20 Small Deck Ideas That Are Stylish and Compact

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Relaxing in your own private deck area is a lovely way to unwind on a warm afternoon, but it can be hard to nail down your outdoor space if square footage is limited. Fortunately, there are ways to turn even the smallest backyard deck or sitting area into a personal oasis.

Ready to get started? Here is a breakdown of the costs. Plus, we've got 20 inspired small deck design ideas that suit every kind of homeowner.

Average Cost of Small Decks

If you're starting from scratch on a small-scale deck that's under 200 square feet, you can expect to pay $3,000 for a ​very​ simple and low-maintenance design. The average cost, though, tends to be around $7,000. Because prices have surged recently, it'll be about $30 to $60 per square foot depending on where you live and what kinds of material you pick according to HomeAdvisor.

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If there's already an existing small deck to work with, you may have to do some repairs including sanding and resealing the surface. But with a little elbow grease, you can tackle that part of the remodel yourself. Otherwise, it starts at around $800 to get professional work done. You'll also want to include the cost of any DIY decorating ideas, plants, patio furniture, and lighting. Budget around $500 for the fun stuff. Pro tip: Try flea markets and vintage shops for budget-friendly items with character.

20 Small Deck Ideas

If you're stuck with a small outdoor space, that doesn't mean you can't go big on style. Make it your own with plants, furniture, lighting, and more for a spot that just makes you and your guests feel good. From a place to dine al fresco to a nook to curl up with a favorite book, here are some inspired small deck spaces to spark your creativity.

1. Consider painting to really make an impact.

Sure, you can leave your wood deck material in its natural state, but opting to paint the floor can really make an impression, especially in a small space like this one from House & Home. Light colors can open up the space, while darker ones will create an atmosphere that feels more private and cozy.

2. Create a U-shaped deck.

If you're working within a small square or rectangular space, consider a U-shaped construction that concentrates on a central focal point, like a fire pit. Here, One Kindesign created a sunken deck complete with a cozy fire and ample seating.

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3. Get creative with mirrors to make your deck feel larger.

When properly placed, mirrors help create the illusion of a larger space. And you can use them outside, too. Don't believe us? Check out this deck from Cox & Cox. This window-like mirror makes the tiny outdoor corner feel larger.

4. Mix materials to create different sections.

Just because you have a small backyard doesn't mean that it has to serve only one purpose. Follow Falling Water Landscape's lead, and try adding your decking material of choice to half of the space as a designated lounging area. Then play with concrete, a small pool, and grass to create other spots — each zone might be small, but they can all be distinct and well-planned.

5. Find ways to maximize seating.

If your deck spills into the backyard and is graced by a sturdy tree, consider yourself in luck: Think about a design that centers around or near the tree and use the branches for hanging pod chairs. The result saves space and is oh-so-inviting. (Just make sure you know how to properly install a hanging chair.)

6. Plant a variety of foliage and potted topiaries as a border.

Even if you can't have a full yard of landscaping, you can turn your deck into a lush zone. This small London garden from Modern Country Style alternates topiary balls with olive trees and bunches of white flowers to create a soft border that complements the minimalist bench seating.

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7. Add a vertical garden to your deck space.

Whether you want to add texture to your deck or are in search of a novel way to create separate zones, look to the vertical garden as a way to bring in greenery and definition like Casa Trés Chic did here. You can also use vertical gardens to harvest a variety of vegetables. See our DIY version here.

8. Embrace the beauty of form and function.

Image Credit: Hunker in Partnership With Acme Real Estate

Instead of simply having a flat backyard, make room for a mini deck like this one. There aren't many unnecessary frills, but the elevated wooden spot is functional and easy on the eyes.

9. Make your space feel like an outdoor living room.

Bring the indoors outside, and create an outdoor living room vibe on your deck. Add a cozy couch, a chair, a rug, plants, and tables to rest your snacks on while you take in some well-earned fresh air after a long day. Just make sure to invest in weatherproof furniture materials.

10. Mix and match styles.

Deck furniture can be pricey, but don't get caught up with having a perfectly matched set. Mix a small bistro set with a wicker bench that you thrifted. Then create an ambiance with some potted plants and outdoor lighting.

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11. Make a spot to linger and lounge.

Image Credit: Paul Anderson for Hunker

If you buy one piece of furniture for your small deck, make it comfortable. Invest in something like a weather-resistant lounger that will allow you to sprawl out and catch some rays. There's no better way to enjoy your outdoor oasis than with a comfy chair.

12. Add some reclaimed wood.

This pretty deck space from Jessica Steiner has tons of rustic appeal thanks to an eclectic variety of wood accents. We especially love the vintage cane lounger and side table, but just check out that reclaimed wood wall. It's a little whimsical and oh-so idyllic.

13 Add a tall deck railing or fence for peace and privacy.

Embrace your small deck space, and add fencing to keep prying eyes out. We love the simplicity of this wood design. And a couple of benches and chairs turn the tiny alcove into a super cool secret nook.

14. Create curve appeal.

Lose the right angles and straight edges when designing your deck, and add some curves, instead. This stunning design from Arch Corner is backyard goals. Plus, it takes advantage of all the small nooks and crannies to create a dreamy oasis.

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15. Build custom banquette seating.

Sometimes, when deck or patio space is scarce, it's a challenge to fit in enough seating. If you find yourself in this situation, add built-in benches that will create comfy spots to chill out without taking up a ton of valuable deck real estate.

16. Just add water.

Need a place to cool off and float your cares away? Stock tank pools, like this one we spotted on SF Girl by the Bay, come in smaller sizes and can fit a snug deck perfectly. You can take a plunge and relax in the privacy of your home whenever you like.

17. Dedicate your deck to al fresco dining.

What's better than a beautiful Sunday brunch outside or a delicious al fresco dinner under the stars? Nothing. That's why we recommend dedicating your deck to dining with a long table and comfy outdoor chairs. You can even use the seating area for a perfect WFH spot.

18. Get fake grass.

Want a budget-friendly interior design idea that both pets and kiddos will love? Turn your deck into a makeshift park with astroturf. It'll bring in some colorful texture and cool things down during those hot summer months. Plus, it's perfect for running around on and feels so much better than concrete.

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19. Embrace your inner maximalist to create a decadent outdoor living space.

Sometimes more is more when it comes to a small yard. So don't hold back on decor. Maximalist pops of color, a multitude of lush throw pillows, and a functional coffee table will help you create a tropical landing pad that everyone loves to hang.

20. Layer in textiles to warm up the outdoor dining area.

We love a wood deck, but sometimes you need to add a little warmth to tie it all together. This space from Chris Loves Julia layers both a jute and patterned outdoor rug under a picnic table to create a cozy place to enjoy lunch. The chic table runner takes the entire zone up a notch, too.

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As an Emmy Award winning creative director, writer and producer I have worked on content for brands like Disney, BravoTV, TBS, Universal, E! and MTV. But I mostly love rearranging furniture and repotting plants at home.

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