Create a deck if you want to extend your living area to the outdoors. The result is an outdoor ‘living room’ that you can make as a chill-out spot or a great entertaining area complete with shade, comfy sofas, dining table, hanging lights and barbecue pit.Before you start creating your deck, there are several things to consider, such as what deck material to use, the design, size and location of your outdoor room, the purpose (whether for entertaining, cooking or simply unwinding), the outdoor furniture and fittings to serve your purpose and of course, your budget.With a big budget, you can splash out and create the outdoor space of your dream. You may even connect your deck to other parts of your house right to the backyard. Have a set of steps that run all the way to the extended areas. Use the same materials for both the deck and the steps to make it all look seamless. Steps can also serve as extra seating area when you have a big group of guests to entertain at home. If your budget is slightly on the tighter side, it doesn’t mean that you can’t have a great extension of your house. All it needs is for you to stretch your creativity. But keep your layout clean and uncluttered. Have quality finishes and just choose a few simple colours. Remember the golden rule: less is more.


Charming circular deck with steps built as a space for dining outdoors.

DECKING MATERIAL

Hardwoods, such as merbau and meranti, are not only highly durable but they also look great and make a perfect complement to a natural outdoor setting. Every timber has a different look but those with brown tone or warm red-brownish shade come across as outstanding. Give your preferred wood the right care and maintenance and their good looks will last for a long time. It’s worth considering having protection from weather elements, including sunlight and wind. Install awnings and alfresco blinds or build feature walls, which you can soften by placing plants and natural green curtains or beautify with vertical gardens.

OUTDOOR FURNITURE

Before you embark on a buying spree, pause for a moment to think about the purpose of having your outdoor living room. List down the items that you’ll need, which will serve your purpose — whether it’s a barbecue set, a dining table or a sofa set. If your deck is under a shade, you may go for wooden furniture; but if the deck is exposed to the weather, choose furniture made from granite, glass or a range of other weather-resistant materials.You’ll also need storage space outside to store utensils for outdoor cooking and cleaning, charcoal for the barbecue and other items you may want at hand whenever you’re out on your deck.


Charming circular deck with steps built as a space for dining outdoors.

Clutter will spoil the look of your outdoor space so keep it neat. If you don’t have a large space to include a storage cabinet, get a storage bench that can double up as a seat. Other great space-savers are foldable outdoor furniture, hammocks or hammock chairs and settings that can be packed when not in use.

DECK DECORATION

Nothing is more soothing and pleasant than being surrounded by plants. They add life and colour, and make your outdoor space more liveable and cool. Have potted plants on the deck or hang them on stands or feature walls. Place planter boxes too. If you place these along one side of your deck, they can serve as a privacy screen. Add a vertical garden to enhance the walls. You can also fix wire cables or frames on walls or poles to let creeping plants grow, creating a lovely living trellis over time.Your deck can also be turned into an area to display your collection of artwork such as paintings. Have them secured onto walls with feature lighting to highlight them.

DECK LIGHTING

Make your deck as welcoming at night as during the day. Deck lighting is a must. To add a little lighting charm, add small LED lights to the side of your deck or along steps. Lanterns and hanging lights are charming too.


Create a deck that’s an extension of the living room.

These are some feature lightings that can enhance your deck decor.But you’ll also need lighting to perform tasks such as barbecuing, or lights to highlight displays like artwork, water features and even plants and trees. You also need task lighting for the dining table or over the barbecue area.

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