vintage-style deck makeover

by | Aug 20, 2015 | All Things Home, Decorating, Exterior, Gardening, My House, Room Makeovers | 23 comments

I’ve always been what you call an “indoor girl” when it comes to home decor.  When we put our house on the market (and ended up not selling it) last spring, our realtor put an “I’m Beautiful Inside” sign above the “For Sale” sign.  That’s realtor code for “It looks better once you walk through the front door.”

It’s not that I didn’t care about the outside, but with two little boys, a business to run and a limited budget, we focused our attention on the inside and didn’t have much time, money or motivation to work on the outside.

Now that the boys are getting older and we’re almost finished with the inside of the house, we’ve been working on the outside in bits and pieces.  We replaced the front door (you could actually see outside through some cracks in the old door), installed a new driveway (the old one was a sunken, weedy mess), worked on the front garden, built window boxes ( tutorial here) and have done some general cleaning up in the yard.  And every year, we say it looks the best yet.

The back deck has always been a cheap table and chairs, a grill and usually a bunch of random outdoor toys, some branches trimmed from the Christmas tree the year before, a muddy pair of duck boots…you get the idea.  Any plants I put out there were put out there to die, out of my sight, where they couldn’t ask anything of me.  There wasn’t anything that would entice anyone to spend any amount of time out there.

This spring, though, something changed.  I felt a pull to garden.  With that came a desire to bring the outdoors in through houseplants and some of the indoors out by carrying my decorating style to the deck and garden.

And here’s where we are today (actually, it’s pouring today, so here’s where we were yesterday)…


This is how the deck looked in late spring of this year (2015)…


I purchased the vintage iron set of table and chairs at Lucketts for $300, the umbrella was from Joss & Main (purchased with referral credits) and the antique concrete urns were from a local antique shop.  I was headed in the right direction, but if I’m looking at the deck as a room, it needed accessories and some softness.

As I was shopping for outdoor rugs and pillows, I realized a lot of them were in really bright colors and that’s not really what I wanted.  I wanted neutrals and some blue (big surprise), so the antiques and plants could be the real stars.

I selected the Dash & Albert Petit Diamond indoor/outdoor rug in Khaki & Ivory ($345) to go under the table and chairs.



I must admit that I was skeptical about having an outdoor rug on a deck, but this one will get soaked from a rain, but then dries quickly and allows the deck to dry underneath.


Please forgive the hasty sweeping job!  I was trying to take these pictures between sprinkles and before a threatening thunderstorm followed by two days of forecasted rain, so I was in a bit of a pinch.  Oh well, we are outside, anyway, and a few stray twigs and grass clippings is real life, right?


I also picked out some Pine Cone Hill outdoor pillows in blues and creams to soften the iron deck furniture.


This one is the Mingled Denim Indoor/outdoor pillow.

The space is accessorizes with galvanized pieces and other antiques that I’ve been picking up here and there throughout the spring and summer.  Some pieces are even ones I had hanging around in my prop stash or in the basement.



The table is set with bowls from Anthropologie, vintage ironstone and the cute blue glasses were a dime each at a yard sale.



Remember these metal iron arm chairs?


When my mom passed them along to me, they looked like this…


I made new cushions and covers for them and topped them off with the Flora Crewel Denim pillow, also by Pine Cone Hill, for a bit of color and pattern.


The little plant stand next to the chair is some random antique metal stand paired with a galvanized grain scoop.



I used an antique mop bucket and minnow bucket for plants…


That little plant in the garden is cantaloupe that Marshall (my 8 year old) planted from seeds we saved.  He’s been so proud of it.  I hope we didn’t plant it too late to get at least one melon from it!

So, the “crowning jewel” of the deck, for me, is the potting bench we made from a free workbench, a $95 chicken nesting box and some random bits of wood…


 I’m eventually going to fill the cubbies with old pots and garden tools, but that’s not the kind of collection that happens overnight.


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I replaced the rusted outside light with a $35 galvanized one from Lowe’s.  And, I’m proud to share, that I switched it out all by myself.  And it works!


I have really enjoyed hunting for things to decorate the outdoors.  I made a few splurges, but I tried to keep most purchases on the smaller side, $20 or less, so it doesn’t matter if they get worn and weathered.

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I found the most interesting antique piece of ironstone  a couple of weeks ago for $5.00.  I have never see one with that marbled design!  I have some pitchers in the same shape, but never that design.


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We eat outside whenever we have a nice, dry evening.  I have come to really enjoy that.

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I drilled drainage holes in all of the galvanized pieces with a drill equipped with a metal bit, so the plants don’t get waterlogged.



The shutters were a recent purchase for $30 at an antique mall.  I am not a huge fan of the vinyl siding, so I feel like they add a bit of vintage character and the color is perfect.  I bought the antique hose reel a few months ago for $45.

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The thing that I’m proud of with this deck is that it’s still a bland, boring, kind of sad deck…


…but I added a bunch of layers with furniture and accessories to make it more “me”.


This is something renters can do or people, like us, who don’t want to make major changes by rebuilding a deck, landscaping, changing out siding, etc.   

