May 16, 2019  

Summer Deck Decorating Ideas

Get your outdoor spaces looking their best for summer with these simple deck decorating ideas and see our pretty deck makeover. 


We’ve finally had some 70° days here in the Midwest which means I’m spending as much time as possible soaking up the sunshine after I get home from work in the evenings.

One thing that I love about our house is our large deck. This is our second summer in this house and last year we furnished the space with a hodgepodge of thrifted and hand-me-down furniture. It worked alright but this year I really wanted to upgrade some of our furniture and take the time to make this space a relaxing extension of our home.

Here’s what I started with:


I had the opportunity to partner with my friends at Homemakers here in Des Moines to give our deck a makeover just in time for summer weather. And now the deck is my favorite spot in the house!

In addition to sharing our deck makeover with you today, I’m also coming at ‘ya with practical tips to decorate an outdoor space so it truly feels like an extension of your home.


A huge thanks to Homemakers for sponsoring this post. All content and opinions are 100% my own! See my disclosure policy for details.

Summer Deck Decorating Ideas

1. CREATE Zones

Before you begin decorating your deck or patio, consider the different functions you want it to serve. Then designate zones within your space. 

Our deck is fairly large so I was able to designate this larger zone as a sitting area. The small area on the other side of the sliding patio door is a zone for our dining table. 

2. Determine a color scheme

Choosing a color scheme is always helpful to do before you start decorating a space. It will give you some parameters to stay within as you’re gathering decor plus a cohesive color palette will pull everything together.

I start most of my decorating projects with a base of neutrals and blues. Carrying those same base colors throughout rooms helps everything feel cohesive. I wanted to add in plenty of pops of color to celebrate summer and make this a fun space. 

Your color palette doesn’t have to be too elaborate and don’t let it feel too restricting. Layering in a blue rug, pink flowers, and a few colorful blankets and pillows were all I needed to add pops of color to my neutral furniture.


3. Don’t Skimp On Seating

When it comes to decks and patios, seating is king! You want comfy, cozy chairs that you can lounge in for hours. You also want to have plenty of seating for entertaining this summer.

I used my existing bench swing (a hand-me-down from my grandma that I painted) and went shopping at Homemakers for cozy chairs to complete this seating area.

Homemakers is a massive furniture store here in the Des Moines, Iowa area, and they fill a big section of their showroom with outdoor furniture this time of year. (If you’re not local to central Iowa, don’t worry! Homemakers sells a lot of their furniture online, too.)

This pair of wicker chairs caught my eye right away. The outdoor chairs are comfy and casual, plus I think their fun wicker pattern adds a bit of a playful vibe. 


4. Don’t Forget The Tables

When you’re setting up your outdoor space, don’t forget to add tables! Every deck or patio needs plenty of surfaces to perch drinks and food. I used this large metal coffee table from Homemakers to complete this seating area.

Also, consider adding small side tables and garden stools so all of your guests have an easy-to-reach place for their beverages. This little side table that came with our new patio chairs is perfect for our deck!


When I first spotted this giant coffee table at Homemakers and learned that it comes fully assembled, I was nervous about how to get it home since it most definitely will not fit in my tiny car.

But Homemakers came to the rescue because they offer statewide delivery! Driveway delivery is free for any order over $499 and just $29.99 for anything else. Seriously so helpful when you’re buying bulky patio furniture. 

5. Layer In An Outdoor Rug

Rugs are always a great way to anchor a space and adding an outdoor rug to your deck helps soften things. It’s been a long time since I’ve looked at outdoor area rugs and I was impressed with the variety and style available.

Homemakers has some really pretty neutral rugs with tons of texture that caught my eye and looked just like some of the trendy indoor rugs I’m seeing lately. After a lot of debate, I chose this bright blue patterned rug for our deck.


Since all of my patio furniture is very neutral, I really wanted a rug that would ground this sitting area while adding some color to our outdoor space. And this pretty rug certainly did the trick! 

Our new rug feels so soft and luxurious under my bare feet, and Chloe loves to bring her coloring book out here and plop down on the cozy rug while I work on dinner.


6. Add Low-Maintenance Flowers & plants

Every outdoor space needs plenty of flowers and plants in pretty containers! I don’t have much of a green thumb so I’ve learned to stick with low-maintenance plants that I know I can keep alive.

