26 Ideas to Dress Up Your Deck | Midwest Living

26 Ideas to Dress Up Your Deck

Furnish your deck or patio with accessories that add an extra layer of comfort and style to outdoor living. Here are 26 suggestions to get you started.
  • Focus on furniture

    Select one special piece of furniture and place it where it achieves focal point status. Even one high-impact piece will make the rest of your deck furnishings feel less utilitarian. This set blends sleek, sophisticated lines with relaxation and stands up to heavy use and weather.


  • Get comfy with cushions

    A collection of bright and cushy pillows will give your deck indoor-worthy style. Whether you add pillows to outdoor chairs or provide them for guests who prefer to lounge along the edge of the deck, they'll help you reiterate your deck's decorating scheme. Choose outdoor fabrics in cheery coordinating colors for easy-to-sew pillow covers; spray with a washable protectant to help them shrug off moisture and stains.

  • Add water

    Bring the tranquil sounds of water to your deck with a water feature, such as a fountain powered by a recirculating pump. Or create a soothing water garden in a pot or nearby raised bed.

    Make a tabletop water garden

  • Edge with green

    Form a living privacy screen with a trio of head-high planters. Start with classy pots (ours are lightweight resin) and add a lush arborvitae to each. Stand the matching plantings side by side along an edge of your deck to gain privacy and put lush greenery within reach.

  • Hang wall art

    Think of your outside walls just like you would think of walls IN your house. Filling blank spots with colorful or conversation-starting art pieces helps your deck feel more personal. This bright and beautiful kite, for instance, adds a colorful note to this stone wall. Hung within easy reach, it's also available for play whenever a breeze stirs. Architectural salvage pieces also make intriguing outdoor art that's weather-hardy.

  • Plant a container garden

    Enhance any outdoor setting with a container garden that combines interesting colors and textures. To make the garden portable, use a lightweight fiberglass pot. The shade-loving group shown here includes polka-dot plant, pink wax begonias, white Torenia and spider plant.

    See more container garden ideas

  • Make a fire bowl

    Give your deck the flickering warmth of a personal fire bowl for cozy ambience as twilight approaches. To make the bowl, place a 13-ounce can of clean-burning gel-alcohol fuel in a 10-inch-diameter terra-cotta container. Surround the can's bottom and sides with tumbled recycled glass.

  • 60-Second Video: Outdoor living

    Enliven the front of your house with wicker and white furniture, freshen up the backyard patio with colorful dining chairs, or get cozy in front of a stone and brick fireplace.

  • Color your world

    Personalize terra-cotta pots by dry-brushing them with layers of acrylic paints. Using a variety of colors in similar hues will give each pot depth and character. Fill each container with potting mix, tuck in seasonal bedding plants, and water.

    Make mosaic flower pots and other projects

  • Portable screen

    Combine a hardworking teak planter and trellis to display flowering annuals at your deck's edge. During the day, prisms in the windowlike latticework refract sunlight; at dusk, tea-light candles cast a romantic glimmer.

    Use tiny brads and fishing line to hang the glass prisms. For tea-light lanterns, start with clear, round jars or vases. Wrap 18-gauge wire around the neck of each jar, and wire a handle over the top of the jar. Hang the handles from cup hooks on the trellis, and add tea lights to the jars.

  • Personalize your shade

    Outfit your outdoor room with a hand-painted umbrella that provides portable shelter and custom charm. Anchored in a sturdy base, this tilting sunshade adjusts to block blazing rays throughout the day. See the next slide for how to make this project.

  • Umbrella how-to

    Using masking tape, outline a simple design, such as our aqua sunburst pattern, on the open canvas umbrella, then brush on acrylic fabric paint. When dry, safeguard with a spray coat of fabric protector, such as Scotchgard. Adorn the tips of the umbrella's ribs with "jewelry" made by wiring beads to wooden curtain rings.

  • Add punch

    Pillows, paint and paper lanterns coordinate with the bright colors of the fabric streamers creating privacy for this tiny deck. 

  • Unify the look

    The weave of this furniture echoes the lines in the rustic wood fencing beyond. Shots of red in the plants connect with the reddish fabrics. 

  • Vary heights

    The bar, barbecue, drink cooler, and plants on the railing and wall elevate the look of this small space. The airy lines of the side table continue the effect. The result is a lots of hardworking items but no sense of clutter.

  • Add a rug

    The zebra-look rug adds spark to an otherwise tradtional look. The rug also visually separates the eating area from conversation area. 

  • Cover with canvas

    Canvas creates airy shade for a concrete pad in the corner of a narrow side yard that might otherwise go unused.

  • Create privacy

    A row of evergreens forms a privacy wall for this deck. A couple of green accessories pop in the neutral scene.

  • Try sparks of color

    When neutrals dominate as they do with this wood and metal table, add a spark of color like these bright green resin chairs.

  • Dramatize the scene

    A just-big-enough circle of bricks stuns with its position under a dramatic arch of roses.

  • Warm with reds

    Red furnishings and plantings warm up the look of this deck. The flicker of flames in the black cauldron amps up the heat.

  • Maximize the view

    Positioning these two comfy chairs so they face the view is only smart. Cushions on the bench soften the seat (but you know everyone wants to sit in the chairs).

  • Use space under decks

    Making use of the area under a deck doubles your space for relaxation. 

  • Unify with an arch

    An arched canopy links the two structures, provides shade and gives the space an intimate feel.

  • Timber and stone

    A timber-frame loggia featuring columns banded with hammered wrought-iron shades metal farm-style chairs and a teak table. A stone fireplace and brick pavers complete the welcoming dining area.

  • Keep it simple

    A simple brick patio and a small raised area call for other simple pleasures: a basic table, retro-style chairs and a hammock. 

  • Continue colors

    Chairs around the table and the fire pit all wear the same color cushions to connect spaces. 

  • Add a pop of color

    A bright pop of color is the fastest way to revitalize your deck. Add a firepit in the middle for those cool summer nights and you won't be able to leave the deck all summer.

  • Stick to a color theme

    Focusing on one or two colors adds a unifying feel to your decor. Punchy blue and green deck furnishings brighten up the backyard while not distracting from the scenery itself.

  • Get on my level

    A two-level deck maximizes the space in your backyard. The table and chairs on the top level are shaded by a weatherproof fabric shade sail while the chairs on the patio below are sheltered by the deck.

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