20 Small-Deck Ideas to Maximize Your Outdoor Living Space

As warm weather arrives, it’s time to roll up your sleeves for an outdoor refresh, and we’ve got your back. These 20 small-deck ideas will give you all the inspiration you need to revamp your outdoor space into a small yet mighty oasis. Looking for an overhaul? Consider adding a trellis or buying functional deck furniture perfect for seasonal entertaining. Or opt for an easy small-deck update, like adding new cushions to an existing sofa or conversation set (like this petite Better Homes & Gardens Willow Sage 3-Piece Bistro Set, $247, Walmart), or hanging a well-placed mirror above your potting bench for added style. And for those on a budget, we’ve got suggestions for how to rearrange what you already have to suit all your deck needs this summer.

Choose a Deck Color Scheme

Dustin Peck

To make a small deck feel cohesive and tidy, pick one accent color and stick to it. This deck makes use of yellow throughout the space, and its consistency prevents the small space from looking cluttered. Start small with some new outdoor pillows, then extend to planters or tabletop accessories.

Plan for Entertainment

Tria Giovan

If you like to host outdoor gatherings, devote your small deck to a dining table and chairs. Consider choosing furniture that can easily transition from one setting into another. A dining table, for example, can moonlight as a buffet during outdoor get-togethers. Lightweight chairs with narrow legs take up minimal space around the table and can easily be shifted to different spots of the deck when needed.

Expand a Small Deck with a Mirror


Mirrors are the universal answer to making a space feel bigger, and they’re not just limited to your home’s interior. Hang a mirror on the exterior of your home and watch a dark corner or alcove visually expand. Your tiny deck will feel bigger and lighter. Just remember to keep it out of direct sunlight.

Hang Outdoor Curtains

Tria Giovan

Just because your deck is small doesn’t mean you don’t deserve some privacy. Add sheer or light-filtering outdoor curtains to your deck to keep it feeling open and airy while providing a bit of solitude. This easy small-deck idea can also help your space feel cozier while allowing for your to express your personality through your favorite color or pattern.

Use Multi-Use Furniture

Jason Donnelly

Decorate a small deck with outdoor furniture that pulls double duty. This wood console, for example, provides a handy serving spot for snacks and refreshments. Two stools tuck neatly underneath, ready to offer seating when the piece transitions into an outdoor dining table.

Create a Conversation Pit

David Tsay

Arrange your deck furniture into a layout that encourages conversation. Place chairs (such as these Better Homes & Gardens Lilah 2-Pack Outdoor Wicker Lounge Chairs, $379, Walmart) across from each other and make sure there are plenty of low surfaces for drinks and snacks. Add colorful throw pillows and a table in the middle for the ideal hosting setup.

Make Use of Sheer Furniture

Jason Donnelly

A glass table and some wicker chairs make this small deck feel light and airy. Even if they physically take up the same space as darker furniture, visually they make the space so much bigger thanks to an open weave and glass surface. For a similar look, utilize a glass table, white accents, clear vases, and wicker or mesh furniture.

Add an Outdoor Bar

Jason Donnelly

To assist with warm-weather entertaining, create an outdoor bar. Guests will love the ability to grab snacks and drinks without walking into your home. This bar has a built-in ice bin to keep drinks cold and plenty of space for food and glasses. Decorate with plants and hang an art piece above for a finished look.

Create Casual Deck Seating

Erin Kunkel

For a more bohemian, laid-back look, throw some comfortable cushions down on a small deck design. Not only will their low profile make your space feel bigger, but it’s also a great way to add last-minute seating for friends. They can easily be tucked away when not in use or left scattered around a coffee table for a comfy, maximalist look.

Utilize Every Surface—Even The Ceiling

Matthew Benson

If you’re lucky to have a covered deck, put it to use by hanging seating or light fixtures. Less clutter on the deck floor will make the space feel roomier. Hang a porch swing to add extra seating, then pile on the pillows and add a coffee table for a casual hangout spot.

Consider Small-Deck Seating Arrangements

Kimberly Gavin

Dedicate your small deck to entertaining friends and family by arranging your favorite outdoor furniture in a casual grouping with a petite coffee table in the middle. Ensure there’s plenty of room to navigate around the sides and enter the conversation area. To lighten the visual weight, look for patio furniture with open woven designs or armless silhouettes.

Add Privacy to a Small Deck

Werner Straube

Give your small deck a sense of privacy to foster a cozy, intimate feeling. Lattice panels like these create boundaries around your outdoor space and block neighboring views. Train climbing vines up the screen for a lush effect.

Incorporate Built-In Seating

David Tsay

Maximize space on a small deck by incorporating seating around the perimeter. Here, a bench built into the deck railing takes up much less room than an outdoor sofa or sectional but offers a similarly sized seating area. This also frees up floor space at the center and creates more standing room.

Use Colorful Small-Deck Decor

Robert Cardillo

Use color to liven up a small deck with big personality. Consider updating outdoor furniture with paint for a colorful statement. This small bistro table and chairs received coats of bright green and turquoise paint to create a cheerful outdoor dining area.

Turn a Small Deck into a Garden Escape

Edward Gohlich

Surround your small deck with verdant vines and planted containers for a lush, jungle-like feel. Here, a dense vine climbs up support posts to form a screen of greenery. Pots of various sizes border the cozy deck seating area for added color.

Designate Zones on a Small Deck

Peter Krumhardt

If you’re on a budget, this one’s for you! With the right arrangement of small deck furniture, you don’t have to choose between dining and conversation areas. Here, a modest dining set abuts a group of low-slung seating and accent furniture. The armless chairs and bench take up a minimal footprint, while a round coffee table provides smooth traffic flow. An area rug distinguishes the conversation zone from the dining area.

Personalize a Small Deck with Paint

Andy Lyons

If you’re decorating on a budget, one can of paint opens up multiple decor doors. Here, a painted design on the floor takes the place of an area rug. Similar shades of gray dress up the trellis-lined deck railing for a cohesive look.

Fill Corners with Plants

Laurie Black

Containers filled with lush plantings are a simple but impactful small deck decorating idea. Position large planters to fill in empty corners or frame your deck seating arrangement. If you don’t have much space for plants on the deck itself, place pots on the deck stairs, ensuring there’s plenty of room to safely pass up and down the steps.

Lay Down an Outdoor Rug

Kritsada Panichgul

Anchor your small deck with a high-style outdoor rug. For the most durable option, select a synthetic material that’s easy to clean and resistant to UV rays. A colorful, well-fitting rug ties small deck decorating ideas together and provides interior-like appeal that can withstand the elements.


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