Many of us have mastered the art of decorating indoors, but when it comes to decorating outdoors, we could use a little help. It isn’t that decorating outdoors is hard, just that we haven’t inherited any obvious choices. We know to put tables in dining rooms, couches in living rooms, and beds in bedrooms. But what, exactly, are we supposed to do with our decks?
Thankfully, deck décor ideas abound—and they can get as low-maintenance or as involved as you want them to be. Want to turn your deck into a dining room? Do it, as you could just as easily transform it with a couple of comfortable chairs.
Start by considering the space you’re working with, think about what you want it to feel like, and work your way out from there. To jumpstart your inspiration process, we’ve rounded up 22 stunning decks—and a design idea worth stealing from each of them.
Bring Your Dining Room Outdoors
When decorating your deck, you want to look for ways to add function and form. It shouldn’t just be pretty—it should also be a fun place to be. One easy way to strike this balance? Build an outdoor dining room.
If you have the space to store a dining room table and chairs—and if you have an overhang that permits all-weather dining—take full advantage. Turn your summer dinner parties into outdoor affairs, and prepare for your deck to become the seasonal hangout spot.
Have Fun With Your Lighting
Outdoor lighting often gets neglected, and it’s not hard to understand why—finding outdoor-friendly fixtures that look cute and work well can be tough. But, pieces that fit this bill do exist, and they can absolutely transform your deck.
Expand your lighting search beyond classic string lights, and keep an eye out for sleek pendant lights, statement-making chandeliers, and other outdoor-friendly options.
Build in Wraparound Seating
Seating is a must in any outdoor space, and when you’re working with a deck, you have the option to build seating. Since decks tend to be pretty rectangular, wraparound seating is particularly easy to pull off: simply line the borders of your deck with low-profile benches.
Whether you restrict them to one corner or let them extend across your deck, they’ll add a welcome dose of functionality to your space.
Invest in a Fire Pit
Everyone loves a good fire pit, and if you live in a cooler climate, a fire pit can extend the shelf life of your deck well beyond summer. Of course, fire pits tend to cost a pretty penny. But, if you know you’ll use one frequently, it’s probably worth the investment.
Since fire pits tend to be pretty sleek, yours can double as décor when it’s not in use.
Give Yourself a Breakfast Nook
If you don’t have space for a breakfast nook inside, consider building one outside. Even a small deck is big enough to house a bistro table and a couple of chairs. Small adds like these can make your deck feel a lot lovelier. So, look for ways to add these little bits of coziness—you’ll thank yourself later.
Segment Your Space
If you have a sizable deck, it may make sense to break your space into segments. Reserve one spot for dining, one spot for grilling, and one spot for relaxing or break things down in a way that suits your lifestyle.
Think of your deck like an open-concept interior, and build boundaries around the “rooms” you’d like to create—or the activities you’d like to enjoy outside.
Mix and Match Your Seating
Patio furniture tends to come in matching sets. But, if you’d rather piece together a set of your own, do it. There’s no rule that says your patio furniture has to match, so pair a wooden table with a couple of rattan chairs, and throw some painted metal into the mix.
These pieces can help you expand your seating set-up while making your deck look and feel more dynamic.
Make Use of Your Corners
Many of us under-utilize our deck corners. These spots act as implied boundaries, giving us an easy way to structure our outdoor spaces. Take a look at your corners, and consider whether they’re reaching their full potential. Could your corner become a fence, an entertaining nook, or simply a home for wraparound seating?
Load Up on Linens
Outdoor furniture tends to be pretty sleek, but they don’t have to be. There are tons of outdoor-friendly linens on offer so you can stock up on all the plush throws, comfy cushions, and decorative pillows you’ve ever wanted.
Sure, these items may seem unnecessary, but they can really cozy up your deck. And since form and function is what we’re after, that counts for a lot.
Take Full Advantage of Overhangs
If you’ve been blessed with a built-in overhang, take full advantage of it. These overhangs can arm your deck against the elements, giving you a protected place to house your most luxurious outdoor furniture. Build a cozy outdoor living room, an elegant outdoor dining room, or whatever other space you’ve been dreaming of.
