How to Turn a Plain Deck into an Outdoor Entertainment Space

Now that the weather is turning cool here in beautiful Sarasota, it’s time to enjoy the outdoors and entertain. You’d love to have a dedicated and functional space to wow guests but you’re seemingly stuck with an old, plain deck. Well, you can transform it into a great space without spending much money or having to make major changes. You can take a trick designers use, often minimizing to maximize, a paradox that delivers wonderful results.

What these professionals do is to make strategic changes that are eye-catching and functional. When you break it all down, you’ll find that there’s nothing magical about what they produce. It’s a matter of getting the most out of everything, keeping it simple, which delivers on the philosophy of less is more. If you have trouble coming up with ideas, just get a bit of inspiration from sources you most like and duplicate them. A bit of important advice is to choose a style or theme that continues or compliments your home’s interior — a big change from the inside to the outside will look nothing less than disjointed.

How to Revive a Deck

Before you start your deck makeover, you should get it a face lift. Begin by clearing it off completely (you’ll need to do this anyway) to have plenty of room to work with and to start with a blank slate. If you’ve ever considered expanding your deck, this is definitely the time to do so. You can add more square footage by going further out laterally or by going up with an elevated area. The latter option helps to create separate spaces for different purposes.

Decks, patios, sunrooms and porches have always been popular with home buyers, but real estate agents say that too often those spaces are neglected or not used to their best advantage. Yet outdoor improvements like a deck can significantly enhance your home’s value and appeal. In fact, at the time of resale, a deck will recoup, on average, about 73 percent of the original cost of building it, according to Remodeling Magazine’s Cost vs. Value report. —Review Journal

Sweep it off, using a broom and/or a leaf blower, then, hose it down from top to bottom. Let it dry off and then make any repairs that are needed, replacing any planks or rotting rails. This is also a good time to take a look underneath for any pests. When the repairs are done, you can then move-on to refreshing it. Brush on a fresh coat of waterproof stain and allow it to dry as long as recommended by the manufacturer.

How to Turn a Plain Deck into an Outdoor Entertainment Space

The problem many homeowners have with their decks is not having a workable plan. They build these outdoor spaces without fully knowing what will be included and where things will go. But now that your deck is fully revitalized, you can begin to turn it into an outdoor entertainment space by doing the following:

  • Add circular seating. One way to make your deck feel more welcoming is to put-in seating. Arrange it in a circle so it feels more like a family room and allows guests to sit and chat. You can even put a fire pit in the center with serving space. To make it more comfortable, put pillows on the seating.
  • Erect an umbrella or pergola. Each one of these adds style but also plenty of function. They are ideal for repelling the sun while still delivering on aesthetics. You can spread vines over the top and sides of the pergola or set an umbrella in the middle of a table.
  • Give it color with plants. Plants nicely integrate into the outdoor environment and can be a wonderful way to divide spaces while adding color. Think long term when you buy plants and about which attract pests.
  • Install lighting. To get the most out of your new outdoor entertaining space, install plenty of lighting. This not only creates a more sophisticated look, but also, allows you to use your deck well after the sun sets. You choose a style that provides a nice accent to the space.
  • Incorporate outdoor fabrics. You can use outdoor fabrics to add even more color but also to divide spaces and/or hide certain things, like storage.
  • Dress-up the rail with function and style. Railings are primarily for safety, but that doesn’t mean that they have to be boring. You can install glass panels to add style and provide a little protection from the wind.

Another useful addition is a multi-purpose table. You can build one for next to nothing, by cutting it into a triangle shape and fastening it to the top of two perpendicular rails. Then, you’ll have working space when it’s needed, a bar, or for many other purposes. Put a mini refrigerator under it to store drinks that are cold and ready to serve.

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