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Deck Design Dos and Don’ts

Have you recently added a deck to your home? Perhaps there has been a deck in place, but you just do not know what to do with it in terms of style and furnishings. We encourage you to think about deck design much as you would an interior living space by deciding on a color scheme, then furnishing it with comfortable and functional pieces made specifically for the outdoors. These deck design dos and don’ts will help you decide on the perfect outdoor furniture and accessories.

What Will You Do on Your Deck?

outdoor table and chairs with umbrella
This round table with umbrellas and six chairs fits perfectly in this deck’s space.

It is important to think about how you will use the deck. It may be an ideal space for entertaining, in which case you will want to create groupings of deep seating with plush upholstery and coffee tables that allow for easy serving and enjoying food and beverages. A sound system is a nice added touch.

Do: Add pieces similar to what you have indoors for entertaining outdoors.

Don’t: Overcrowd the space.

Seaside Party Bar
This Seaside Casual Party Bar is the perfect size for a deck.

If you will use this space for dining, an outdoor refrigerator and a buffet table with lots of storage might be good additions but remember that they must fit snugly against the house’s outer walls or tuck into a corner in order to be usable and still allow for ample flow of movement. A square or rectangular outdoor dining table with barstools or benches that can be stored underneath the tabletop is the most space-conscious choice. A pub table is another good selection.

Do: Make it easy to store food, beverage and dishes.

Don’t: Choose large pieces that will interrupt the flow of traffic.

seaside casual buffet
This buffet from Seaside Casual is a great choice for a lounge area in a side yard or on a deck.

If you and your family are more apt to use the deck for personal lounging and relaxing, opt for lounge chairs or rockers but, again, be sure that the dimensions of the seating pieces fit into the square footage of your deck, which is often narrow. Small occasional tables scattered throughout provide a great place for a glass of iced tea and a book, perhaps even an outdoor lamp for reading ease.

Do: Keep it casual and comfy.

Don’t: Forget about things like lighting, rugs for texture and warmth, and lots of tables to place personal items.

Add Accessories

Accessories like candles give your deck a homey feel.

Just like your interior living space, the addition of select accessories gives your deck design a pulled together look. Outdoor rugs anchor the furnishings while potted plants and vases of flowers are natural decorations on a deck. Be sure there are plenty of brightly hued outdoor throw pillows for casual relaxing on the floor. Candles (traditional wax or battery powered) provide soft lighting, but you could also opt for string lights with fanciful bulb covers for a whimsical touch.

Do: Add accessories so your outdoor room mimics indoor space.

Don’t: Forget about light, texture and color.

Tame the Temperature

This Eclipse fire urn can be tucked into a corner.

Your deck will benefit from items that help you stay warm and keep cool. A space-saving firepit, fire urn or fire bowl provides just enough warmth for a small gathering; you may also want to keep a basket of blankets nearby to hand out to guests on a chilly night. Just be sure to take appropriate precautions if your deck is made of wood or there are flammable materials nearby.

This market umbrella is the perfect size to shade a small area.

An outdoor umbrella gives protection from the sun; be sure to select one that tilts so it can be moved as necessary to block the rays. A misting system or fans help to cool things down, as well. A trellis with climbing vines on one or both ends of the deck not only provides a bit of shade, but it also adds privacy to your deck design.

Do: Accommodate chilly nights and warm days with fire features and umbrellas.

Don’t: Place a fire feature directly on a wood surface.

Well thought-out deck design allows you and your family to enjoy an additional living space. Add the right pieces, in the right proportions, and make sure you have all the accessories in place to make it an ultra-comfortable outdoor room you are sure to enjoy year-round.