I am still toying with the idea of washing or painting the deck rails white and also painting a design on the deck floor and sealing it, but we’ll see.  And, after one season of gardening, I’m already looking forward to adding more bushes, plants and flowers next year.

School is about to start and we’re heading into fall, so we have a few more months to enjoy our new outdoor space before we tuck it in for the winter…


Disclosure: I have partnered with Pine Cone Hill/Dash & Albert for years and they provided the outdoor rug and pillows as a part of that partnership.  I received the products for free, but did not receive additional payment for this post.  I absolutely love their brand and products and wouldn’t use them in my home or write about them if I didn’t.  None of the links are affiliate links.  All opinions are my own.


  1. Terri

    So pretty and inviting! Thank you for sharing and inspiring!

  2. Hayley

    When can you come over to England and do mine ?? 😉 😉

    . . . It’s just gone up the priority list after seeing how lovely it can be made!

    Thank you, I’m really enjoying reading and commenting on your blog, also instagram! Thanks to the Design Bloggers at Home book for introducing me to your blog!

  3. Marie

    Love your newly decorated deck! It says “you” without being over the top. All the accessories go so well together. Galvanized also holds up well to being outside (most having been born in a barn)! Vintage outdoor furniture has such style, glad you’re reusing your mothers chairs. They are lovely. Marie

  4. Terri

    I love it!!! Just beautiful…. a good book… a glass of sweet iced tea and I could “settle” in for a while in one of those metal iron arm chairs… Thank you so much for sharing!!!

  5. Teresa

    I love that you are really starting to devote more time to the outside of your home. I think you had a lot of untapped equity before and a realtor once told me that if the outside doesn’t make a first good impression many times you will never get a potential buyer inside the door..

    I don’t know where you found that sweet vintage hose reel but I am in love with it!

  6. Robbyn

    It’s not bland, boring or sad – at all! It’s pretty, inviting and happy. I love it and I’m sure the majority of your readers do too! So much inspiration in one place : ) Thank you for sharing.

  7. Cathy

    My favorites are the blue glasses on table. Ten cents each; what a find!

  8. Julie

    I love what you have done with your deck. It looks so inviting. I was glad to read you are thinking about painting or white washing the deck because I though the same thing. I love the rustic charm of the deck floor but my first thought was the rails needed to be white.

  9. Chrissy

    Looks very pretty. I’m a sucker for anything galvanized or enamel. Flowers and plants always look so nice in them.

  10. Sarah Gouin

    Your deck looks great! It has inspired me to look around to see what I can repurpose into planters.

  11. anya

    Absolutely gorgeous! I love the last thing that you said – about adding layers and furniture to make it more you in lieu of big changes. That is such an attainable thing, and one that usually makes a big impact. This area looks great, and I’d love to spend a quiet Saturday out there with a cup of coffee. Still swooning over that potting bench!

  12. Barbara in CT

    I am in love.

  13. Marlee

    love it! Favorite things are concrete planters, mop bucket planter and green stand plus I have to say that planting table will work beautifully as a buffet too for outdoor parties…that is how I use mine most often 🙂

  14. Joan Raines

    Just perfect! Love everything you have done. To me the blues and the tin stuff just set it off. Love the blue ironstone too and that potting bench is to die for. I personally prefer the outdoor work and creating .

  15. Chris

    So jealous of your rain! I am in Seattle where it has rained once all summer, and we have wildfires! Another way to age terra cotta is get yogurt with active cultures and mix with dirt (not potting soil) and moss. Apply to pots and put outside in the shade. Spray them with water to keep moist and voila! There is something about the yogurt mix and moisture that makes the all nosy looking.

  16. Maureen

    Looks great Marion! I agree with you about painting the railings, it will finish the look off nicely.

  17. MaryLisa Noyes

    I hit the pin button on practically all your photos. I love how your deck turned out.

  18. Chris

    I envy your rain! I am in Seattle and we have drought and forest fires here! Another way to age terra cotta is get active culture yogurt, mix with soil-not potting soil, garden dirt-and moss, brush on and put outside in a shady area, spray with fine mist to keep moist and voila! There is something magic in that bacteria. They look mossy and ancient.

  19. Barbara Bussey

    You knocked this one “out of the park”! The potting bench and containers for plants are killer! Love it!

  20. Sheri

    You did an amazing job! I love your style. Thanks so much for sharing.

  21. Lauren Baxter

    Wow your outdoor space looks amazing! I love everything about it, great job!

    Lauren Baxter | Lovely Decor

  22. Vicki

    This looks WONDERFUL! Great job!!

  23. linda okane

    Love the transformation, especially the zinc pieces and shutters. I hope you take the time out to enjoy it? If I could recommend one plant it would be Hydrangea. Love Linda xx


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Marian Parsons - Miss Mustard Seed

I’m Marian, aka Miss Mustard Seed, a wife, mother, paint enthusiast, lover of all things home and an entrepreneur, author, artist, designer, freelance writer & photographer.  READ MORE to learn more about me, my blog and my business…


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