There is nothing like relaxing outside on a well-built and outfitted deck — a space where you can enjoy the sunshine and still feel at home, whether alone or with guests. As a long-time deck builder in Cherry Hill, John Kang and the folks at Superior Deck and Fence are passionate about people enjoying outdoor spaces. Here are 10 factors to consider when designing your ideal outdoor haven.
It doesn’t have to be complicated to create a place you can easily use for all of your needs, whether you’re looking for peaceful solitude, a dynamic venue for outdoor parties, a chic poolside lounge or some combination of many things. It is your deck — so let’s make it yours, and make it work for you!
How to Optimally Use the Space Available on Your Deck
What are the most important things to you when it comes to function? It is crucial that we take time to consider how we plan to use a space, and allow room for flexibility or possibly changing our minds later. It can be really easy to get excited about decorations or cool gadgets that we see, but if we start piling things onto the deck without strategizing a bit first, we might end up with results that do not actually fit our needs and desires.
Make the Most of Your Space
What kind of space are we working with? What kind of space do you want to create? Whether you have a sprawling deck or a small, intimate one, you can make the most of the space.
Tips for Making the Most of Space on Large Decks
- It may seem that a bigger space is easier to decorate. You can buy bigger furniture and may not feel as restricted by the choices you have to make. However, the challenge still lies in arranging items for the best effect. Also, the coziness of the area will depend on preference and how much empty space is left. If chairs, sofas, benches, or lounges are spaced too closely, it might feel cramped, or too cold and uninviting if items are too far apart.
Tips for Making the Most of Space on a Small Deck
- With a small deck area, we can exercise creativity and ingenuity to maximize the space. Items that double as storage and seating, folding furniture, and wall-mounted lighting and counters could be your best friends.
Deck Seating Ideas
To make our deck to feel like a second living room, we definitely have to consider seating as one of the first priorities. It’s simply not appealing to have a conversation with a friend, a long nap or a party on the deck if the seating is not accommodating, or even just as comfortable as the seating inside. The goal is to make it just as enticing as staying inside.
Think of your favorite ways to de-stress and rest, and take the habits of others into account as well if you plan to entertain on your deck. Some examples of questions to consider would be:
- Would you prefer big, comfy upholstered furniture, or industrial-type benches that optimize seating capacity?
- Are you still making up your mind about your deck plans, and want multi-functional items that can double as seating and as storage?
- Does the deck need to be good for lounging and easily cleared for other activities such as dancing? Some people prefer sitting on floor cushions or convertible seating, and using minimalistic furniture pieces that can be conveniently stacked and tucked away to allow for multi-purpose space use.
How to Arrange Deck Furniture
- For best mobility within a space, we want to think about who will be using it and how much space is appropriate to leave between objects such as seats and tables.
- Do some objects need to be placed out-of-reach for safety?
- Seating should be positioned for:
- Comfortable conversation and socializing
- A great view
- Optimal sun and wind exposure, according to preference
How to Create a Flexible Deck Space
Being able to use a space in various ways can be absolutely freeing, allowing you to spend less time preparing before an event and spend more time with the things that matter more to you.
If you like to change things up, consider furniture that is lighter and easier to move around. Or, use tools to make your life easier. Furniture sliders placed underneath a heavy loveseat, for example, can help you move it with ease without damaging the deck floor.
Outdoor Deck Weather Preparation
- If lounging outside on the decks and pergolas all year long appeals to you, cold-weather outfitting is a non-negotiable. Would a stationary fire pit suit you, or do you want more mobile space heaters that can leave room for more flexibility?
- Will you have the deck screened in, or left open or partially open?
- For luxurious comfort, will draperies or sun screens be used to control sun exposure and warmth on the deck?
- Fans — will a ceiling fan or other tool lend more comfort during warmer months?
For more tips, see Forbes’ guide on choosing outdoor furniture!
Maintaining Deck Furniture
Dealing with choosing deck decor is a challenge also because maintenance needs have to be considered. It’s great to have a beautiful oasis right behind your home, but if it requires more upkeep than is realistic for your lifestyle, your relaxation spot could quickly turn into a burden.
Some helpful things to keep in mind:
- Do you have time to clean deck furniture often? Do you prefer something with minimal cleaning needs?
- If you love upholstered outdoor furniture, weather-resistant options are plentiful. Cushions that are easily removed can be laundered conveniently.
- If you are set on having wood furniture and accessories, are you prepared to give the pieces the attention they need to stay looking their best?
Deck Sound Equipment Tips
If music or entertaining is important to you, it is great to think about where you will place sound equipment for the best acoustics, or sound quality. Blaring speakers right behind a sofa where guests go to take a rest from the party would not be fun. Will sound equipment sit on the floor, be hung from other objects, or be placed on stands, etc.?
If you’d like some more tips on arranging outdoor audio equipment, check out Crutchfield’s expert guide here.
Outdoor Deck Style Ideas
After we consider the functional aspects of our dream deck, and what materials, tools and arrangement we need to use, it is easier to progress to the aesthetic part.
Choose Colors for Your Deck Decor
- If you are not a natural designer, do not worry! One simple way to pick a color scheme for your deck is to stick to a scheme of just a few main colors — 2 or 3. These are the base colors that every other color brought into the room needs to complement.
How to Choose Shapes for Deck Decorating
- Keeping in mind what materials, furniture types and spacing you are working with, what shapes appeal to you? Do you love sharp, angular pieces, or do rounded lines strike your fancy more?
Texture in Deck Decor
- Playing around with diverse textures can bring even a simple color scheme to life and add vivacity to your deck space.
Some simple planning, creativity and strategy can give you a great deck that you and your loved ones will love to use all year long. It all depends on your needs, your habits and what you want to get out of your decorating efforts. Dive in, enjoy the process, and keep these things in mind to help you create a deck space you will reap benefits from for years to come.
Jennifer Bell is a freelance writer, blogger, dog-enthusiast and avid beach-goer operating out of Southern New Jersey.