Inspiration Solutions

How to Create an Entertaining Outdoor Space

Written by Lauren

There’s no denying it— spring is here; bringing with it brighter days, longer evenings and more opportunities to enjoy the outdoors. What better way to kick off the season than by sprucing up your patio or backyard? Creating an outdoor dining room is a perfect strategy to spend more time outside and makes for the perfect evening entertaining friends. Follow these easy steps to take your space from average patio to playful outdoor dining and lounging area.

Designate a Dining Area

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One of the key tenets of backyard design is to create designated areas for different activities. By separating your dining table from a lounging area or barbecue grill, the space can feel more like a dining room and less like a haphazard mix of patio furniture. Plus, it allows your guests to circulate and appreciate your yard space. Separate a dining table and chairs from another area with seating or lounge furniture to encourage guests to eat at the dining table.

Speaking of furniture, consider investing in a beautiful outdoor dining table and chair set for a more upscale feel. It doesn’t have to be matchy-matchy; in fact, creating contrast with different pieces will make your yard more interesting and welcoming. Choose one classic element to ground your design, like a simple outdoor dining table, and then let your chairs add some punch.

Make Room to Roam

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Once you’ve created the perfect dining space, it helps to create a secondary seating area for guests before or after a meal. An ideal spot is near the barbecue, so the chef can socialize while they cook. The area can be as simple or as elaborate as you choose; even just a couple of chairs with a small side table will invite people to sit and converse away from the dining room table. This trick will make your yard feel bigger–and entertaining easier–since hosts can easily coordinate meals and set the table without guests in their way.

Invite people to move around your outdoor space by creating several pockets of chairs, or keep it simple with one area designed for hanging out. No room for lounging? No worries–you can still create a small spot for conversation. Putting a statement chair in a corner, where it won’t take up much room and will allow people to congregate away from the table until you’re ready for everyone to sit down.

Kick up the Color

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Since neutrals tend to reign in backyard furniture, adding a splash of color can bring your backyard life and energy. In a dining area, try pairing a traditional table with punchy fluorescent chairs for a unique effect. Or, if you’re looking for a less bright approach, pieces in classic colors like red or blue make less of a bold statement, but still add interest to your dining area.

For a smaller dash of brightness, outdoor pillows are always a exciting addition to any backyard space, as are colorful pots or lanterns for a little bohemian flair. Throw blankets are another option for color and pattern, and they’re a hit with guests of all ages. Hang them over the edge of a chair for easy access and visual variety.

Keep Everyone Comfortable

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One thing people often forget about outdoor entertaining is that weather shifts can really dampen the mood (no pun intended–we hope). Prevent late afternoon heat stroke by installing outdoor fans overhead; they will ensure that everyone can beat the heat while still enjoying fresh air.

While heat can be troublesome, for others cold can be harder to deal with. Heat lamps are one way to keep the cold away, but the best way to keep guests outside to enjoy the night? Fire pits. With a variety of styles to choose from, a fire pit or fire table is a great addition to any backyard entertaining space. Arrange dining room chairs around it after dinner for roasted marshmallows, or purchase extra chairs for the perfect lounging area without any hassle.

Spring and summer are the ideal time to dine outside, especially with friends and family. There are a few pitfalls to spending the evening in the backyard, but they’re easily avoided by creating designated areas for eating and lounging, prioritizing your guests’ comfort, and creating a fun atmosphere with great decor. Try incorporating some of these tricks in your yard before your next outdoor party and see the difference such small design changes can make. Cheers!

About the author



Lauren Walters is a freelance writer and marketer who lives in Sacramento. She loves good design, cooking, and antique stores. When she's not writing or moving her furniture around her house, you can find her out hiking Northern California's amazing trails.

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