Demystifying Design Patterns: Decorator Design Pattern

  1. Demystifying Design Patterns: Singleton Design Pattern
  2. Demystifying Design Patterns: Factory Method Design Pattern
  3. Demystifying Design Patterns: Abstract Factory Design Pattern
  4. Demystifying Design Patterns: Builder Design Pattern
  5. Demystifying Design Patterns: Prototype Design Pattern
  6. Demystifying Design Patterns: Adapter Design Pattern
  7. Demystifying Design Patterns: Bridge Design Pattern
  8. Demystifying Design Patterns: Composite Design Pattern
  9. Demystifying Design Patterns: Decorator Design Pattern
  10. Demystifying Design Patterns: Proxy Design Pattern
  11. Demystifying Design Patterns: Observer Design Pattern
  12. Demystifying Design Patterns: Strategy Design Pattern
  13. Demystifying Design Patterns: Command Design Pattern
  14. Demystifying Design Patterns: State Design Pattern
  15. Demystifying Design Patterns: Chain of Responsibility Design Pattern
  16. Demystifying Design Patterns: Visitor Design Pattern
  17. Demystifying Design Patterns: Template Method Design Pattern


Welcome to the ninth installment of our “Demystifying Design Patterns” series. In this article, we’ll explore the Decorator Design Pattern, a structural pattern that allows you to dynamically add or alter the behavior of objects without affecting their class structure. The Decorator Pattern is a powerful tool for enhancing the flexibility and modularity of your code. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll delve into the essence of the Decorator Pattern, its applications in real-life scenarios, and provide code examples in Java, C#, and Python. 

Decorating Objects with the Decorator Pattern

The Decorator Pattern is all about decorating or wrapping objects to add new responsibilities or behaviors. It follows the principle of “open-closed,” which means that classes should be open for extension but closed for modification. Key components of this pattern include:

1. Component: This is an abstract class or interface that defines the interface for objects that can be decorated.

2. Concrete Component: These are the basic objects that implement the component interface.

3. Decorator: The decorator is an abstract class that also implements the component interface. It has a reference to a component object and can dynamically add or alter behaviors.

4. Concrete Decorator: These are the concrete classes that extend the decorator and add specific behaviors or responsibilities.

Dynamic vs. Static Decorators

One of the distinguishing features of the Decorator Pattern is its dynamic nature. You can add or remove decorators at runtime, which makes it incredibly flexible. Static decorators, on the other hand, typically involve creating a fixed sequence of decorators during object instantiation.

Dynamic decorators enable you to build complex combinations of behavior at runtime. This dynamic flexibility is particularly useful when you need to adapt or extend the behavior of objects based on changing requirements.

Role of Decorators in GUI Frameworks

Decorators play a significant role in graphical user interface (GUI) frameworks. Consider a scenario where you have a base GUI component, such as a simple button, and you want to add various features like borders, shadows, or tooltips to it. Instead of creating a multitude of specialized button classes, you can use decorators to add these features dynamically.

This approach promotes code reuse, maintainability, and extensibility in GUI frameworks. It also allows developers to create custom combinations of features tailored to specific user interface elements.

Applying Open-Closed Principle with Decorators

The Decorator Pattern aligns with the open-closed principle, a fundamental principle of object-oriented design. According to this principle, software entities (classes, modules, functions) should be open for extension but closed for modification. Decorators achieve this by allowing you to add new behavior to objects without altering their existing code.

This adherence to the open-closed principle simplifies the process of extending and enhancing software systems. You can introduce new decorators without needing to modify the code of the decorated objects or the existing decorators.

Real-Life Examples

Let’s explore some real-life examples where the Decorator Pattern can be applied:

Coffee Order Customization

Imagine a coffee shop application where customers can order coffee with various customizations such as milk, sugar, or flavors. Instead of creating a multitude of coffee classes for each combination, you can use the Decorator Pattern. The base `Coffee` class represents a simple coffee, and decorators like `MilkDecorator` and `SugarDecorator` add these customizations dynamically.

Text Formatting in Word Processors

Word processors often allow users to apply various formatting options to text, such as bold, italic, underline, and color. These formatting options can be viewed as decorators that enhance the appearance of plain text.

GUI Element Enhancements

In GUI frameworks, decorators can be used to enhance the behavior and appearance of user interface elements. For example, decorators can add functionalities like tooltips, borders, or animations to buttons and windows.

