Once a place for dining al fresco and maybe the odd game of sun-soaked Scrabble, today the deck has become a second living room, a true gathering place for the entertainment of family and friends. Thanks to modern technologies such as Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, we can now take more than just our dinner plates and board games outside. We can bring all the fun of high tech entertainment outside and transform our decks into discos, movie theaters and even sports bars!
Here are some tips to help you turn your deck into an entertainment haven this summer:
Wired for Sound
Whether you want surround sound to pair with an outdoor movie projector or simply like the idea of enjoying some tunes while grilling, there are many options for enhancing your outdoor audio experience.
Portable outdoor Bluetooth speakers are the easiest option, ranging in price from $10 for small devices to well over $100 for larger or more rugged options. Simply connect the wireless speakers to your phone or tablet and play your tunes outdoors. There are Bluetooth speakers available that mimic plant pots, rocks and other outdoor features to help these devices blend into your surroundings.
For high definition outdoor audio, consider installing wired outdoor speakers that are connected to your home stereo receiver. This way, you can pipe the music from inside to your backyard.
Dress Up Your Dance Floor
Now that you have the sound sorted, you can pump up the tunes and turn your deck into a plein air party venue. Don’t worry if your decking is in need of a facelift. Install some composite decking tiles for a quick fix that will create an ideal scratch-resistant dance floor for an al fresco disco in minutes. Deck tiles simply go on top of your existing deck and are easy to install yourself. They can also be taken back up just as easily if you move or decide to invest in a whole new deck.
Consider enhancing the musical experience with some overhead lighting. Stringing lights around a pergola creates a romantic ambience. Or, add a little pizzazz with color-changing LED lighting for some serious style at your outdoor parties.
Enjoy the View
Watching a movie or sports game on a flat screen TV outdoors has a very decadent feel, but it’s really easy to do. Set up your own outdoor home theater center by simply plugging in a regular television outside under a pergola or awning to reduce glare. Then protect it with an outdoor TV cover when it’s not in use.
Alternatively, consider purchasing an outdoor television, which has an anti-glare coating and built-in fans to help improve viewing and protect it from the elements. Some are also rain resistant. Pair either type of TV with a smart Blu-ray player connected to your home Wi-Fi system to stream movies or TV shows under the stars.
For a big-screen experience, projectors paired with an outdoor screen provide an easy way to transform your deck into a movie theater. Invest in a screen that you can roll down or an inflatable one you can pop up. If you’re lucky enough to have a big white wall, you can simply use that. A portable, wireless projector starts at around $400 and can be paired with Bluetooth speakers or wired into your outdoor speakers for a surround sound effect.
Pull Up a Chair
With all the extra entertainment possibilities you now have for your deck, don’t forget to provide enough seating to enjoy it all. Built-in benches around the edge of your deck are a great way to have a place to relax but still offer plenty of room for a dance floor. For lounging back and enjoying a movie, nothing beats some comfy cushioned chairs with footstools so you can settle in for hours of silver screen entertainment.
With just a few updates—whether that’s a new deck floor or a set of outdoor speakers—your deck can become the perfect place to hang out and enjoy all of your favorite media.
Author bio: Jennifer Tuohy writes about great outdoor DIY projects, including tips on how to make your current deck into an entertainment center. To see composite deck options from The Home Depot like those that Jennifer discuses in this article, click here.