Bringing the Party Outside

Is summer almost here?  We’ve had a long winter and I am looking forward to sunshine and outdoor dining!  I’ve always been very lucky to have homes with outdoor spaces, from living in a small apartment with a tiny deck to a rental with a yard to our current townhouse with a lovely outdoor oasis.  I think I have learned a lot from these various spaces and wanted to share some tips on bringing the party outside.

The updated patio is coming up this week (see inspiration photo above) and before the big reveal I thought I’d share some tips on how to get your outdoor space ready for summer gatherings!  No matter what your budget is or how big of space you have, there are always options! First figure out what works for the space, what your budget is for new items, how you can refresh pieces you already have and go from there!  Like I always say, make a plan!

TIPS ON HOW TO BRING THE PARTY OUTSIDE

1. LIGHTS – I think lighting makes a huge difference.  We have string lights throughout our yard (our old yard is featured above) and I always make sure to plug them in before the party starts.  Then you can transition the party from day to night without anyone noticing.  I found these string lights on sale at Wayfair, they are the same brand as mine and have been very reliable as we keep them up all year long.  Not sure where to start?  Check out the outdoor lighting section to see what would work with your space.

2. ZONES- I love separating the various areas and creating the illusion of more space.  I have previously tried to put furniture out without defining the areas and I think it can look messy.  Outdoor rugs, like this one from Wayfair, are key.  By placing an outdoor rug under your dining table or in front of your patio furniture, you’ll notice how it defines the space, makes it cozier and it’s also wonderful for bare feet in the summer.  Have a large space?  A large rectangular rug would go nicely.  Only a small space?  A round rug would work great.

3. SERVING – An outdoor cart or small table or even a cooler are your best friend during the summer months.  As a host the last thing you want to do is spend all your time running in and out of the house.  If you create a place you can use during the party for ice or snacks or as a mini bar it’ll not only look stylish, but you’ll have more time to spend with your guests.

4. SEATING – Whether you have a small patio or large yard, bringing the party outside is always possible, the key is to have extra seating. Last summer we seemed to constantly run out of seats.  I wanted to incorporate some extra seating without cluttering the yard. I bought some side tables, like these ones, and guess what?  They double as stools so we always have extra seating on hand.  Do you need something more than a stool?  I think it is always a great idea to look at the seating section.  From there you can easily choose a category or see what will work in your space.

5. STORAGE – This is a must!  We live in a rainy city so frequently need to cover or store our outdoor cushions.  If you have space for a small outdoor storage bench, they look great and can also double as seating.  If you don’t have room for outdoor storage, I would suggest investing in a cover for your cushions.

6. BBQ – If you want to move the party outside, you need to be ready to cook outdoors!  Get the BBQ area prepped before summer kicks off!  Set up a space for your BBQ, clean it up, get your tools ready, making sure to define a space for outdoor cooking. We like to leave a jug of oil by the BBQ, along with some plastic serving dishes, again saving those trips back into the house.  Don’t have a BBQ area? Make one!  We use an old electrical spool as our BBQ table, added some hooks for tools and it really brings character to the yard.

7. DINING – Whether you have patio furniture or an outdoor dining table I would highly suggest plastic plates, and as you can see from the photo above outdoor plates have come a long way!  We have a set like these ones and I don’t have to stress about broken plates, the clean up is easy and they bring a wonderful summer vibe to the party.  I also recently purchased some plastic wine glasses that look really great!  You’d think they were glass.

Hopefully these tips help you get your outdoor space ready for those summer get-togethers and easily expand your living space during the summer months no matter how big your outdoor space is!

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