7 Small Deck Ideas: You Don't Need A Whole Lot of Decking To Make a Big Splash

There is a common misconception that the beauty and usability of a deck is related to its size. Small decks can be just as welcoming and attractive as larger decks, perhaps even more so as attention to detail is often stressed in these more compact spaces.

Taking special care when selecting a decking material, choice of board layment, and even how you decide to furnish the deck will all have an important role in designing an impressive small deck. If you have a small home or business that is missing an exterior entertainment or relaxation space, here are 7 small deck ideas anyone would be proud to call their own.


1. Create Depth and Texture by Adding Tiers to Your Deck

(Deutsche Bank Friedrichstr)

Some of the most grandiose decks have multiple tiers and you can replicate this look easily with a small deck. Single-level decks offer slightly more space, but depending on the use of the deck focusing more on depth and texture offers a far more attractive look. In fact, though you may sacrifice a small amount of level space, this technique can actually make your deck seem larger.

The featured deck is an excellent example of how a small space can be far more pleasing to the eye when a small tier is added. This solves the functional issue of needing a step up to the sitting area, but also is perfect for containers plants which is ideal decor for decks. The horizontal placement of the Kebony Character boards makes the space look wider than it is. The added matching built-in planters blend in seamlessly and gives this space a cozier, nook-like feel.

An additional touch that would look great with a tiered deck is recessed lighting in the riser. A subtle glow looks beautiful in a residential setting and also solves the safety issue of lighting to prevent an accidental trip when stepping onto the main deck.

2. Classic Wicker Furniture and a Railless Deck for Enjoying the View

(Private home in Malmoya)

If you're lucky enough to be surrounded by a beautiful landscape, the last thing you want is to clutter the view with bulky furniture or a railing. A railless look is the ideal way of being able to sit and enjoy your surroundings without any obstructions. Keep in mind that depending on where you live there may be safety requirements for whether your deck needs a railing or not, but chances are high if the deck is ground level or close to it you will not need to install rails.

The weathered Kebony Character boards have a lovely soft gray patina which looks beautiful all on its own. While nearly any style of furniture works well with this material, being that it looks very neutral, going with classic wicker patio furnishings is a sure way of creating a warm, inviting space. Choosing light-colored cushions and a lighter-toned wicker helps keep a nearly beachside feel to this lakeside deck.

3. Integrated Built-In Planters and a Framed Deck are a Win-Win

(Villa Ekeberg By Hanne Holsted, photo credit: Kathrine Soergaard)

Small decks are not as limited in design as some may think. You can create a very luxurious deck that looks like a professional designed space by playing with board placement. The above deck is a perfect example of a subtle touch that gives this deck a much more polished look. The surrounding edge of the deck is framed in a matching Kebony board. This finishing touch is easy to accomplish yet rare to see on small decks.

A secondary touch that looks great on any size deck is an integrated, built-in planter, also made of the same Kebony wood. Having a planter on the end of the deck in place of a railing helps close off the space for a more room-like feel, but also offers the perfect place to bring in plants without the use of containers that eat up valuable floor space.

The final touches of very contemporary, modern furniture in an outdoor setting is striking as it is an unexpected style to find in an outdoor setting. This deck may be small but that certainly doesn’t mean it can’t be both beautiful and functional.


4. Vertically Placed Boards Give Short Spaces an Elongated Appearance

(Villa Ekeberg by Hanne Holsted, photo credit: Kathrine Soergaard)

Creating optical illusions is a common trick used in home design when space is limited. A perfect example of this is playing with the placement of deck boards. While you can certainly create very unique and elaborate designs, when it comes to small decks most want to achieve a more spacious look. Typically horizontal boards will make a deck look wider while vertical boards create an illusion of length.

The above deck isn't very wide, but the placement of vertical boards make it looks much roomier than it actually is. Despite being closed in on 3 sides, the vertical boards help create an open appearance, which also pulls the eyes to the staircase. Overall this is a very visually pleasing board placement for this type of space and makes for a gorgeous outdoor dining space for guests.

5. A Light and Bright Deck is Timeless and Versatile

(By Ronny Kyllingstad-Sandnes, photo credit: Kathrine Soergaard)

Playing with dark colors in home design is always exciting, but sometimes you simply can't beat going with a light and bright look. Light tones work well in small spaces for a number of reasons. Light colors reflect light and tend to make a space, even an outdoor one, seem more open. The above deck is surrounded by walls with light siding and light-colored planters which further help make the deck blend in.

Kebony decking is available in both Character and Clear. The Character style is perfect for those wanting a more classic wood deck feel, but the Clear boards are great for decks where a contemporary appearance is wanted. The above deck is a perfect example of how clean weathered Kebony Clear looks. Being a knot-free product the silver patina really shines, illuminating the space flawlessly. This light and bright deck also works well with any type of patio furniture, even if you prefer dark-toned modern or rustic pieces.

6. Create a Luxury Penthouse View with Clear Boards and Glass Railings

(Penthouse Bremen by POPO, photo credit: Thilo Müller Photodesign)

There are few things that seem as luxurious and extravagant as a penthouse rooftop deck. The featured penthouse deck is a flawless example of how a fairly small rooftop deck can still look quite spacious and open. Kebony Clear decking was used for this project, which works very well in the overall and modern appearance of the rest of the deck. Being a rooftop deck, sun exposure is very direct, meaning the Kebony will more quickly develop that wonderful gray patina, without having to deal with paints or stains.

The horizontal placement of the boards helps to make this fairly skinny space feel a bit wider. The final touch that really helps make this space seem larger is the glass panel railing system. This railing provides safety and security needed on a rooftop deck without spoiling the view.  

7. Incorporate a Hot Tub with Matching Lumber for a Seamless Look

(By Homexo, photo credit: Studio Oslo)

Many people shy away from large furnishings being included within the deck if they are already tight on space, but if you do it the right way it can result in a very attractive finish. A hot tub is a wonderful place to relax after a long day, but having to walk across a grass or a gravel path isn't ideal. Instead you can have your hot tub incorporated into your deck design by having Kebony boards used as custom siding and steps to the hot tub. This really makes everything flow together beautifully and is also very functional.

This featured deck is also a perfect example of how you can get creative with your railings. The vertically placed wooden boards give this deck a rustic, natural feel, especially with it being set in a forested area. Include soft, warm lighting and you have yourself a private spa oasis complete with a pretty deck for entertaining.

The only significant difference between designing small and large decks is taking care that you don't do too much in a small space. Most small deck spaces end up looking out of place not because of the deck itself, but rather that the designer attempted to include too large of furniture or otherwise cluttered up the space. You'll find that the majority of the most stunning small decks tend to err more on the side of simplicity. This isn't to say you can't experiment and be creative, however, in fact some of the most creative designs we’ve seen are in small decks when both beauty and function are crucial to accomplish within a small area.

Designing a small deck is a very rewarding project and one that can add significant value to your property. With a quality material like Kebony and keeping a few key small deck ideas in mind you will have an excellent foundation for your future outdoor space.