Decorator design Pattern in Java with Example Java Tutorial
I was thinking to write on decorator design pattern in Java when I first wrote 10 interview questions on Singleton Pattern in Java. Since design pattern is quite important while building software and it’s equally important on any Core Java Interview, It’s always good to have clear understanding of various design patterns in Java. In this article we will explore and learn Decorator Design pattern in Java which is a prominent core Java design pattern and you can see lot of its example in JDK itself. JDK use decorator pattern in IO package where it has decorated Reader and Writer Classes for various scenario, for example BufferedReader and BufferedWriter are example of decorator design pattern in Java. From design perspective its also good idea to learn how existing things work inside JDK itself for example How HashMap works in Java or How SubString method work in Java, that will give you some idea of things you need to keep in mind while designing your Class or interface in Java. Now let’s Move on to Decorator pattern in Java.

Java Decorator Design Pattern

In this Java tutorial we will see:
What is decorator pattern in Java?
When to use decorator pattern in Java?
How to use decorator pattern in Java?
Example of decorator design pattern
Advantage and Disadvantage of decorator pattern in Java
What is decorator design pattern in Java?

· Decorator design pattern is used to enhance the functionality of a particular object at run-time or dynamically.
· At the same time other instance of same class will not be affected by this so individual object gets the new behavior.
· Basically we wrap the original object through decorator object.
· Decorator design pattern is based on abstract classes and we derive concrete implementation from that classes,
· It’s a structural design pattern and most widely used.

I prefer to answer What is decorator design pattern in point format just to stress on important point like this pattern operator at individual object level. This question also asked in many Core Java interviews in Investment banks

Problem which is solved by Decorator Pattern:

Now the question is why this pattern has came into existence what is the problem with existing system, so the answer is if anyone wants to add some functionality to individual object or change the state of particular object at run time it is not possible what the possible is we can provide the specific behavior to all the object of that class at design time by the help of inheritance or using subclass, but Decorator pattern makes possible that we provide individual object of same class a specific behavior or state at run time. This doesn’t affect other object of same Class in Java.

When to use Decorator pattern in Java

· When sub classing is become impractical and we need large number of different possibilities to make independent object or we can say we have number of combination for an object.

· Secondly when we want to add functionality to individual object not to all object at run-time we use decorator design pattern.

Code Example of decorator design pattern:

To better understand concept of decorator design pattern let see a code example using Decorator Pattern in Java. You can also look inside JDK and find what are classes and packages which are using decorator pattern.

// Component on Decorator design pattern

public abstract class Currency {
String description = “Unknown currency”;

public String getCurrencyDescription() {
return description;

public abstract double cost(double value);


// Concrete Component

public class Rupee extends Currency {
double value;

public Rupee() {
description = “indian rupees”;

public double cost(double v){
return value;


//Another Concrete Component

public class Dollar extends Currency{
double value;

public Dollar () {
description = “Dollar”;

public double cost(double v){

return value;



// Decorator

public abstract class Decorator extends Currency{

public abstract String getDescription();


// Concrete Decorator

public class USDDecorator extends Decorator{

Currency currency;

public USDDecorator(Currency currency){
this.currency = currency;

public String getDescription(){
return currency.getDescription()+” ,its US Dollar”;


//Another Concrete Decorator

public class SGDDecorator extends Decorator{
Currency currency;

public SGDDecorator(Currency currency){
this.currency = currency;

public String getDescription(){
return currency.getDescription()+” ,its singapore Dollar”;


Now its time to check currency.

public class CurrencyCheck {

public static void main(String[] args) {

// without adding decorators

Currency curr = new Dollar();

System.out.println(curr.getDescription() +” dollar. “+curr.cost(2.0));

//adding decorators

Currency curr2 = new USDDecorator(new Dollar());

System.out.println(curr2.getDescription() +” dollar. “+curr2.cost(4.0));

Currency curr3 = new SGDDecorator(new Dollar());

System.out.println(curr3.getDescription() +” dollar. “+curr3.cost(4.0));

Explanation of the code:

We can understand this in following term;
1. Component Interface: In our example Currency interface is component which used on its own or we need decorator for that.
2. Concrete Component: it implements Component and we add new behavior to this object at dynamically. Dollar and Rupee are the concrete implementation of currency.
3. Decorator: Decorator contains a HAS a Relationship in simple word we can say it has a instance variable that holds reference for component they implement same component which they are going to decorate. Here a Decorator is an abstract class which extends the currency.
4. Concrete Decorator: it’s an implementation of Decorator So USD Dollar and SGD Dollar are the implementation of Decorator contains instance variable for component interface or the thing which they are going to decorate.

Advantage of Decorator design Pattern in Java

In brief we see what the main advantages of using decorator design patterns are.
1. Decorator Pattern is flexible than inheritance because inheritance add responsibilities at compile time and it will add at run-time.
2. Decorator pattern enhance or modify the object functionality


Main disadvantage of using Decorator Pattern in Java is that the code maintenance can be a problem as it provides a lot of similar kind of small objects (each decorator).

That’s all on decorator design pattern in Java. To get mastery on decorator pattern I suggest looking inside JDK library itself and finding what classes are decorated, why they are decorated. Also think of scenario where inheritance is impractical and you look more flexibility and try to use decorator pattern in Java there.

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