Code Examples

Let’s explore how the Decorator Pattern can be implemented in Java, C#, and Python with practical code examples:


Java Example

// Component interface
interface Coffee {
    double cost();

// Concrete Component
class SimpleCoffee implements Coffee {
    public double cost() {
        return 2.0;

// Decorator
abstract class CoffeeDecorator implements Coffee {
    protected Coffee decoratedCoffee;

    public CoffeeDecorator(Coffee coffee) {
        this.decoratedCoffee = coffee;

    public double cost() {
        return decoratedCoffee.cost();

// Concrete Decorators
class MilkDecorator extends CoffeeDecorator {
    public MilkDecorator(Coffee coffee) {

    public double cost() {
        return super.cost() + 1.0;

class SugarDecorator extends CoffeeDecorator {
    public SugarDecorator(Coffee coffee) {

    public double cost() {
        return super.cost() + 0.5;

public class DecoratorPatternDemo {
    public static void main(String[] args) {
        Coffee simpleCoffee = new SimpleCoffee();
        System.out.println("Cost of simple coffee: $" + simpleCoffee.cost());

        Coffee milkCoffee = new MilkDecorator(simpleCoffee);
        System.out.println("Cost of milk coffee: $" + milkCoffee.cost());

        Coffee sugarCoffee = new SugarDecorator(simpleCoffee);
        System.out.println("Cost of sugar coffee: $" + sugarCoffee.cost());

C# Example

using System;

// Component interface
interface ICoffee {
    double Cost();

// Concrete Component
class SimpleCoffee : ICoffee {
    public double Cost() {
        return 2.0;

// Decorator
abstract class CoffeeDecorator : ICoffee {
    protected ICoffee DecoratedCoffee;

    public CoffeeDecorator(ICoffee coffee) {
        DecoratedCoffee = coffee;


 public virtual double Cost() {
        return DecoratedCoffee.Cost();

// Concrete Decorators
class MilkDecorator : CoffeeDecorator {
    public MilkDecorator(ICoffee coffee) : base(coffee) {

    public override double Cost() {
        return base.Cost() + 1.0;

class SugarDecorator : CoffeeDecorator {
    public SugarDecorator(ICoffee coffee) : base(coffee) {

    public override double Cost() {
        return base.Cost() + 0.5;

class DecoratorPatternDemo {
    static void Main(string[] args) {
        ICoffee simpleCoffee = new SimpleCoffee();
        Console.WriteLine("Cost of simple coffee: $" + simpleCoffee.Cost());

        ICoffee milkCoffee = new MilkDecorator(simpleCoffee);
        Console.WriteLine("Cost of milk coffee: $" + milkCoffee.Cost());

        ICoffee sugarCoffee = new SugarDecorator(simpleCoffee);
        Console.WriteLine("Cost of sugar coffee: $" + sugarCoffee.Cost());

Python Example

# Component interface
class Coffee:
    def cost(self):

# Concrete Component
class SimpleCoffee(Coffee):
    def cost(self):
        return 2.0

# Decorator
class CoffeeDecorator(Coffee):
    def __init__(self, coffee):
        self.decorated_coffee = coffee

    def cost(self):
        return self.decorated_coffee.cost()

# Concrete Decorators
class MilkDecorator(CoffeeDecorator):
    def cost(self):
        return super().cost() + 1.0

class SugarDecorator(CoffeeDecorator):
    def cost(self):
        return super().cost() + 0.5

if __name__ == "__main__":
    simple_coffee = SimpleCoffee()
    print("Cost of simple coffee: $" + str(simple_coffee.cost()))

    milk_coffee = MilkDecorator(simple_coffee)
    print("Cost of milk coffee: $" + str(milk_coffee.cost()))

    sugar_coffee = SugarDecorator(simple_coffee)
    print("Cost of sugar coffee: $" + str(sugar_coffee.cost()))


The Decorator Design Pattern provides an elegant and flexible way to enhance the behavior of objects dynamically. By following the open-closed principle, it ensures that your code remains open for extension without requiring modifications to existing code. Decorators are widely used in various scenarios, from enhancing the functionality of coffee orders to enriching the features of graphical user interface elements.

In our next article, we’ll delve into the Proxy Design Pattern. Stay tuned for more insights into the world of design patterns!