The best deck projects share one thing in common. They all look like they fit into their environment. Building a deck to match your house, yard, and lifestyle should be the goal of every deck design. For instance a small house can be overwhelmed by too large of a deck. As a rule of thumb, no section of deck should be larger than the largest room in your house. The average deck in the U.S. is about 350 square feet. Try to reproduce colors. materials, shapes, and angles from the surroundings.
You can use a few tricks to make a boring deck come to life. Try introducing different levels or using diagonal decking. This will make the deck more interesting and intimate. Play with contrasting materials such as using a decking border in another color. Introduce a feature like an overhead shade pergola. decking inlay pattern or flared stairs to provide an element of style.
Consider how the deck will be used. Function should be at the core of your design. You will probably need a large area at least 12' x 12' for placing a table and chair set. You can tuck a grill area into a corner preferably near access to the house. Leave space for traffic to move between spaces and a clear space at the top of the stair landing.
The materials you choose will also affect the way your deck looks and how you maintain it. Wood can be beautiful and natural looking but does require a coat of stain every few years. Composite decking will be easier to maintain but will still require cleaning to freshen it up. There are hundreds of deck products on the market. Explore the possibilities of material compositions.