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With temperatures creeping up across the country, your mind may, once again, be turning to the outdoors. The warm sun and fresh air bring the possibility of family meals outside and lounging by the pool. Now is a great time to redesign your deck space to make it into the functional and beautiful outdoor living space that you have always envisioned.

Designing and furnishing your ideal deck space is very different from furnishing a room in your house. Deciding what pieces to put in the living room is more a question of your personal style than anything else. When it comes to deciding how to arrange your deck, the most significant factor to consider is how you use your deck. Is it primarily an area to sit and visit, a dining area, a play area, or a place to host the annual block party? Once you have answered this question, furnishing your deck should be easier.


Eating dinner as a family or sipping drinks with friends outside on a cool summer evening is one of the great perks of owning a deck. When designing an outdoor space where you will spend significant time, the first consideration is to make sure that the space will be comfortable. If your deck faces south or west, it may receive a considerable amount of afternoon and evening sunshine, making the space uncomfortably warm. In this case, you may want to invest in a large umbrella to provide shade for your guests. Everyone will have a more enjoyable time if they aren’t scorching.

When you think of dining furniture for use outside, you may envision a picnic table or a small patio set with a table and chairs. However, these are not the only options. If you have enough space on your deck, consider dividing it into two separate areas: a dining space with a table and chairs and a lounging area where guests can relax and visit before or after the meal. It can be awkward and uncomfortable to sit at the dining table for hours. When designing this type of space, remember that guests are likely to have drinks in their hands. Be sure to provide small end tables in and around lounging areas where guests can set them down. It is a little detail that will make everyone more comfortable.

Water Activities

If you have a pool or hot tub near your deck, your pool time and deck time are likely closely interconnected, and the furniture you choose should reflect that. Instead of more formal dining furniture, you will want more casual, comfortable furniture that can withstand all the wet people that sit on it. However, having a pool does not mean that you are limited to plastic lounge chairs. Water-resistant sectionals or sofas are terrific for lounging by the pool, whether you are swimming yourself or keeping an eye on the kids. A storage ottoman is incredibly convenient for storing clean towels in the summer.

Excessive water can be hard on your deck surface as well. Cedar decking will need special care if used around hot tubs or pools. It is essential to check the condition of the wood often and seal it regularly to protect it from water damage.

Entertaining Guests

Designing a deck for gatherings with family and friends can be challenging. If you regularly host large groups, you will want to make sure that you have adequate seating to accommodate your guests. However, even adequate seating, if improperly arranged, can hinder the conversation. If conversation areas are too large, your guests may not be able to talk to one another without shouting.

It may be best to divide your space into two or more smaller areas, allowing guests to visit in groups as they mingle with one another. Outdoor sofas or sectionals work well to divide up a large deck into smaller areas. Outdoor rugs and drapery can also give visual cues that define an area. Lightweight chairs add more seating as well as variety, color, or texture to your space. These chairs are also easily rearranged if you want to add one person to a group.

If you have a smaller space, you can apply the same principles on a smaller scale. In social situations, a full-size sofa often only seats two people. If you need to downsize it to a loveseat, you will likely be able to seat the same number of people. Remember to place coffee or end tables in each space to accommodate food and drinks.


Regardless of how you use your deck, you will want to keep lighting in mind. If your deck gets dark when the sun goes down, the party is over. Adding strings of lights around the perimeter of the deck not only allows you to use the space after dark but it creates a warm ambiance that will help guests to feel comfortable staying longer. Strings of lights can also be added to trees or trellises.

Arranging furniture on the deck can be simple and easy once you know what you need. Stay true to your style and find pieces that work for your purpose. Large decks may be able to accommodate multiple sectionals and tables to create a stunning entertaining area. If you have a smaller deck, you can still create a fantastic space by choosing a loveseat over a sofa or using a variety of beautiful chairs and side tables. Your outdoor space can be as elegant and functional as you can imagine. Bring on the warm weather!