Deck Accents and Decor Ideas

Look for nesting places

Once you've built your deck, take time to relax in a comfortable chair and look around. Without intentionally making plans, notice where your gaze rests. Those are the places that could use decorative details, the nests for accent pieces. Pick one focal point per seating area. If you run out of deck space for decorative items, hang things on the wall.

Group similar objects to establish a theme. Folk art, antique hand-painted signs, or pottery pieces invite comparison, draw attention, and take on greater importance when displayed together.

Groups act as a single focal point. If you put groups of items too close together, though, they'll fight each other for attention. The best spots for displaying accents are those that offer a neutral background -- walls, fences, and green plants.

Items that don't qualify as a collection can still establish a theme. Even if the objects are different, if they have similar shapes, colors, or textures, those similarities will help unify the space.

Space items far enough apart that each one gets its chance to show off. On the deck, wooden boxes of different heights make good display stands. A coat of linseed oil and mineral spirits (half and half) will accent the wood tones, enrich the color, and help protect the wood from the elements.

Attach small shelves to the wall at different heights. Scattering the shelves on the wall rather than clustering them avoids clutter and helps create a larger display. If your deck is linear and formal, you can hang these shelves on the same horizontal or vertical planes. Offset the tops and edges of the shelves.

And don't forget the flowers, and especially the pots they grow in. Plain, plastic warehouse pots will detract from the overall appearance of your design scheme. Discount retailers carry a wide variety of inexpensive containers made to match almost any decorative style.

Decorative Points to Consider

Don't worry about a right or wrong way to display personal details in your deck. There aren't any rules -- only suggestions.

  • Mobiles and wind chimes not only catch the breeze, they also add a vertical dimension to the predominantly horizontal planes of the deck. Wind chimes also bring charm to the space with their tinkling sounds.
  • Seashells or other small objects can be more appealing when they appear half hidden behind the sides of shadow boxes.
  • If there's an accent you can't live without, but there's no obvious way to display or support it, lean it against a flower pot on the decking.
  • Mount driftwood on a blank wall and train vines to drape its contours.
  • Paint railing or fence posts in a theme of alternating colors.
  • Take a piece of battered barn wood and paint it into your own colorful circus clown. The contrast between the neutral color of the weathered wood, its rough texture, and the paint will make this sculpture even more interesting. On a smaller scale, hang a similar small figure from the rafters of an overhead.
  • Stand a weather vane in a flowerpot to draw attention to the seasonal color of complementary blooms. Create a sculpted array with metal flowers arranged in rows. They make a neat foil rising behind containers planted with the real thing.
  • Consider replacing your metal or vinyl-clad storm door with a well-made wooden screen door. Home centers carry them in a variety of styles with plain and decorative panels.
  • Hanging old silverware or other unexpected objects from an arbor can make a delightful display. This kind of display works best if the objects are small. Sparkly objects will make random light patterns on the deck.
  • Add color with home-sewn pillows covered with colorful patterns in acrylic awning fabrics. Acrylics won't fade like cotton duck fabric, and hold up forever in the weather. Use synthetic fillers to stuff the pillows.


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