When the weather is warm, your deck serves as an additional area for gathering, dining and relaxing -- but it also serves up additional expense. It's another space that has to be furnished and decorated. An outdoor dining set and high-end accessories can be costly, but inexpensive alternatives are available. Yard sales and discount stores are affordable sources of deck furniture decor. You can save even more money by trying your hand at some DIY projects.
When decorating a deck on a budget, let go of your vision of a matching dining set and take a more creative approach. Begin with a secondhand outdoor dining table made from weatherproofed metal or wood. Surround it with stools and folding patio chairs that can be stored when not in use. If your deck is on the small side, forgo a big table and create a bistro feel with a few small tables. Visit yard sales and raid your basement for benches, kitchen chairs, end tables and other pieces that can be repurposed as deck furniture. To give the pieces a unified look, paint them in coordinating colors with weather-resistant paint.
Fabric accessories define your deck's style, whether it's tropical, country or global. As alternatives to expensive textiles, use items you already have. A vintage quilt makes a country-fresh tablecloth; a beach towel used as a table runner transports your deck to the seashore. Wrap batik scarves around the backs of folding chairs to give them an exotic look. When you're creating a space for lounging, pillows and cushions are a must. Look for inexpensive outdoor pillows at home-goods stores, or sew your own. Line pillows up on a bench to make it colorful and inviting. Stack a pile of cushions in a protected corner for additional casual seating.
Decorate your deck with budget-friendly lighting that lets you entertain after the sun goes down. Candles give a deck a warm glow. Display pillar candles, votives and tea lights in glass containers to prevent risk of fire. To give your deck a festive feel, hang inexpensive paper lanterns or twinkle lights from deck posts and railings. If you have some craft skills, make lanterns from tin cans. Use a nail punch to create designs on the cans and add wire handles. Illuminate the lanterns with tea lights. To create a funky lighting fixture, spray paint a table lamp a bold color and use it in a covered area of the deck.
Potted plants bring your deck to life. With a little care, flowers, shrubs and small trees will thrive in the sun and supply your deck with color, texture and privacy. Create a tropical oasis in an empty corner of the deck with hibiscus and bromeliads. To create a living privacy screen, arrange a row of potted holly or boxwood plants along the deck railing. Pots of herbs and vegetables, such as tomatoes and peppers, beautify the deck and give you a fresh supply of produce. Display your plants in pretty containers. Plastic containers imitate ceramic and terracotta pots for a fraction of the cost. Use crocks, barrels and vintage cans that you already have to save more money.