6 Tips for Making Your Deck More Functional

Have you ever made a big purchase only to be disappointed with the final product? Unfortunately, this often happens when people buy things like cars, high-end electronics, and even luxury vacations.

Many consumers think they want something with a ton of equipment and features, but when they actually use it, they’re overwhelmed with the options. For example, a refrigerator that can read you the news sounds great, but in reality, you just want a quality item that works well.

The same goes for home upgrades, like decks. These renovation projects are huge investments, and you need to be sure of the features you want so you don’t waste money on things you don’t truly need.

It’s easy to put form over function, but when it comes to a new outdoor living space, you need to consider both before making big design decisions.

More people than ever are investing in decks, patios, and other outdoor spaces to enhance their homes. One out of three homeowners plan to update their outdoor space in the next year. If you’re one of them, follow these six tips to create a beautiful area with great style and function.

1. Consider a covering

Are you concerned about too much sunlight or precipitation? For most people, it depends. What makes a deck functional for one homeowner won’t work for another. Outdoor living spaces should be as unique as the people using them. And truth be told, not everyone wants their decks covered.

Those who do are either looking for a break from the hot sun or want to be able to use their outdoor space in rain or shine. The deck builders in Coatesville, PA can help you identify the best way to cover your deck to maximize use and enjoyment.

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And if you aren’t interested in a permanent covering, there are other options. For example, roll-up sun shades, pergolas, or even moveable umbrellas are worthwhile investments if you want to enjoy the sun but occasionally sit in the shade, too.

If you choose not to put a roof over your deck, consider getting covers for your outdoor furniture and other decor to protect them from the elements when not in use.

2. Build vertically

Multi-level decks are an excellent option for those who want to be covered and uncovered elements in their outdoor living space. Homes with walk-out basements often feature exposed upper decks with covered porches or patios below. These configurations enable homeowners to enjoy the best of both worlds.

Don’t have a walkout basement? Not a problem. You can also create sunken deck areas to separate covered and uncovered areas and define zones for hanging out and dining.

3. Maximize airflow

Summer days can get hot, and one of the ways you can keep cool while still enjoying your deck is by increasing the airflow. Outdoor ceiling fans are a great solution; just make sure yours rotates counter-clockwise to move the most air on a hot day.

There are many ceiling fans to choose from, and they’re usually an inexpensive addition to your deck. When selecting a model, look for fans designed for outdoor use. You can also get a fan with a remote, making it easier to use.

4. Add a railing

Railings are one of those design elements that add both form and function to your deck. Incorporating a railing is a wonderful way to include your personal style while making your deck safer for guests and pets.

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There are many types of railings available. You could go with a traditional craftsman style in white or black or maybe a decorative wrought iron if you want a more traditional look. Modern aluminum and steel cable railings and glass half-walls are also growing in popularity.

No matter what type of railing you prefer, think about what you need this feature to do. Yes, railings are decorative, but they also serve an essential purpose. For instance, do you want something to make your outdoor space more private? Or you may need a gate to enclose the deck for children and pets fully.

Or maybe you don’t like railings at all but need something to make your space safe? Instead, you could surround your deck with built-in planter boxes. Raised planters provide a much-needed barrier while allowing you to add more green to your area. A win-win!

5. Illuminate with lighting

Lighting is an all-important yet frequently forgotten design element in a deck. Lighting not only adds to the aesthetic feel of the space, but it adds functionality and safety, especially at night. Who wants to build a beautiful outdoor space and only be able to enjoy it during daylight?

The options with outdoor lighting are seemingly endless, but here are a few things you should consider to add form and function to your deck:

  • Pendants and sconces
  • Recessed lighting
  • Uplighting
  • Post lamps
  • Stair lights

And these are just the tip of the iceberg. With today’s smart technology, you can completely modernize your lighting with color-changing LEDs, dimming, scheduled on-and-off times, and more, all managed from a smartphone app.

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With so many ways to customize your deck lighting, it should be no surprise that this is one of the most sought-after outdoor features homebuyers want today. Eighty-seven percent of buyers are looking for exterior lighting on their next home.

6. Keep pests and insects out

There’s nothing worse than coming outside to enjoy our outdoor space only to get eaten alive by mosquitoes and other insects. Keeping bugs and other pests away from your outdoor living area is a constant battle, but there is something you can do.

Screening in your deck enables you to enjoy the fresh air without the hassle of insects invading your space. And not only do screens provide an excellent barrier against bugs, but they also prevent leaves and debris from blowing onto your deck.

With the proper planning, you can build a functional deck to meet all of your needs and more. So take your time, do your research, and enjoy the process as you create your home’s outdoor haven.

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