A small backyard deck with railing and a set of chairs around a table

You don’t need a massive, open area for your outdoor deck to be a great place for relaxing and entertaining. In fact, you can transform any small space into a cozy, beautiful gathering place by using a few small deck decorating ideas in a big way.

We should note there is no exact definition of a “small” deck, but these tips work for just about any outdoor living space where square footage is a concern. Let’s get started!

1. Start with What You Don’t Need

If you’ve already had your deck for many years, you’ve probably accumulated many decorations and furniture you don’t need anymore. When trying to declutter, ask yourself two questions about each item you have:

  1. How often do I actually use this?
  2. Do I have other items that fulfill the same purpose?

In other words, you don’t need two different fire pits, a large umbrella if you already have an awning, or a side table for every chair.

On a small deck, every square foot counts, and clunky objects can quickly lead to a crowded feeling. Only having the essentials and prioritizing items that can pull double duty are key for maximizing space.

For items like art or decorations, try to stick with wall art that doesn’t get in the way of walkways and keep statues in the surrounding garden. You can also use patterned furniture and different paint colors to bring personality without sacrificing space.

2. Pick the Right Table

A patio table is often the centerpiece of any deck. Whether you’re eating, enjoying drinks, or playing a board game, a table is the ultimate multi-use furniture item. But the wrong table can take up a lot of legroom.

If you want one larger table, choose something round instead of square to make movement easier. Don’t choose something meant for a full banquet—be realistic about how many people you expect to be on the deck at one time.

If you prefer a more open living area, consider placing a few side tables in between chairs. They should be just large enough to hold one or two drinks or plates.

3. Don’t Sacrifice Comfort

You should consider furniture size when looking at small deck decoration ideas, but there are some areas you shouldn’t sacrifice comfort. Chairs are one of them.

Small, light-framed chairs look nice and are tempting when space is limited, but a chair that’s too small can be uncomfortable and discourage you from spending time outside.

Don’t get a full La-Z-Boy recliner for every member of the family, but don’t be afraid to use up some space with a comfortable chair or bench.

4. Don’t Make Space—See Space

The trick to a small deck isn’t being a design expert; it’s being resourceful. There are tons of nooks, crannies, and corners that you can use to your advantage.

Look for those areas you don’t often consider, like:

  • The space between chairs
  • Small corners between walls or railings
  • Recessed corners or edges
  • Overhead hanging space (especially if you have rafters or a sturdy awning)

These areas are great for plants, side tables, storage boxes, and other items you might struggle to make fit. As long as your walkways are clear, look for these small areas to fill up.

5. Choose Plants (Strategically)

It might sound strange but bear with us—your plants can do more than smell and look nice.

Some plants are more attractive to certain insects, while others can actually repel bugs. You can use this to your advantage to make your deck a more comfortable living space.

The answer is to choose plants that smell lovely to you and horrible to insects. For example:

  •     Certain species of scented geranium repel mosquitoes as well as flies
  •     Lavender repels both and has a beautiful color and scent
  •     Lemongrass is another beautifully aromatic plant that repels mosquitoes

One note: while lavender repels these pesky insects, it is extremely attractive to bees. Bees are our friends and won’t do you any harm, but if you’d rather keep flying insects to a minimum, you should bear this in mind.

6. Cut Down on Patterns & Colors

Lots of patterns and vibrant colors can actually make a space feel smaller than it is. Limiting the visual intensity of your deck can make it feel more open and airy.

If you haven’t started purchasing new furniture, start planning your color palette before you buy anything. Neutral colors like beige, cream, gray, and white are always a safe bet for larger furniture pieces and will match well with patterned pillows or decorations.

Don’t worry too much about it seeming ‘boring’—it’s always easier to jazz up a plain deck than it is to tone down a busy-looking one.

7. Use Lighting to Maximize Space and Mood

Lights placed on the walls, mounted beneath railings, or inset on the floor are all great ways to save space. Our lighting solutions give you full visibility without having to worry about clunky lamps and cords in the walkways.

Additionally, tall garden lamps that are set on the ground outside of your deck are also a great idea—and can draw moths away during the evenings.

Conclusion: A Small Deck is a Big Opportunity

If you plan things carefully, a small deck is full of endless possibilities to create a comfortable and inviting outdoor living space for you and your family.

To purchase accessories like railing and lights (or even get the lumber you need to expand your deck), get in touch with the Decks & Docks team. Now is always a good time to transform your deck.