A tired old deck in the backyard can make the entire outdoor space less than appealing. Whether you have inherited an old deck when you purchased your home or have just let deck maintenance go by the wayside, you can restore an old tired deck back to its former glory and then add inspired decorative touches to make it a favorite destination for family and friends.

Safety is Priority #1
Your first priority is to thoroughly inspect the deck, examining the planking, structural supports and posts. Check for signs of weakness, rotting or splitting wood and general damage. If there is damage to wood planks, you can generally replace them yourself, but be sure to examine underneath the planks for any structural deficiencies. In that case, you will need a professional opinion regarding needed repairs.

If the deck is simply dirty or mildewed, a power washer can be used to spiff it up in no time. Use a setting strong enough to wash pry up old dirt without gouging the wood. After washing, your deck needs to dry overnight and then you can apply a minimum of two coats of sealant formulated for wood decking. Follow directions on the can sanding and sweeping away debris between coats.

Once your deck is safe and sound, clean and sealed, you can pile on the fun with lots of color and decor:

Color, Color and More Color
An outdoor deck is the ideal place to engage in a love affair with color. Since strong summer sunlight naturally makes colors seem less intense outdoors, you can go over the top with your furniture choices. Bright cushions and pillows on furniture, hanging baskets full of colorful annuals, colored pottery and garden urns, wind chimes, lanterns, stringed lights and outdoor lamps, garden statuary, fountains and birdbaths are all opportunities to develop a color palette. Bright fruit and vegetable inspired hues or a more muted approach based on nature’s browns and greens let you express your style.

Themes to Explore
An outdoor deck or entertaining space is ideal for expressing decorative themes that can inspire a fun-filled get-together with friends, while also providing a vacation or exotic ambiance for you and family to enjoy every day.

Wherever you would rather be can be the inspiration for your deck theme. From tropical islands to mysterious Marrakech, a riotous English cottage landscape or the tranquil regimentation of a Japanese tea garden, gather your inspiration from gardening books and magazines and then translate these ideas to your space. Fountains, flower beds and potted plants, paper lanterns or clipped boxwood can turn your backyard into a personal getaway that is just outside your door.

Create an outdoor room much in the same way that you would design an indoor room. A trellis, awning or pergola can be your roof above; add walls with climbing plants on an arbor or masses of perennials grasses that enchant every time a breeze blows through. Arrange furniture on your deck to support the way you use the space: A seating area, grilling area and service bar may be perfect for families who love to entertain, while 2 chaise lounges or a small cafe table may be just what a young couple needs to unwind at the end of the day.

Read more design ideas in these articles abour using color and wall art to create the perfect focal point for any room.

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