Do you remember when you were a kid, how much fun it was to build your own fort or pitch a tent in the backyard? Never mind that you hadn't really traveled anywhere, because playing inside your "dream space" made you feel like you had been transported a million miles away.
There's no written rule that says when you become an adult, you need to give up on being a dreamer with a sense of adventure. Hopefully, there will always be a little bit of an adventurous kid who will always live on inside each of us. So when I came across these cool images of some dreamy outdoor cabana spaces created by some very creative "dreamers", it reminded me that any one of these dream spaces would be even better if shared by an entire family.
The most literal definition of the word cabana refers to "a small cabin or tent like structure for use as a bathhouse, especially on a beach or by a swimming pool".
In my mind however, a cabana can be almost any sort of creatively captured outdoor living space that's given the "feel" of a private room, mostly accomplished through the creative use of fabrics and furnishings. What's even better is that it's possible to create most of these spaces without using a lot of solid building structure.
I'll start you out with this simple Step-by-Step DIY Cabana whose framework is constructed from plastic PVC piping that can be easily located at almost any home improvement or hardware stores. Instructions are provided for how to construct the framework and dig simple foundational footings to keep the structure secure. To complete the look and give your retreat a more cozy feel, super simple curtains can be sewn with basic casings that slip easily over the PVC framework. The rest of this welcoming look is then created by simple furniture configuration that makes you want to curl up and read a book.
However, if you'd prefer something a little bit more elaborate, and you don't live in an area with lots of strong winds, check out the framework for this 12 x 12 Harbor Gazebo to get you started.
If you want more ideas for how to develop this space, check out some of the Centsational Girl's ideas. She shares many more detailed images that illustrate how she's added furniture, plants and other simple inexpensive personal accents to create a cabana that looks like a million bucks, but without spending that much!
If you're limited on space, here's a simple, but unique way to make a small patio feel more like a room or cabana. These Coolaroo triangle sun shades can easily be strung across a small corner of your patio to create the feeling of a roof overhead. Or you could use two of these triangular shaped sunshades strung across each other in opposing directions to cast some shade onto your patio and they'll also add a really cool contemporary design element to whatever space you have available.