When I was decorating our deck, I went to the local garden center and bought two big plastic pots of petunias that were already well established. These are my go-to flowers and I always spend the extra money to get the ones that are fully grown in decent looking pots. 

I picked up this pair of gorgeous planters at Homemakers and filled them with flowers. One of the plastic pots I bought fit right inside the larger planter so I didn’t have to mess with adding potting soil and transplanting them.

For the smaller planter, I carefully dug out about a third of a pot of flowers and transplanted them into a smaller terra cotta pot that fit down inside the planter. 


When I was at Homemakers, I also checked out their Marketplace which is a huge space packed with seasonal decor. I found a lot of great faux greenery at really reasonable prices and picked up two small faux ferns along with this pair of deep green pots. 

I actually used real potting soil to fill the pots and cover up the ferns’ faux dirt. They look so pretty sitting on this outdoor side table and who says you can’t use faux greenery outside? I thought these were a great purchase because I can reuse them indoors as well–in fact, they have actually found a home on our kitchen island and I move them outside when we are spending time on the deck.


I love filling vases with whatever branches or flowers I can find in our yard for free. The crab apple trees are in full bloom here in Des Moines right now so I clipped a few branches to use as a centerpiece on the coffee table. So pretty and you can’t beat free!


I also have a few small pots of herbs and lemongrass that look pretty and are also useful. The herbs are handy to cut when I’m cooking and the lemongrass supposedly deters mosquitos so I’m giving that a try this year.

7. Pile On The Pillows & THROWS

Outdoor spaces get an instant boost of cozy, comfortable style when you add pillows and throw blankets. Drape a couple of throw blankets over your patio furniture on chilly nights and add cute outdoor pillows that pack style and comfort. Textiles are another great way to add pops of color to your deck or patio. 


I filled the bench swing with blue and white striped throw pillows and draped a pretty yellow throw over one end. I tried out some other pillow combinations but ended up sticking with my favorite pattern of navy and white stripes! 

This wicker chair and table set came with the cushions and these cute geometric pillows. I added a vibrant coral throw blanket to one of the chairs to draw out the pretty coral pattern on the pillows. 


8. Use Decor You Already Have

When it comes to decorating outdoor spaces, my advice is to spend your money on great furniture and style it with decor you already have. Using what you have is great for your budget and if I had a lot of brand new decor outside I would be more worried about things getting broken or rained on or stained or whatnot.

By sticking with decor I already own, I’m not as worried about things being outside which makes the deck a lot less maintenance which is my goal. Here in the Midwest, weather is pretty unpredictable and we only have a short season of patio weather so I don’t keep our deck styled all of the time.

The furniture, rug, and pillows can stay outside all of the time (covered with a tarp in the winter) and I bring the smaller decor outside when we’re entertaining or spending a lot of time on the deck during a weekend.


I want to have a beautiful, styled deck to enjoy this summer but tried to also keep it low maintenance so it isn’t stressful to maintain. I might pull the outdoor pillows inside if we have a crazy windy day but otherwise they can stay outside all summer long. And I use that big basket by the bench to carry the smaller decor and throw blankets in and out when we need it.

Speaking of that basket, I originally bought it at Homemakers for the nursery but now it lives under our entryway table and can be pulled out to the deck when needed.


9. Don’t Forget The Lighting

If you spend time outdoors at dusk and into the evening, don’t forget about lighting. We have a basic light on our house that lights up the deck and also hung these cute string lights from our pergola last summer. They obviously help us see in the dark but they also create awesome ambiance. 


I hope you are inspired by these deck decorating ideas and that they help you create a relaxing, cozy outdoor space that you and your family can enjoy all summer long. What’s your favorite part of our deck makeover?

Shop for new outdoor furniture at and be sure to stop by their massive showroom to see even more furniture the next time you’re in Des Moines.

Looking for more outdoor living inspiration? Take a look at these blog posts:

Have a great day!




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About the author

Emily Counts is the founder of Small Stuff Counts, a home and organization blog she created in 2013. Her goal is to help moms make home life easier so they can create beautiful, organized, and thriving homes. She shares life at home as a working mom juggling two young kids, a corporate job, and all that goes into managing a home. The Iowa-based blogger lives in the suburbs of Des Moines, Iowa, with her husband, two children, and rescue dog. Emily has collaborated with brands including The Container Store, Cricut, Command Brand, Bissell, Sam's Club and Rubbermaid.

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