Outdoor Entertaining Ideas
Type “outdoor entertaining ideas” into Pinterest and enter a world of chalkboard signs, thirty-ingredient cocktails, and bar carts that double as a fully loaded SUV. The internet would have you believe that prepping for a barbecue is akin to planning a wedding.
Don’t worry. Just because you aren’t distilling your own elderflower gin doesn’t mean you can’t mix a dang good cocktail or throw a hashtag-worthy soiree. Entertaining is even easier when you can rely on a solid decoration foundation. We’ve put together some practical entertaining ideas so your patio can reach peak party without maximum effort.
Furniture to Fit Your Hosting Style
What type of outdoor gatherings do you like to host? Are feisty fiestas your jam? Or are charming luncheons better suited to your groove? Choose outdoor furniture that’s in step with your unique entertaining swagger. The Sylva dining chair is better for a long, leisurely meal, while the Dot chair is light and easy to move — perfect for setting up an impromptu dance floor. Choose accordingly.
If your vision of entertaining brings to mind the provincial elegance of a Jane Austen novel — with less relationship drama — the sensible style of the garden party could inspire your furniture choices.
While you’d find lavish, ornamental furniture at a 19th century garden party, old romance and new age minimalism don’t have to be counter-intuitive. New romance = minimalistic expression. (Thanks Tinder.) Choose simple pieces that pair well with white linens, fresh flowers, and your favorite wide-brim sun hat. Think sunwashed woods, light pastel fabrics, and furniture with delicate edges. (Bonjour, Atra round coffee table.)
If you find yourself drawn to metals and raw naturals, you might be interested in a light, powder-coated look. As an example, the beachy grey wicker in our Ora collection evokes a breezy, palatial mood, perfect for enjoying iced tea and long afternoon conversations.
Spark up the barbecue, put on some country, and get ready to shuck some corn. Does your hosting style pay homage to old country values? If potluck and wholesome dining tickle your fancy, set up your yard for a barn dance. Create an approachable time-worn look by blending warm neutrals, worn wood, and mixed metals. Even if the closest your guests have been to a pasture is a vineyard, farmhouse-inspired furniture can charm even the most urban of city folk.
Of course, at the very heart of a communal gathering is food and conversation. For the ultimate BBQ-to-table dinner, gather your guests ‘round — er, rectangle — a single table. The teak Tavola long table fits up to ten guests comfortably with elbow room to spare.
Invest in comfortable, supportive seating so your guests can lose themselves in good company. With a webbed back and padded seat cushion, the Teaka dining chair is the ultimate in pastoral comfort.
If you’re keen on hosting outdoor parties a modern day Gatsby would tip his martini glass to. Hold the champagne fountain — unless of course, that wine’s biodynamic. To get all the swank of the jazz age, but with less pomp and circumstance, infuse your patio with the spirit of industrial style
Use bold geometric forms, striking colors, and sleek metals to set the scene for a roaring summer. Our Gios sectional has curves for decades and is available in a range of bold hues. You’ll catch your guests reclining in this plush, oversized eye-catcher for hours.
If your parties always end in existential talks and acoustic guitars, consider going full flower child.
To create a bohemian hangout with mellow, grounded vibes, choose low-lying furniture, natural materials, and earthy colors. A bonus: using throw pillows as extra seating is not only acceptable but encouraged.
For a grown-up boho look, we love mixing rattan seating with black details and wood table tops. For a look that’s at once down-to-earth and dreamy, pair our Aeri lounge chair with our low-lying acacia topped Latta coffee table; The two pieces balance textures and materials, without being too far out.
Invest in Transitional Pieces.
Think of transitioning your outdoor space like putting on a party dress. You likely wouldn’t wear sequins or a bow tie on your average Monday morning. Likewise, you wouldn’t wear sweatpants to a gala. The same goes for your patio; unless you’re entertaining every night, you’ll likely have to add some pizzazz to make the party really sparkle.
Ever had to bust out your moth-eaten camping gear when surprise plus-fives arrive? For unexpected additions, invest in a few lightweight chairs that sprinkle seamlessly into your decor. Available in almost every color, the Svelti chair can blend in or pop out of your design depending on the mood of your decor.
Another way to add seating is to repurpose an outdoor pouf. Footrest by day, seating savior by night, the Esta ottoman is comfortable and low profile.
Whether you’re a charcuterie board artist or just need an extra place to spread out your appetizers, consider investing in an outdoor side table. A beautiful accent table like Toba is the epitome of party function. Use it as a home for finger foods or an extra surface for beverages.
Maximum Party in Minimal Square Footage.
Trying to fit six people on your two-person patio? Place your furniture around the perimeter to make space for additional seating, more standing room, or a dance floor. (Priorities.) As you’re clearing space, keep traffic flow in mind. Nothing invokes panic like blocking access to the chips — except blocking access to the bubbly.
Small furniture makes a big difference when it comes to economizing your space. Choose furniture with narrow lines, like the Rumi lounge chair, since airy silhouettes make your patio appear larger. Your gaze might pass through the Nimbus graphite side table’s thin, unobtrusive legs, but this small table is like the strong silent type. Its teak top can handle the weight of a thousand metaphorical burgers.
Clean It Up.
April showers bring May flower, but also dead bugs and bird poop. With a touch of TLC and a dab of dish detergent, your patio can go from drab to Marie-Kondo clean in under an hour. All you need is:
- A broom
- Bucket of warm soapy water
- Soft rag
- Soft bristle brush
- Beyoncé on blast
Shake out your seat cushions. Give your deck a good sweep. Wipe down your furniture. Spot clean any signs of life off your fabrics. Not sure if your acacia-topped table requires the same gentle hand as your delicate rattan Daisy lounge chair? We’ve covered the cleaning specifics for you here.
A note on weather.
There are things you can control: the guests you invite, moldy fruit trays at a potluck. And then there are things you can’t: namely the weather.
When we think of killjoy forecasts, we most often think of rain. But the outdoor party’s greatest asset can also be its downfall: the sun. Harsh UV rays, unabated heat, and poor hydration choices are the ultimate party killer. Give your guests a reprieve from the sun by adding a sheltered area or an umbrella to your patio.
You don’t need a dedicated s’mores station to woo your guests. (Although, we wouldn’t say no …) With a thoughtful foundation, a little rearranging, and some weather-proofing, you can transform your outdoor space into an outdoor entertaining venue that fits your personal hosting style.