How to make your deck look expensive - 7 ways to turn a deck into your favourite area of the garden

Take your deck from drab to fab

Decked garden with steps leading to a blue painted summerhouse and outdoor seating
(Image credit: Future PLC)

At Ideal Home, we’re all about the art of illusion. And if you’re looking to upgrade your decking area, you’ll be happy to know that there are so many ways to make your deck look expensive without it being expensive.

With so many garden landscaping ideas out there, it’s no wonder that so many people choose a deck over a patio or laid lawn. The best decking ideas can add value to the price of your home, offer an ideal space for entertaining and family BBQs, and are extremely low-maintenance. And that’s before we mention all of the colours and material combinations there are to choose from. 

But you don’t have to remortgage your home to upgrade or refresh your deck. Below, our experts have shared seven ways you can make your deck look expensive.

How to make your deck look expensive 

‘Having a decked area is a practical idea to enjoy outdoor living, and with some careful thought, this space can easily be transformed into an aesthetically pleasing, luxurious place to entertain and enjoy, without breaking the bank,’ explains Andy McLaughlin, Landscaping Specialist at RF Paving. So, this is how you can make your deck look expensive.

1. Start with high-quality materials

Decking with white outdoor sofa

(Image credit: Future PLC)

Finding the right material for your decking is a bit like Goldilocks and her porridge. You don’t want something so expensive that it will bankrupt you, and you also don’t want something cheap that will fall apart within a year. You want something that’s just right.

For Richard King at Dino Decking, the sweet spot that perfectly merges affordability with high-quality materials is composite decking. 

He says, ‘It’s the ideal choice for homeowners seeking to enhance the upscale appearance of their decks. Its luxurious appearance, mimicking natural wood with consistent colour and texture, adds sophistication to outdoor spaces.’

‘Beyond aesthetics, composite decking offers unmatched durability, resisting rot, decay, and insects, ensuring a long-lasting investment with minimal maintenance. With versatility in design and customisation options, composite decking allows homeowners to achieve their desired aesthetic, whether modern or traditional.’

Yes, there are so many composite decking ideas out there that you’re bound to find a style that works for you and your garden. And it’s very easy to find composite decking that won’t break the bank, either. 

2. Integrate built-in features

Built in garden seating around firepit and under pergola

(Image credit: Future PLC/Claire Lloyd-Davies)

An affordable way to make a deck look more expensive is to turn it into a versatile area of your garden. By integrating built-in features, you can also turn it into an outdoor kitchen, an at-home spa (with the help of one of the best hot tubs, of course), or a ‘Love Island’-esque fire pit seating area, complete with one of the best fire pits

Richard explains, ‘Built-in features can add both functionality and style to your deck while maximising space. Consider incorporating built-in benches, planters, or fire pits into your deck design to create a seamless and upscale look. Custom-built elements not only enhance the aesthetics of your outdoor space but also provide practical solutions for seating, landscaping, and entertaining.’

And while you could buy these as part of a package when buying your decking, you could also do this yourself for a fraction of the price. In fact, it’s possible to build your own DIY outdoor kitchen using materials and furniture you already have at home. 

3. Choose the right furniture

Decked garden with steps leading to a blue painted summerhouse and outdoor seating

(Image credit: Future PLC/Adelina Iliev)

The best garden furniture comes in so many different shapes and forms, but you need to consider your choice carefully if you want to make your deck look expensive. 

Richard says, ‘To elevate the appearance of outdoor furniture and give it a more luxurious feel, opt for patio furniture that resembles interior pieces. Instead of bulky wooden designs, select slimmer silhouettes that echo indoor aesthetics.’

‘Seek out furniture with curved shapes, slender arms, and thinner resin weaves or knitted exterior materials for the frame construction. Additionally, opt for pieces in lighter colours or neutral tones to enhance the sophisticated look.’

He’s not the only one who suggests opting for lighter, more natural garden furniture, either. Caron Grant, Brand Manager at Bridgman would suggest those looking to make their deck look more expensive opt for rope garden furniture. 

‘Bring a touch of nautical charm into your outdoors with rope furniture,’ she says. ‘Rope has been a popular choice in garden furniture design for a while now, and it's certainly here to stay. Flexible and strong, rope furniture has a minimalist look that's perfect for elevating outdoor decking areas by offering sumptuous comfort and effortless texture.’

4. Think about the construction

Outdoor living area under pergola in garden

(Image credit: Future PLC)

If you’re a competent DIY-er, it’s possible to lay your own decking. But one of the biggest decking mistakes you can make is forgetting the smaller details and laying a deck with imperfections, as this can instantly cheapen an outdoor space. 

It’s important to think about construction if you want to make your deck look expensive, as sometimes small changes here and there can add a sense of luxury you may not have considered before. So, what can you do?

Andy explains, ‘A simple but very effective way of making the deck more opulent is by creating borders. This detail gives the appearance of a picture frame effect and can be achieved by a couple of methods.’

‘You could lay the same-coloured boards that are being used for the main area of the deck for a subtle but effective detail. Alternatively, you could lay a different-coloured board to create a contrast between the main deck and the border.’

