Decorator Design Pattern in Java: Comprehensive Exploration

In this article, we will do an in-depth exploration of various aspects of Decorator Design Pattern in Java. So. let’s get started.

What is Decorator Design Pattern in Java?

The Decorator Design Pattern is a structural design pattern used in Java and other object-oriented programming languages. It allows you to add new functionality to an existing class without altering its structure.

The pattern achieves this by creating a set of decorator classes that are used to wrap the original class, effectively adding or modifying behavior.

The Decorator pattern follows the principle of open-closed design, which means that classes should be open for extension but closed for modification. This pattern enables you to extend the behavior of individual objects dynamically, without affecting other objects of the same class.

Key components of the Decorator Design Pattern in Java:

  1. Component: This is the interface or abstract class that defines the base behavior that decorators can enhance. It’s the common interface shared by both concrete components and decorators.
  2. Concrete Component: This is the original class you want to enhance with additional functionality. It implements the Component interface.
  3. Decorator: This is a class that implements the Component interface as well. It contains a reference to a Component object and delegates its operations to the wrapped component. This class can have additional state or methods to extend the behavior.
  4. Concrete Decorator: These are the classes that extend the Decorator class and provide specific enhancements or modifications to the original behavior. They override methods of the Decorator class to add new functionality before or after delegating the operation to the wrapped component.

Example: Decorator Design Pattern in Java

We will take an example of Hotel Room for understanding the Decorator pattern. We will take a Standard Room and then decorate it by adding AC and again decorate the AC room with other amenities for making it a Deluxe AC room.

Let us look into the Class Diagram and the Java code.

Class Diagram

Decorator Design Pattern in Java

Java Code

// Component interface
Room Interface


public interface Room {

    public void describeRoom();


// Concrete component
HotelRoom class


public class HotelRoom implements Room {

    public void describeRoom() {
        System.out.print("Hotel Room");



// Decorator class
RoomDecorator Class


public class RoomDecorator implements Room {

    protected Room room;

    public void describeRoom() {

    public RoomDecorator(Room room) { = room;


// Concrete decorator1
ACRoomDecorator Class


public class ACRoomDecorator extends RoomDecorator {

    public ACRoomDecorator(Room room) {

    public void describeRoom() {
        System.out.print(":With AC");


// Concrete decorator2
DeluxeACRoomDecorator Class


public class DeluxeACRoomDecorator extends RoomDecorator {

    public DeluxeACRoomDecorator(Room room) {

    public void describeRoom() {
        System.out.print(":With Deluxe Features");


DecoratorClient Class


public class DecoratorClient {

    public static void main(String[] args) {
        Room room = new DeluxeACRoomDecorator(new ACRoomDecorator(new HotelRoom()));


Hotel Room: With AC: With Deluxe Features

Use-Cases of Decorator Design Pattern in Java

The Decorator Design Pattern is valuable in various scenarios where you need to dynamically add or modify behavior to individual objects without altering the overall class structure. Here are some common use cases for the Decorator Design Pattern in Java:

  1. Graphical User Interfaces (GUIs):
    • In GUI applications, decorators can enhance UI components. For instance, decorators can add borders, shadows, or tooltips to buttons and panels without changing their core implementation.
  2. Text Formatting and Output:
    • Decorators can be used to modify the output of text by adding formatting options such as bold, italic, underline, or color. Each decorator class corresponds to a specific formatting feature.
  3. I/O Streams:
    • In Java’s I/O library, decorators like BufferedReader and BufferedWriter wrap around basic stream objects. They provide additional buffering and functionality without altering the underlying stream classes.
    • In a coffee shop application, decorators can be used to customize coffee orders with various toppings (milk, sugar, whipped cream) and extras (caramel, chocolate). Each decorator adds a different component to the base coffee.
  4. Data Validation and Filtering:
    • Decorators can be employed to validate or preprocess data before it’s used. For example, a data validation decorator can check user input for correctness before proceeding.
  5. Logging and Auditing:
    • Decorators can enhance logging functionality by adding timestamps, user IDs, or additional context information to log entries.
  6. Security and Permissions:
    • In an application where user roles and permissions are crucial, decorators can add security checks to methods or operations, ensuring that only authorized users can perform specific actions.
  7. Web Application Filters:
    • In web development, filters can be implemented using decorators. Decorators can modify the request and response objects in a chain-like manner, allowing you to perform actions such as authentication, compression, or logging.

Pros of Decorator Design Pattern in Java

Here are some pros of using the Decorator Design Pattern in Java:

  1. Open-Closed Principle: Extends behavior without changing existing code, ensuring maintainability.
  2. Dynamic Enhancement: Dynamically adds/modifies behavior at runtime for flexibility.
  3. Separation of Concerns: Encapsulates enhancements, maintaining code modularity.
  4. Reusability and Composition: Combines decorators for various configurations.
  5. Single Responsibility: Each decorator focuses on specific enhancements.
  6. Granular Control: Selectively applies enhancements to specific objects.
  7. Complexity Management: Breaks down complex behavior into manageable parts.
  8. Extensibility: Simple addition of new decorators for new features.

Limitations of Decorator Design Pattern in Java

The Decorator Design Pattern, while offering several benefits, also has certain limitations that should be considered when applying it in Java and other programming languages. Here are some limitations of the Decorator Design Pattern:

  1. Complexity: As you add more decorators to enhance an object’s behavior, the number of classes and combinations can grow significantly. This complexity might make the codebase harder to understand and maintain.
  2. Order of Wrapping: The order in which decorators are applied can be crucial. Changing the order of wrapping might lead to unexpected behavior, which can be challenging to debug.
  3. Duplication of Code: If multiple decorators share similar code or functionality, there can be a risk of code duplication across decorator classes.
  4. Tight Coupling: Decorators are tightly coupled to their specific components. This can make it challenging to modify or replace components without affecting decorators.
  5. Design Complexity: Overuse of the Decorator pattern can lead to a design that’s overly complex, making it harder for developers to understand and maintain the code.

Conclusion: Decorator Design Pattern in Java

This comprehensive article delved into the intricacies of the Decorator Design Pattern in Java. Key takeaways include:

  • Pattern Overview: The Decorator Design Pattern in Java is a structural approach allowing the addition of functionality to existing classes without modifying their structure. Decorator classes wrap around the original class, enabling dynamic behavior extension.
  • Components: The pattern involves key components, including the Component interface/abstract class, Concrete Component (the base class), Decorator (enhances base behavior), and Concrete Decorator (implements specific enhancements).
  • Example: The article presented a Hotel Room example, illustrating the creation of a decorated room hierarchy, such as Standard Room, AC Room, and Deluxe AC Room. The Java code demonstrated how decorators add features to the base room.
  • Use-Cases: Various practical use-cases for the Decorator Design Pattern were discussed, spanning GUI enhancement, text formatting, I/O streams, coffee shop customization, data validation, logging, security enforcement, and web application filters.
  • Pros: The benefits of using the pattern were highlighted, including adherence to the open-closed principle, dynamic enhancement, separation of concerns, reusability, and extensibility.
  • Limitations: The article addressed the limitations of the Decorator Design Pattern, encompassing potential complexity, order of wrapping concerns, code duplication, tight coupling, and design intricacy.

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