Deck Makeover with Hanging Bench, Privacy Curtains and More

Sarah Dorsey

Article Posted By: Sarah Dorsey

of Sarah M. Dorsey Designs

Deck Makeover with Hanging Bench, Privacy Curtains and More

It’s hard to say what’s the best part of this deck makeover. There are so many decorating ideas and DIYs here, it’s hard to choose. That’s certainly a testament to the talent of Sarah Dorsey of Sarah M. Dorsey Designs.

She took this deck makeover on for The Home Depot Patio Style Challenge. The Brown Jordan Outdoor Set we sent her was where she started– that, and a nice, large deck that seriously needed to be restored.

Sarah turned her deck into an exceptional outdoor living area, with its hanging bench, pergola frame, outdoor curtains and lovely planters. She walks us through her outdoor decorating ideas, and explains how she refinished her deck.

Deck Makeover

After the first winter in our home, it was obvious that our deck would need a lot of TLC! Needless to say, we were so excited to participate in The Home Depot Patio Style Challenge! After a lot of sanding, staining, painting and a lots DIYs, our deck was looking like a completely new space in a few weeks.

Restoring the Deck

As you can see, the paint was badly peeling and the algae needed to be removed, first and foremost. We pressure washed the deck to remove as much paint and grime as possible (note: if you don’t own a pressure washer, you can rent one at Home Depot). We gave the deck a good sanding with a large drum sander and removed the hard to reach spots with hand-held belt sanders. The algae was removed with Behr All-In-One Wood Cleaner. Instead of repainting the deck, we used a driftwood semi transparent stain to bring out some of the wood grain.

A backyard deck before restoration

DIY Cable Railing

At this time, we also removed the horizontal railings. Our dogs could fit through them, plus they were bulky obstructed the view. We replaced them with a cable system. Instead of purchasing a kit, we devised a plan to get the same look for a lot less, using materials from The Home Depot.

DIY cable railing on a restored backyard deck

Deck Makeover with Hanging Bench, Privacy Curtains and More

For the challenge, we decided to use the nook to the side of our entry. It gets sun throughout the day, and the wind is partially blocked by the house, making it the perfect spot to relax or enjoy a meal outside.

DIY Hanging Bench

When thinking about the challenge, I knew I wanted to incorporate a DIY hanging bench (which by the way is my favorite thing ever!!), so building a pergola, sturdy enough to support the weight of a few people was also first on the list.

After deciding on a woven bench, we built a frame out of pressure-treated wood and decided on a weave pattern. The bench is suspended from cables, and rope is wrapped around the cable to match the bench.

It took a good bit of time, but it was definitely worth it! I love the gentle sway and the slight give of the rope. It’s so relaxing!

A rope woven hanging bench on a backyard deck

Weaving rope around a wooden frame to create a hanging bench

A beautiful hanging bench made from rope woven around a wooden frame

The Deck Seating Area

The Brown Jordan Form patio chairs and matching chat table coordinate well with the weave of the bench. I love the clean lines and brass corner hardware – it reminds me of campaign furniture!

The seating area of a beautifully decorated backyard deck

Yellow garden stools and a patterned rug on a backyard deck

To the seating area, I also incorporated a few accent tables and stools for extra seating or to hold a drink.

Colorful throw pillows and a succulent plant in a yellow pot decorate a backyard deck

I added a few DIY pillows made out of indoor/outdoor fabric, table cloths and DIY tassels. I also included a few indoor pillows which I’ll just bring inside when we’re not using the deck. I did spray them with Rustoleum Never Wet, though, so if I forget, they should be good!

Cold drinks and fruit snacks

When we moved into our house, we found an old wood scaffolding plank. It was dirty and covered with paint. After scrubbing it down and sanding off the paint, we added a waterproof sealer. We added DIY sawhorse-inspired legs from a piece of cedar – making it an instant outdoor buffet! It’s perfect for serving drinks and food! It also expands, so we can open it up if we need more room.


A backyard deck with a pergola, privacy curtains and a hanging bench

For privacy and atmosphere, we added a galvanized pipe and hanger system for simple white draperies.

A geometric planter made from cedar fence posts

A geometric wooden planter and succulents in a yellow flower pot

Finally, we added a few DIY geometric planters made from cedar fence posts. I love the shape, plus they are relatively simple to make!

A beautifully decorated backyard deck

Sarah Dorsey of Sarah M. Dorsey Designs, husband David and two furry friends

I hope you enjoyed the tour of our transformed deck! We can’t wait to spend lots of time out here – relaxing, barbecuing and enjoying time with family and friends!!

Sarah Dorsey is an interior designer and DIYer who lives outside Washington D.C. with her husband David and their beagle/terrier Annabelle. She blogs about design-build projects and restoring thrift store finds at Sarah M. Dorsey Designs. In their spare time, she and her husband are transforming their passive solar, post and beam home into their dream house, one DIY project at a time.

See Sarah’s remarkable black and white Christmas decor project here on The Home Depot Blog.

Want to upgrade your patio without all the DIY elbow grease? The Home Depot can help turn your deck into a gorgeous sunroom or add amazing pergolas and patio covers. For more deck makeover ideas, see other Patio Style Challenge articles as well as our Patio Style Challenge pinboard on Pinterest. Browse our Outdoor Living Department for everything you need to enhance your outdoor space, including all our patio furniture.