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Every deck, no matter how beautiful, needs some kind of furnishings to look complete. Furnishings give outdoor living space its style and make it feel homey and inviting. They have a remarkable influence on how you feel about the space, as well as how often you use it.

”I had a new natual stone porch and walkway installed this summer and needed a railing for my porch. When I called Art Metal to get an estimate, Yevgeniy was out in a timely manner to provide an estimate. Although I was not home at the time, he left the estimate with my son and recommended to install a galvanized railing to protect the natural stone. I called and placed the order over the phone and as promised, within 6 weeks the railing was ready to be installed. Unfortunately, I would not be home at the time of installation as I would be out of town. Although we had never met face-to-face, Yevgeniy proceeded with the installation and told me to let him know if I was happy when I returned. Upon my return, I noticed the railing and the difference it made to my porch. It is simple and yet elegant and I LOVE IT! I couldn’t have been happier. I have dealt with many contractors and dealing with Art Metal has definitely been the best experience ever. They are real professionals; honest, trust-worthy and artists at what they do. I know I made the right choice in choosing Art Metal for the job. Thank you Yevgeniy and Oleg for making this a great experience“

Furnishings and lifestyle

Furnishings should reflect the purposes of the deck. For example, chairs for a deck that adjoins an intimate dining area will likely be different from furnishings on which children play. Take time to think about the relationships between seating and lighting, cooking facilities, and accessories.

Upkeep and Portability

Outdoor furniture represents an investment, so choose durable materials that can be used year-round. If you can answer “yes” to the following questions, it will help you narrow your choices.

  • Is it weatherproof?
  • Are the pieces sturdy, but light enough to be moved around easily?
  • Are cushions removable?
  • Can the furniture you’re considering be stored outdoors over the winter?

Just Right…

Outdoor furnishings should be proportionate to their space. If your outdoor room is small, use round tables—they take up less space than square or rectangular ones. In larger spaces, set up conversation areas with groupings of tables and chairs or lounges and side tables. Include a serving cart and leave plenty of room to walk around the furniture.

Stairs

Stairs offer another opportunity for casual seating. In crowded settings where seating is limited, people will eventually sit on stairs. But your guests will feel more comfortable if they don’t block the up-and-down traffic flow. Plan ahead and build wide steps. For steps to be comfortable for sitting, the tread (the part you step on) should be at least 18 inches deep, and riser height (the vertical part of the step) should be no more than 4V2 inches. Finally, be sure to install a sturdy handrail.

MOVABLE SEATING

Movable seating comes in many forms— from hammock chairs and lounges to dining sets with cushioned chairs. Freestanding units also increase the flexibility of your deck. You can shift them around or out of the way to change the nature of the space. You probably need little encouragement to set out enough lounge chairs for everyday seating. But go beyond that and consider what the space will need when you entertain. Keep a stack of folding canvas chairs handy for impromptu parties.

Built-In Seating

Built-in seating may not be portable, but it has several advantages over freestanding furniture:

  • It takes up less floor space than freestanding chairs.
  • It can also serve as storage. Attached benches might be the first form of built-in seating that comes to mind, but good deck designs will include additional choices. Raised planters and retaining walls can fill in as benches when built wide enough.

So can freestanding walls, constructed to define the perimeter or areas of use. Choose flat stones for the final course of a wall that will double as seating. Top the wall with pillows or finished bench slats for extra comfort. If the wall borders a raised planter, install low-growing, soft-textured ground covers, perennials, or shrubs next to the sitting area. Put taller, stiffer plants farther back in the bed so they don’t discourage people from sitting on the wall.

Decorating with Personal touches

Spending time on your deck will be more enjoyable if you’re surrounded by a few of your favorite things. But, as with any good design, decorating a deck can profit from planning.

Survey the scene

Relax in a comfortable chair and survey your space. Let yourself go, and without consciously trying to plan the space, notice where your gaze rests. Those are the places that need details.

  • Choose one good-size item per seating area for emphasis. For example, a smooth, round granite or concrete ball or a colorful bowling ball perched beside a bench adds a focal point by creating an unusual juxtaposition.
  • If floor space is limited, mount your largest object on the wall.

Collections

Grouping related objects, such as birdhouses, folk art, or finials, invites comparison and draws attention. All those small pieces take on greater importance when displayed together.

A collection creates one focal point out of several objects, so choose its setting carefully.

  • Walls, ledges, windowsills, empty corners, —even flower beds—are good places for displaying collections.
  • Avoid placing one collection close to another collection or other accents that compete for attention.
  • Neutral backgrounds, such as walls, fences, and green plants, show off collections to their best advantage.

Individual Pieces

When setting out decorations, it helps to establish a theme—for example, using star-shaped objects, rabbits, or things that are blue—so the space maintains a unified look. Avoid clutter. Allow enough room between items so each one gets its chance to be showcased. Displaying accessories at various heights also helps avoid clutter.

Spending time on your deck will be more enjoyable if you’re surrounded by a few of your favorite things. But, as with any good design, decorating a deck can profit from planning.

Survey the scene

Relax in a comfortable chair and survey your space. Let yourself go, and without consciously trying to plan the space, notice where your gaze rests. Those are the places that need details.

  • Choose one good-size item per seating area for emphasis. For example, a smooth, round granite or concrete ball or a colorful bowling ball perched beside a bench adds a focal point by creating an unusual juxtaposition.
  • If floor space is limited, mount your largest object on the wall.

Add personality

There is no right or wrong way to display personal details in your outdoor living space—only suggestions. Try these ideas:

  • Mount driftwood on a wall and slip orchid plants into its crevices during warm months.
  • Tuck seashells on top of rafters where they’re visible only if you’re looking up from your hammock or chaise lounge. Sometimes the discovery is half the fun.
  • Prop a shell-shaped fossil or other salvaged artifact against a pot of flowers at floor level.
  • Nail or glue old bottle caps across the foot of the screen door.
  • Paint a prominent fence post a different color from the rest. Fill in a face, if you like, and attach arms, wings, or a hat to create your own garden sculpture.
  • Spike a weather vane in a pot of flowers to draw attention to the seasonal color.
  • Open air serves as a gallery itself. Hang mobiles or wind chimes to catch the breeze.
  • Suspend unexpected objects such as old silverware or prisms.

Above all, look for ways to make your outdoor room more comfortable. Soften furniture with plump cushions. Keep a small stack of books handy. Add an ottoman. Then put your feet up and enjoy!

Beauty is in the eye of the collector. Whatever catches your fancy and can withstand the elements has potential as a decoration for your outdoor room. Set out objects, such as old window shutters, where you need something special to fill a dull spot. Consider these items or have fun thinking up other possibilities:

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