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Holiday Gift Guide

A Summer Soiree the Lumens Way (Pt. I)

2012 June 20

I’m really excited for summer — the heat, the sun, the friends — but especially planning outdoor parties. I actually tend to geek out on it a bit (you should see my Pinterest!), and I know I’m not the only one. (In fact, a few of us have teamed up to create a signature Lumens cocktail in honor of outdoor summer parties, to be revealed in Pt. III of this series!)

Alfresco Table & Bench by Loll Designs

While the party itself can be a ton of fun, it can seem pretty overwhelming if you’re the one hosting. When wanting to host a modern fiesta and avoid any major issues, I always follow 3 basic guidelines (divided into 3 parts) that practically guarantee every summer soiree will be a hit.

1. Part I: Build from the Ground Up

Think of planning an outdoor party like building a home. From foundation to finishing details, each step in the process is carefully considered and executed at just the right moment. First, the foundation is laid and the walls are built. As with the style of a house, the style, or “look and feel” of a party should be determined early in the game. Furniture, furnishings and worry-free lighting are all founding aspects of a party that provide ambiance and atmosphere.

Furniture

I prefer seating with cushions or soft backs. Perfect posture gets uncomfortable quickly and it’s much easier for folks to relax when their backs don’t have to work as hard. And I like to provide enough seating for most *but not all* of the guests. This keeps things moving, creating a fluid, active atmosphere where mingling is bound to happen.

Furniture also offers an excellent solution for adding color to a landscape. I love seeing a splash of red or blue in the seating arrangement instead of leaving it entirely up to the foliage. It’s so unexpected and fun. My favorite picks for this summer come from Loll Designs, which just became available at Lumens. They have great seating and table options that combine comfort, class and vibrant color together in an eco-friendly package.

Loll Designs Alfresco Bench (left & center), Cricket Chair (right)

Furnishings

To furnish the rest of the landscape and really dress up a deck or porch, consider using patterned outdoor fabrics. Again, go for unexpected. Matching color themes can be nice, but for energy and vibrancy, one or two mismatched fabrics are the most exciting. Bright planters and modern bird feeders are also great for adding youthfulness and movement to an otherwise still landscape. These personal touches set guests at ease, making the outdoor space welcoming and homey.

Fatboy Flowerpowersol (left), Loll Designs planters (right)

Worry-Free Lighting

Good outdoor lighting is vital to the life of a late-night party. People want to see and be seen in the best light, and for evening parties, that means candlelight. I personally hate having to watch candles, keeping wicks trimmed and replacing candles when they burn out. But there are many ways to fake the look. Outdoor torches and rechargeable lights offer the same energy and flame-like glow without being as high maintenance (or as wasteful as spending an endless amount of money on something that just burns out in an hour and is then sent to the landfill). Think long-term. Candlelight never goes out of style and doesn’t become obsolete as the seasons change, so invest a little now on a reusable alternative and enjoy it year-round for years to come.

FUOCO Tabletop Gel Firepit by Blomus (upper left), Lighthouse Oil Lamp by Menu (upper right), Imageo Tealights by Philips (center)

Stay tuned for:

Pt. II: Serve it Up in Style – key tools & accessories for serving food & drinks.

AND

Pt. III: Making a Menu Memorable — Unique ideas from casual to classy, featuring the Lumens┬áSignature Cocktail!

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