Here’s a good article on ideas to improve your deck from Better Homes & Gardens.
Enjoy the outdoors on a well-appointed deck. These 14 ideas will add style, function, and comfort to any deck.
Pile On the Pillows
Tempt friends and family — and yourself — to linger on your deck longer by softening your seating area with pillows. Pretty and durable accent pillows made from fun outdoor fabrics are easy to find in home stores and will stand up to the sun and rain. If you have found an indoor-outdoor fabric you love, cover your existing pillows for all-weather appeal. Toss a handful onto a sofa or bench, mixing in cheery, bright prints and hues for pops of color.
Use Containers for Color & Height
Dress up your deck with knockout containers. Flatter areas along railings or beside a door with pots that can hold tall, striking plantings such as this tropical canna ringed with fuchsia, coleus, and lantana. Bring in pots of annuals for bursts of color, or mix your annuals and perennials together like this smaller container of begonias paired with trailing creeping Jenny. Don’t forget your veggies: A sunny spot out on the deck is the perfect place to grow a few tomato plants or an herb garden.
Enhance a Railing
Safety is key to a usable deck, but beauty doesn’t have to take a backseat. Instead of an ordinary railing, consider integrating materials that match the style of your home’s exterior. Here, glass panels supply protection, shield the homeowners, and lend a bit of contemporary style.
Add Pop with Colorful Accents
Spice up your deck with painted furniture and fun accents. Pick a color scheme that enhances your home’s exterior and layer on pillows and throws as well as vases and bowls to give your outdoor seating a cozy feel.
Set Up Screening
Love your deck, but not your view? Install attractive structures that use complementary materials to create appealing borders that camouflage what you don’t want to see. These small-slat screens pick up on the patterning on the long overhead pergola to create a seamless border for this backyard oasis.
Block The Sun
The evolution in outdoor fabrics has made it easy to create shade on your deck without sacrificing on the pretty. Today’s all-weather fabrics come in an array of stylish patterns and colors from neutral to splashy for everything from umbrellas, to cushions and accent pillows, to sun shades. Many of these accents are relatively inexpensive and easy to swap out whenever the mood strikes.
Include a Planting Area
Since a deck is typically located close to the yard, it is a great place to set up your container plantings or prep veggies or flowers for the garden. Set up a planting area by adding an outdoor-resilient potting bench that includes a shelf system and a drawer or two to store gardening supplies, such as plant tags, seed packets, and string. If you’re not a gardener, convert a potting bench into an entertainment zone to stash your outdoor dinnerware close to your patio table.
Lay Down Rugs for Style & Practicality
Turn your deck into an outdoor room by accessorizing with an attractive outdoor rug. These all-weather options lend a cozy feel to an outdoor seating area and help tie together a color scheme. They also put texture underfoot, help keep things from being tracked inside, and on large spaces, they can delineate different uses, such as lounging space from a dining area.
Go Verticle with Plants
Hanging baskets are almost de rigueur on decks — and for good reason. A few hanging baskets help soften the open sides of covered-deck spaces with lush blooms and foliage. Switch up your look by rotating a seasonal display of flowers in spring, summer, and autumn.
Combine Deck Lighting with Screening
Extend the time you spend out on your deck by installing lights. Here, outdoor lights are wired into the decorative screens to illuminate the seating area and add ambience after dark. Nighttime illumination does not need to be at the same brightness as interior illumination. The goal should be to mimic the light levels typically provided by a full moon.
Find Furniture to Chat About
Outdoor furniture comes in a variety of heights, from low-to-the-ground chat sets, to traditional dining height, to tall bar-height seating. Select the type of seating that best fits your deck’s space and usage. On this deck, a chat-height set allows guests to easily talk while they savor snacks. This flexible seating can also easily be regrouped to accommodate large gatherings.
Make Your Deck’s Design Work Harder
Decks are so much more than simple floorboards and railings. Benches, planters, screens, and overhead shade structures all add to a deck’s appeal and functionality. For example, a tricky corner by a hot tub was enhanced with a built-in planter and a slatted screen that’s built into the roof’s support beams. Alternating the boards’ stain color creates extra interest.
Put Outdoor Fabrics To Work
A deck’s work space can look stunning with the right decorative treatment. A skirt made from outdoor fabrics hides the outdoor sink’s plumbing. Outdoor fabric panels made from a complementary stripe fabric help shade the deck and prep space when the sun is beaming in.
Supply Safe Passage
Contrasting paint colors and mini lights built into the stair’s steps, posts, and post caps work in tandem to make it easy to ascend to this deck at night. If your deck sits in a sunny spot, consider installing solar-powered lights for an energy-savings option.