‘For an extra detail, where the border is needed to change direction, the joints can be mitred, continuing the flow of the grain throughout the border. This is more achievable with the WPC (Wood Plastic Composite) Decking, where there are often different colours available within the same products.’

Of course, you should also consider the quality and the installation of balustrades and safety rails, if necessary. 

5. Don’t forget to accessorise

Outdoor decking area next to white panelled exterior wall with wooden sofa and neutral accessories

(Image credit: Future PLC/Joanna Henderson)

A deck is so much more than a practical space you can walk and sit on. It’s also an extension of your home and your garden, which is why decoration and accessories are key. 

Richard says, ‘Don't overlook the importance of small details in making your deck look expensive. Pay attention to finishing touches such as decorative hardware, coordinating outdoor fabrics, and architectural elements like mouldings or trim. These subtle enhancements can elevate the overall design of your deck and create a cohesive and polished look.’

Thankfully, there are so many deck accessories out there, from integrated lighting that sits flush within the decking boards to outdoor rugs and the best outdoor cushions.

Kirsty Barton, Marketing Manager at Alternative Flooring, is particularly fond of decks with outdoor rugs. She says, ‘An outdoor rug can elevate your garden area by introducing colour, texture and pattern, while also serving as a practical solution for being not only hard-wearing but a great solution for protecting outdoor flooring or decking.’

‘It has the ability to anchor a space and complement the wider colour scheme, just like it would indoors. Additionally, an oversized rug can create an illusion of spaciousness in smaller areas, making your deck feel more expansive. Overall, incorporating an outdoor rug is an excellent way to spruce up your outdoor living space.’

You don’t have to spend a fortune on these deck accessories, either, as they’re readily available from major home retailers. 

6. Add some greenery

raised decking area in corner of garden with two sofas, patterned rug and potted plants

(Image credit: Future PLC/David Giles)

There are so many plants that can increase your property value, so it would be a shame not to utilise these while trying to make your deck look expensive. By adding greenery and landscaping your decking area, you can add a sense of luxe that is often missing from bare decking.

Of course, the choice is yours when it comes to decking out your deck in plants, but a container garden is probably your best bet. Similar to arranging pots on a patio, you have the pleasure of moving them around the deck and finding a home for them that works with your space, your garden furniture, and the plants themselves. 

If your deck is overlooked, you could also opt for privacy trees around your deck to add an extra sense of privacy. Alternatively, you could grow a herb garden to awaken the senses while you sit and drink your morning coffee. The plant world really is your oyster! 

7. Give it a lick of paint

Black pergola with garden sofa sat on black decking tiles

(Image credit: Future PLC/Joanna Henderson)

If you want to revive some old decking and make it look expensive, painting your decking is a cost-effective way to do it. In fact, this is one of the best ways to hide flaking paint, mould, and imperfections on your deck.

This is echoed by Michael Rolland, Managing Director at The Paint Shed. He says, ‘Painting your decking can be a great way to give your garden a new lease of life, making it look more expensive. However, it’s really important that you do all the preparations needed before starting – washing, brushing, removing any moss or mould and sanding the surface.’

‘A clean, smooth surface is really important for paint’s adhesion, supporting the longevity and quality of its outcome – the more polished it is, the more luxurious it feels.’ However, to maintain a high-quality finish, you must choose the right products and materials for the job. 

Michael explains, ‘When painting exteriors, always use a roller as this is much quicker to work with and provides even coats. We always recommend using quality exterior wood paint as these offer superior weather resistance and can help to resist cracking, peeling and flaking, helping to achieve a low maintenance appearance for years. Look for brands with formulas that prevent fading and flaking and include preservatives that can prevent the growth of algae and fungi.’

Your painting endeavours don’t have to stop there, though. You could also paint exterior walls or fences around your deck either in addition to or instead of the decking itself. The choice is yours. 


How can I make my deck more attractive?

If you already have a deck in place and don’t want to swap out the old decking boards with newer models, accessorising and decorating your deck is your best bet. 

Simply painting your deck can instantly give it the lift it really needs, hiding any imperfections and turning the deck into a focal point in your garden. When you’ve done that, you can style your garden furniture with an outdoor rug, cushions, outdoor lighting and more. 

Of course, adding potted plants wouldn’t go amiss, either. 

Do decks add value?

Yes! Adding a deck to your outside space can increase the value of your home by between 5-10%. The exact value will depend on the construction and the quality of the deck, and the location of the deck. 

So, how will you be making your deck look more expensive?

Lauren Bradbury

Lauren Bradbury is a freelance writer and major homes enthusiast. She graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in English and Creative Writing from the University of Chichester in 2016, before dipping her toe into the world of content writing. After years of agency work, writing everything from real-life stories to holiday round-ups, she decided to take the plunge and become a full-time freelancer in the online magazine world. Since then, she has become a regular contributor for Real Homes and Ideal Home, and become even more obsessed with everything interior and garden related. As a result, she’s in the process of transforming her old Victorian terraced house into an eclectic and modern home that hits visitors with personality as soon as they walk through the door.