Long days and warm summer nights mean plenty of opportunities to entertain family and friends outside. Whether you’re hosting a casual backyard BBQ or gathering together for a formal meal, how you decorate your outdoor space plays a big role in the overall ambiance of your summer party. We asked four of our favorite interior designers for their best outdoor entertaining ideas, as well as how they prepare their space for a summer party.
1. Give your outdoor space a good clean
“When getting ready for the summer season, we usually start by giving our patio a good clean! Sweeping, spraying down, and getting out all of our summer home decor. I like to add some plants for color, pillows and throws for texture, and wash our outdoor rug covers.” – Kristen of @homewithharper
2. Decorate the outdoor dining area
“We eat outside as a family AS MUCH as possible in the summertime. Living in Minnesota, we have plenty of cold months so we make the most of our warmer temperatures. I love to make our outdoor space an extension of our home with cozy elements to make it more welcoming. The addition of the Ruggable outdoor rug to our outdoor dining space has given our entertaining area a welcoming and homey feel.” – Raftyn of @rignellranch
3. Add an extra layer of comfort
“My best outdoor entertaining tips are to offer a variety of seating and add throw pillows for an extra layer of comfort, have multiple sources of lighting i.e string lights and lanterns for ambiance, and of course citronella candles to keep the pests away!” – Nicole of @graceinmagnolias
4. Dress up your poolside
“I always love to make the seating and pool look as inviting as possible for guests. We clean the deck and water, and put out all of my pretty pillows. Then we turn the music on to set the fun mood. Lots of refreshments and snacks are a great idea, too.” – Kelly of @hartley_home
5. Keep guests entertained with good music, games, and refreshments
“Food, drinks, and good music are a pretty good recipe for a great time! If your company has children, I recommend getting a few things to entertain the kids outside, like chalk, bubbles, etc. We always put out a variety of different foods as well as alcoholic and nonalcoholic beverages. We also have a little outdoor speaker that is constantly playing different genres of music. And if your backyard gets direct sun like ours does, I highly recommend a few umbrellas to keep your guests comfortable, as well.” – Kristen
6. Serve easy-to-prep summer party food
“My biggest tip for a summer party is to make it easy! I have a very large serving tray that I load up inside with all of our outdoor entertaining essentials and food and it makes for an easy transition from inside to outside. Limiting the number of times I am running in the house helps us all to enjoy our outdoor space. I also love incorporating summer home decor to dress up the space. I put fresh flowers and pretty lighting on the table, and I have collected some pretty outdoor dishes in neutral patterns, which allows me to mix up the table decor and colors.” – Raftyn
7. Don’t forget to have fun!
“When you’re hosting an outdoor party, don’t forget to have fun! I think your guests feel most at home when you’re enjoying the gathering. Serve foods and drinks that are easy to prepare ahead of time so you’re not working while everyone else is having fun. When we’re relaxed, our guests have a great time!” – Kelly
Readers, what are your favorite summer entertaining tips? Share in the comments, below.