Other Makeovers

Maximizing the Layout of a Small Deck in 5 Steps!

April 19, 2023

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This post is sponsored by Article and was written by my lovely sister and brand manager, Victoria.

Okay, I have to tell you something: Last year, I bought a dapper dining table on Facebook Marketplace and appointed it on my deck with promises of al fresco suppers, season after season. I weatherproofed it (obviously)(or so I thought) — but a couple of weeks ago, as I was sweeping the winter leaves away and zhushing the deck for spring, it became very obvious that my now dilapidated, rain-riddled table wasn’t playing host to anyone but the squirrels. 

An entertainer to my core, I had dreams of installing another dining table — for long, languid brunches and dinner parties under the stars. But last summer proved too hot and buggy for outdoor dining. And if we get half as much rain as we got last year — shouldn’t I inaugurate *actual* outdoor furniture? 

Before

I started perusing Article because their outdoor furniture is stately and sophisticated. I wanted pieces that felt unique and elegant, and lounge-y. The Callais sofa and chair stole my heart with their warm acacia wood and knotted rope frames. This collection is stunning and has so much character. I more than daydreamed — I *aspired* to see these pieces on my deck, but worried my outdoor space was too small? I measured twice and placed the order.

As I type this blog post from my dreamy new outdoor escape, pinching myself, I feel like I’m writing notes to my future self on “how to nail it when it comes to deck life.” I’m treating this as my remember-this-feeling checklist should I ever again encounter the intrusive thought: Is my deck too small for the big dreams I have for it? Read on if you, too, are craving a spring refresh. I may have cracked the code…

After

We had another one of our infamous one-day makeovers with the whole CLJ team, which is always a mix of excitement, and (admittedly) some well-deserved sweat!

1. Super-size the furniture

The scale of the furniture matters! This double-wide chair easily fits two people, and you would think that an extra-large chair would make a small deck look smaller. Au contraire! Filling the space with generous, cozy seating — seating that’s modern, with clean lines — makes the space feel ample. I’ve made the mistake, in the past, of filling up a small space with smaller pieces, and it just looks cluttered and junky. Both the sofa and the armchair dwarf me — a 6-foot-tall woman. I feel downright dainty in this setup. Also, the sofa is absolutely a daybed (and I’ve clocked the naps to prove it).

Before

After

2. Look for pieces that can pull double-duty

The arms on this sofa and chair are wide enough to serve as side tables for snack plates or the crossword. I love bringing dinner outside and not fussing over where to put my drink down or leaning over the coffee table for charcuterie. The table-sized arms make everything convenient and conversational. And not only are the cavernous open sides easy on the eyes, but they also double as bookcases or plant sanctuaries (I spy a cute little plant hiding on one side).

3. Appoint at least three light sources (including a fire feature) 

I hung the string lights last year, and they make everything feel glowy and soft. I love these wicker lanterns from Article because they come in two sizes (large and small), and they’re battery operated — so they’re easy to move around the deck on a whim. For now, I have one positioned by the bar cart (for drinks after dark) and one between the couch and the chair. They serve as task light — sure. But they’re also architecturally and aesthetically pleasing, like organic statues.

I love a fire feature — and really thought about the fire table we installed at Brooke and Tristan’s house last year. But since this coffee table already had my heart, I opted for candlelight. A multi-wick candle gives off plenty of warm ambiance and flirtatiously flickers into the night.

4. Stock with plants

I bought two topiaries, and I thought I was done. My sister advised me not to skimp on the greenery. If it rains enough in North Carolina to waterlog a “weatherproof” table in less than a year, why wouldn’t I populate the deck with lots of lush plant life?? I do not have a green thumb, but I chose plants whose tags said they needed 6+ hours of sunlight per day, and they seem to be thriving. I put them in these elevated concrete (read: indestructible) planters that also come in two convenient sizes (narrow and wide). Plus, the vegetation makes everything feel physically cooler and gives the deck an overall zen vibe. Spoiler: I plan on adding even more.

5. Bring everything outdoors

If you take nothing else from this blog post, take this: You don’t need to have people over to make a space nice for yourself. You deserve to enjoy your deck as much as anyone does. Rethink what “goes” outside. Grab a stack of your favorite books — the ones with dog-earred passages that you read over and over — and take them outside. Stock the coffee table with the magazines on your TBR list. Where’s your journal? You’re going to need that. On a night with no rain in sight, stock the bar cart generously, treating yourself like the honored guest at this little oasis. (“What might she be in the mood for? I’ll bring out options…”) Grab a cozy throw blanket for when that delicious evening chill rolls in, and tuck a Bluetooth speaker into one of the plants. Croon all night to a moody playlist.

Article makes it easy to attain a beautiful, modern space – indoors or out. Their furniture is not only great to look at and comfortable to lay on, but you can tell it’s designed to last. The shipping is fast, the prices are great – there’s a lot to love. Check out their latest outdoor offerings here. To make things even better, Article has kindly offered a $50 discount on orders of $200 or more just for CLJ readers through to April 30th. Click here, and the discount will automatically apply to your order.

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What do you think?

  1. Elizabeth says:

    Beautiful! Did you use both the large and small lanterns on the deck? Or are they the same size? Thanks so much!

  2. Erin says:

    “…flirtatiously flickers into the night.”

    That’s my girl.

  3. Nicole says:

    This looks fabulous and perfectly cozy. Love it!

  4. Mimi says:

    Love it. But- with young kids -I’m worried about safety ….having seating near the railings always freaks me out not you???

  5. Anne Devasto says:

    She’s a fantastic writer! More please!

  6. Molly says:

    I love everything about this deck! Pinning for future reference!!

  7. Ok, Victoria I absolutely LOVED your writing style. Reading this was fun, inspiring and informative. Write more please!!!!

  8. Bee Sam says:

    Thanks for sharing, looks beautiful! How did you get the string lights to be at different levels? Does the set come like that? Thanks!

  9. Krissy says:

    It is perfect!

  10. Amy says:

    Love this, it’s so beautiful and cozy! I’d love to hear from Victoria more on the blog!

  11. PJ says:

    I’m just so happy we don’t have to hear about that damn home office again 🙄 – THANK YOU!!

  12. Kathleen Ottley says:

    So lovely! Also- Solo Stove has a cute table top fire pit that would be even cozier on the coffee table!

  13. DD says:

    Not trying to be negative, just giving you realistic expectations. Unless there’s an odd drought, summer will always be wet and buggy. Even with a drought it will be buggy. 100%

  14. Julie Dawson says:

    Beautiful!

  15. Kristin says:

    Hi! For scale, what size is your deck? We are in a similar situation so this is so helpful.

  16. nina says:

    lovely, what poles do recommend to string lights around a patio?

  17. RC says:

    What do you do about the rain? Covers? Remove the cushions?

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