Designing Woman

It's almost summer, the kids are out of school and you know what that means… better weather (hopefully). It's time to get busy outside and spruce up that deck. Decks are as popular as ever and with people entertaining more at home; they have become the focal point of many homes. Outdoor living spaces can be large or small; the main idea is to create another room you can enjoy.

If your deck is faded or dirty I would recommend a deck wash and a good stain. It will only take a day and you can get great products at your home improvement store. Once the hard labor is done the rest is the icing on the cake…decorating!

Every deck needs to begin with a sturdy table and chairs; they can be elaborate or as simple as white plastic. I recommend covering the table with a cloth to add color and for easy clean up. Primary colors are perfect for the outdoors. Red, yellow and blue are great contrasts to natural outdoor colors such as greens and browns. Place a large container of fresh flowers on the center of the table. Sunflowers can be picked at local farms and are inexpensive and beautiful! Add a blue umbrella for shade and to add architectural appeal. This is a great option if you do not have a built-in pergola overhead. String lights inside the umbrella for ambience.

All outdoor living/entertaining areas need ample seating. Benches are great because you can move them around and create different cozy areas. Cushions add color and comfort for your guests. Place small tables near your seating areas for beverages. You can even take an indoor lamp and use it outside for the evening. Also consider placing strings of lights in the tree around your deck. Any type of additional lighting will create atmosphere.

Lush foliage, such as ferns, placed around the deck adds softness. Hanging flowerpots add interest and an array of colors.

Many stores now carry outdoor weatherproof clocks, speakers and temperature gauges. These items are functional and add small details.

Another idea to consider is whether there is space for a small tabletop fire pit. These are available at many stores and are perfect for decks and patios. Not only are fire pits fun, but you can also make your own S'mores! As with any fire pit all kids need to be supervised.

When decorating your deck, use the same ideas you would for the inside of your home. With a few changes outside you can create a cozy environment you will enjoy all summer long.

(Donna Anderson is a longtime Sherwood resident. She earned her bachelors degree in Design at California State University, Long Beach. She also owns InsideOut, gifts and décor in Sherwood.)

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