Here in Massachusetts, we extend backyard season as long as possible, from the first warm day in spring through the first frost of fall—and for serious grill masters, even into the winter. That’s why investing in a deck that’s as functional and stylish as it is sturdy and strong just makes sense. If your outdoor bonus room needs a little love, we’ve got some mid-year deck inspiration that will help you upscale your oasis, no matter your budget.
A Fresh Coat of Paint or Stain
Let’s face it, from blazing heat to snow, ice and everything in between, our New England decks take a beating. There are several ways to keep yours looking its best depending on what it’s made of. Composite decks require the least maintenance, but they can get dirty and dingy. A good power wash will bring it back to beautiful by removing built-up grime and mildew. Pressure-treated decks should be stained or painted every year or two, and other types of wood decks every few years.
Not sure whether to paint or stain? They each have benefits and trade-offs. Stain is the more budget-friendly option as it is typically less expensive per gallon and doesn’t require any primer or sealant. When it comes to paint, exterior options suitable for decking can range a little higher in price than stain. Plus, you will need to use wood preservative and primer prior to painting as well as a sealant to top it all off, adding to the cost.
Stain offers a more natural look, allowing you to see the knots and natural grain pattern of the wood beneath. This does mean you are limited to clear varieties and shades of brown. Paint covers up the patterns and markings in the wood, but also allows for more variety in choosing a color. A painted deck is easier to maintain because it dries to a slick surface, making it easier to sweep off dust and dirt.
Talk to our in-store experts to get the advice you need. We carry the top-name paints and stains—including Benjamin Moore, OldMasters, Rust-Oleum, and Wooster—as well as high-quality brushes, sprayers, and other tools you need to get the job done right. Need color inspiration? Check out our New England Paint Color video featuring Benjamin Moore.
Keep paint and stain in mind if your existing outdoor furniture is also looking a little lackluster. Wicker furniture can be washed and repainted, wood can be sanded and stained or primed and painted, and wrought iron can be sanded and spray painted. Our team can help you choose the right products for any project.
Think about elements you can add to your deck to elevate its appeal and your enjoyment. If you like to cook, a grill or smoker is a common feature on many decks. Upgrade the space to a full outdoor kitchen with counterspace, storage and even lighting for nighttime grilling.
Got a green thumb? Container gardening or a raised bed can add color and scent to your deck. Try a mix of flowers, herbs and veggies for a mini garden that is lovely to look at and functional, too. We are dedicated to supporting local agriculture, so all the plants in our Whitinsville, Uxbridge and Grafton greenhouses are locally grown in New England. If you enjoy birdwatching, add a feeder or birdbath near the deck to attract feathered friends (unless you live in an area where bears are common).
Whether you use your deck for entertaining or as a gathering spot for family, there are a host of other ways to increase its appeal. A fire pit provides light and warmth, as well as a place to roast marshmallows or hot dogs. A water fountain adds the soothing sound of burbling water to encourage relaxation. Add outdoor speakers for your favorite jams, or go all in and add an outdoor movie screen or TV for movie nights or to watch the big game.
Comfort is Key
When it comes to creating a relaxing outdoor oasis, choosing the right furniture is essential. Think about your deck as a room to decorate based on how you will you it—as a living room, dining space, kitchen, game room or all of the above. Then choose furniture that allows you the functionality you desire.
A bistro table and chairs are perfect for morning coffee or evening cocktails, whereas a chaise lounge is great for reading or naps. Whether you want a big table for outdoor meals and family game night, or rocking chairs for watching the kids play, there are countless options for outdoor furniture. Think about storage, too. A cluttered deck does not inspire relaxation, so have a place to safely store games, pillows and accessories out of sight until they are needed. Consider a storage bench that doubles as extra seating.
Summer brings both heat and rain, so adding protection from both will really extend your deck’s usability. From a sun umbrella to a retractable awning, a canopy to a pergola, overhang or full roof, you can choose the option that works best for your needs and budget.
If you tend to use your deck in the evening after the heat of the day has passed, be sure to install lighting, both for ambiance and function. An overhead light makes family game night possible, while twinkling fairy lights provide soft, intimate lighting. Add a ceiling fan to a full roof to supplement summer breezes, or an electric heater to keep you cozy on chilly fall nights.
Don’t forget the floor. An outdoor rug can pull your décor together and add color and pattern. It also protects feet from slivers on wood decks and heat on composite decks. Add some outdoor pillows to increase the impact and comfort level of your space, as well decorative or useful accessories, such as an outdoor clock or thermometer.