Patio Decorating Ideas: Turning a Deck into an Outdoor Living Room

Stephanie Fisher

Article Posted By: Stephanie Fisher

Patio Decorating Ideas: Turning a Deck into an Outdoor Living Room

When you want to turn your deck into a veritable outdoor living room, think about the virtual walls and ceiling. That’s the secret behind Stephanie Fisher’s absolutely gorgeous deck makeover. 

Stephanie blogs about decorating and DIY on Glitter and Goat Cheese. She took part in our Patio Style Challenge, where we send Home Depot patio sets to some of the best decor bloggers on the Internet. They then share their deck and patio decorating ideas as they create attractive and comfortable outdoor spaces.

Stephanie told us she was going to build a pergola over her back deck. But we are blown away by how she used that structure to completely transform her deck into an enchanting place for entertaining or just relaxing on warm summer evenings. Read on to see how she created this extraordinary outdoor space.  

When my husband and I started house hunting a couple years ago, one of our strict requirements was a fenced yard with a deck. We love being outside with our dog, Macy–whether we’re chasing her around in circles, savoring a cup of coffee, or (my husband’s favorite) obsessing over the lawn. My dream was a comfortable, inviting deck that would become an extension of our home.

Well, we found a house that matched our requirements, but our deck has been sadly neglected since we moved in. Thank goodness for The Home Depot–this year, we finally have the outdoor living room of our dreams!

Before this Patio Style Challenge, our outdoor area was in a sad state. The deck itself was in decent shape, but there was no structure to the space. One end held our grill, an old metal dining table sat in the middle, and the other end housed two cheap patio loungers. One of our first goals was to define a living area with an attached pergola.

Building the Pergola

My husband has limited outdoor construction experience, but we’re Can Do people, so we just went for it! After gathering advice from a couple relatives and a lot of Googling, we got to work removing the siding, mounting a ledger board, putting up posts, and attaching beams with joist hangers and a whole lot of screws and bolts.

Patio Decorating Ideas: Building the pergola over the deck

One of our talented friends helped with the ledger board (which was definitely the trickiest part), but my husband built the rest of the pergola with just me as an assistant.

I’m so proud of him! In my opinion, the finished product is a work of art.

Patio Decorating Ideas: The finished pergola over the deck

Never one to rush through the details, my husband added notches and decorative touches to the beams and braces with a jig saw. To keep the project affordable, we used pressure-treated wood. Once it’s cured, we’d love to stain it, along with the deck!

In the meantime, though, the pergola was the first step in an amazing transformation.

Decorating the Deck

Patio Decorating Ideas: The deck before its makeover

Patio Decorating Ideas: The deck after its makeover

Of course, the key to any living room, outdoors or in, is a cozy set of furniture. We absolutely love the Hampton Bay Raynham 4-Piece Patio Seating Set. It comes with two chairs, a love seat, a coffee table, and four coordinating throw pillows.

Patio Decorating Ideas: Deck with pergola, lights, colorful patio furniture and outdoor rug

The throw pillows are great quality and a fantastic pattern, but the indigo shade didn’t jibe with my color scheme, so I sewed covers for the two square ones. I’m saving the two lumbar pillows for our front porch; the color will match our midnight blue front door perfectly!

I also sewed bright covers for a few more throw pillows. The set’s neutral cushions are a perfect canvas.

Patio Decorating Ideas: Bright covers for outdoor throw pillows

Patio Decorating Ideas: Patterned outdoor rug and potted plants

We love the clean, modern lines of the furniture. And as a bonus, it’s really comfortable!

Patio Decorating Ideas: Patio furniture with modern, clean lines

We love putting our feet up, so we bought the matching ottomans, too. They’re also great for extra seating, or to hold a tray of drinks when the coffee table is full of snacks.

Patio Decorating Ideas: DIY serving tray and DIY side table

I created the serving tray and coasters you see in the image above. You can make that tray yourself. Take a look at my DIY tutorial for the fuchsia and gold tray and spray painted coasters here on The Home Depot Blog.

Because you can never have enough snack space, I also made a little side table out of a bronze planter with a pizza pan on top.

Adding Greenery

Another aspect of my dream deck was an abundance of plants. I wanted our outdoor retreat to feel like it was set in a private garden.

I may have gone a little overboard with the greenery, though.

Patio Decorating Ideas: Lots of potted plants

On our many, many trips to The Home Depot, I just couldn’t stop picking out new plants to stack on every available surface. I was out of control.

Some of my favorite containers are the CobraCo hanging baskets, which we stuffed with alyssum, petunias and creeping jenny, and the blue glazed planters (here and here), which hold portulacaria afra, an assortment of hardy succulents, and a snake plant.

But those just weren’t enough, so I used an old thrifted picture frame to gather small hanging pots of ivy and ferns. I’ve got a full tutorial for it over on my blog!

Patio Decorating Ideas: DIY thrifted frame with hanging plants

Overall, we ended up with more than 20 plants on our deck. Oops.

My husband thinks I’m insane, but he has to admit that our outdoor living room is the perfect place to relax, read a book, take a nap, or chow down on some chips and guac. Macy loves it, too!

Patio Decorating Ideas: Colorful outdoor living room

The finishing touches are the spray-painted chandelier and the globe lights we strung along the pergola and deck railing. They’ve been keeping our deck gatherings going until late at night, and we love the magical feeling of sitting under an illuminated canopy.

Patio Decorating Ideas: Outdoor living room lit up at night

We waffled about whether to hang the lights–the pergola was so beautiful on its own–but I’m so glad we did! Best decision ever.

So far, as the weather’s been slowly getting warmer, we’ve spent time on our deck every single day. We can’t thank The Home Depot enough for inviting us to take part in the Patio Style Challenge.

Stephanie Fisher is the creative mind behind Glitter and Goat Cheese, where she says she loves “eating things, and looking at things, and wearing things, and sitting on things.” Her blog is where she shares her tricks and tips for decorating, DIY, cooking and general inspiration. 

To decorate her deck, Stephanie used the Hampton Bay Raynham 4-Piece Patio Seating Set from The Home Depot.

For more patio decorating ideas and inspiration, see other Patio Style Challenges as well as our Patio Style Challenge pinboard on PinterestAnd browse our online Outdoor Living Department for everything you need for your patio, yard or garden.