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How to decorate your patio, porch or deck

Whitney Coy is a freelance writer and editor based in Columbus, OH, where she lives with her husband and two daughters. She writes frequently for SheKnows, as well as several other websites. She writes on topics including parenting, trav...

Bring the fun outside

No one wants to stay indoors when the weather turns warm. With the right decoration, your porch, deck or patio give you a way to take to the fun outside. Just a few light touches will breathe new life into your outdoor area, just in time for summer.

Decorated patio

1Find your functions

Before you start decorating, it's important to think about what the space will be used for. Are you looking for a place to enjoy an alfresco dinner, or to host summer barbeques? Maybe you just want a quiet place to sit and read. Figure out how you think you'll use the space, and don't limit yourself to just one function. Your options are endless when it comes to the outdoors.

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2Plan your layout

If your space is big enough, try to separate areas into zones. Create an area for dining, cooking and lounging. Try to arrange areas so that no one has their back to anyone else when sitting in chairs to help keep conversation moving. Define the areas with indoor/outdoor rugs. Make sure you don't put the dining or lounging areas downwind from the grill – no one will appreciate breathing in the smoky air while waiting on dinner!

3Have a seat

If you're using old patio furniture, give a good going over. Does it need a new coat of paint? Do the cushions need to be replaced? You'll be surprised how long these cheap fixes can extend the life of your patio furniture. A couple new cushions will have your old patio furniture looking brand new again.

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4Get some shade

Everyone likes a little sun now and then, but sometimes enough is enough. If your porch, deck or patio isn't covered, make sure you add a way to get some shade when you want it. Add a retractable awning or get a table with an umbrella. You'll be grateful for the escape from the sun during the hottest hours of the day.

5Add some greenery

You don't have to limit your landscaping to your yard – bring some of it onto your porch. Add a few potted plants or attach flower boxes to railings. The color will brighten up the area and help it blend with the rest of your yard. Just remember that container plants usually need to be watered more often than plants in the yard.

Decorating with live plants >>

6Light it up

If you'll use your outdoor space often at night, think of fun ways to light it up. Hang lanterns or strings of lights to give the area a romantic glow, or install tiki torches around the perimeter for a definite summer feel. For after-dark dinner parties, place votive candles in mason jars.

7Bring out extras for guests

Not all of your porch decorations will wear well if left in the elements. Fill a box or plastic tote with accessories you can add at the last minute before company shows up. These items may include placemats, citronella candles and pillows.

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Want to give your outdoor space a little more punch?

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More tips for your outdoor space

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