Spring for a Couple Statement-Makers
Outdoor furniture tends to be pretty formulaic. You get a matching patio furniture set, you hang a few string lights, and you should be good to go—right? But, if you’re craving something more adventurous, all hope isn’t lost.
There’s plenty of statement-making outdoor furniture and décor out there, so if you want a show-stopping chandelier or a set of striking dining room chairs, rest assured knowing, you can make it happen.
Give Yourself Options
Your deck may be one big space. But, by breaking it into a handful of smaller spaces, you can maximize its functionality.
Turn one spot into a breakfast nook and another into a full-blown dining room. Having these options will help you fluidly move throughout your day, from a morning coffee enjoyed outside to a dinner shared with friends.
Create a Kitchenette
Eating isn’t the only thing you can do outdoors. Cooking can be an equally fun way to entertain, especially if you have the tools for it. To transform a narrow strip of deck into a functioning kitchenette, simply combine a grill, a sink, and a mini-fridge. These basic appliances will help you tackle a wide range of meals, and they’ll make it even easier and more fun to entertain outdoors.
Add a Porch Swing
Porch swings make a classic addition to any deck, offering romance and fun in equal measure. If you have an overhang to work with, consider hanging one of your own. If you want to dress yours up, you can always add pillows, a rug, and other accessories. Even without those extra additions, your porch swing is sure to stun.
Decorate Your Fence
When decorating an interior, many of us look for ways to adorn our walls. Of course, walls rarely exist outdoors, so it can be hard to replicate this approach. But fences offer an easy way to do it.
If you’ve tucked a cozy couch and a couple of chairs by a fence, consider decorating that fence the way you’d decorate a wall in your living room. Line it with outdoor-friendly décor, and let it dress up your deck even more.
Put Out a Few Plants
Plants make a no-fail addition to any space, and that’s true whether you’re decorating a sleek living room or a deck that’s already surrounded by lush greenery. What’s nice? Your plants will probably love seeing the outdoors as much as you love seeing them out there.
Just be sure to double-check the amount of sunlight each one needs and place them accordingly.
Keep It Simple
Traditional pieces are classics for a reason: they get the job done, so don’t force yourself to stay away from rocking chairs and bistro tables just because they’ve been done before.
Having a space that feels new isn’t as important as having a space you love inhabiting. Focus on what you want your space to feel like, and if a tried-and-true piece gets you there, embrace it.
Streamline Your Furniture
There’s no need to overwhelm yourself unnecessarily. When in doubt, snag a streamlined furniture set and call it a day.
Sure, piecing together your outdoor set-up bit-by-bit can be a lot of fun. If you want to outfit your space quickly and efficiently, there’s nothing wrong with sticking to a more traditional patio furniture set.
Create a Partial Overhang
If you don’t mind a little elbow grease, consider building an overhang above your deck. A full overhang will give you a ceiling to work with, giving you the flexibility to enjoy your deck, no matter what the weather is doing. A partial overhang will give you the opportunity to play with hanging décor without blocking out much-coveted sunlight.
Splurge on an Outdoor Couch
If you really want to cozy up your deck and you have a little space to spare, consider investing in a full-blown outdoor couch. The luxurious piece will immediately transform your outdoor space.
Since you can use it for everything from eating and drinking to reading and lounging, it may swiftly become a major player in your day-to-day routine.
Go All in on Décor
Outdoor furniture is getting sleeker and sleeker, which means you have tons of options when decorating your deck. Try to approach designing your outdoor space the same way you’d approach designing your indoor space.
Start with pretty furniture, invest in great lighting, and bring things together with a few fun accessories. Before you know it, you’ll have a deck décor set-up that rivals your home’s interior.
Take Full Advantage of Your Space
If you have a sprawling, spacious deck, take full advantage of it, and if you don’t, make the most of what you have. Start by taking a good, long look at what you’re working with, and then look for pieces that highlight the strengths in your space.
Tighter spots can be great for cozy morning coffees or mid-afternoon reading breaks, and bigger ones offer tons of options in the way of entertaining.