor poufs were pricey and a lot of the others online are too small or lower quality. This one was not only good quality, but also the perfect size at about 17.75″ width x 15.75″ height. It was ½ price when we bought and such a steal!

wicker basket planters

When searching for inspo online, I saw the cutest rectangular wicker basket planters and knew I wanted to do something similar. I thought it was a great way to break up the back fence and add visual interest. It was a bit of a DIY project, as it’s hard to find planters that hang sideways (as opposed to vertically). So, we bought 3 of these wicker basket sets separately and used the middle pieces to create the planters. The plant pots are from our local Home Depot. We ended up spending a bit more to put each planter together, but I love how they turned out!

Lowe's table

Another favourite of mine, and one of the last pieces we got to complete our rooftop patio, was this round patio and garden table. I originally saw it on the Lowe’s website (original manufacturer is LH Imports) and fell in love, but it was sold out. About a month later, my husband saw that it came back in stock, so we jumped on it! The legs are made from Acacia wood and the table top is made from ficonstone. It’s meant to be durable for the outdoors, and I love the two-toned effect of the brown and grey. I think it’s a beautiful focal point for the ‘lounge space’ on our rooftop, and it’s also the perfect size!

downtown Toronto patio makeover

We retained the original dining set from the seller of this condo–as it was still in great shape–and purchased bottom cushions from Wayfair. We have a patio umbrella that we can easily insert into the centre of the table, or remove if we want to throw a tablecloth on top.

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I hope you enjoyed this little patio makeover reveal/home tour and I hope it provides some inspiration for your own outdoor space too!

Photography By: Laura Clarke Photography