Creating the Ultimate Outdoor Entertaining Space: Tracey’s 3 Top Tips

Is there anything better than hanging out with friends in the fresh, cool air of a beautiful summer evening? Probably not. Combining the convenient proximity of your own kitchen with the irresistible vacation vibes of the great outdoors, a well-designed deck, yard or patio space is truly a game-changer when it comes to the joy of staying in. And while we may think of indoor-outdoor as a California lifestyle, the pleasure of entertaining “al fresco” is achievable almost anywhere with the right setup.

I could write volumes about how to throw an unforgettable outdoor party. But for starters, let’s cover some basics for setting up your space.

Creating the Ultimate Outdoor Entertaining Space: Tracey’s 3 Top Tips

1. Remember that there’s more to outdoor entertaining than dining.

I love a gorgeous outdoor table set for 12 as much as anybody. Probably more. But it’s a mistake to limit the vision for your outdoor room to a traditional dining setup. With comfy, weather-friendly couches and armchairs, cozy fire pits and even an outdoor TV, you can truly move virtually any type of gathering outside in relaxing comfort.

If you’re just getting started, think big and think flexibly! Is there a modular approach that could take your space from cocktails to sports viewing to a gourmet meal depending on the needs of the moment?

Creating the Ultimate Outdoor Entertaining Space: Tracey’s 3 Top Tips

Shop Outdoor Furniture

2. Lighting is just as important in outdoor rooms as it is in interior spaces.

In fact, lighting’s even MORE important outside, since it helps define the space in lieu of walls. And the possibilities are endless. Candles (lots of ‘em!) are endlessly alluring and cast a flattering light. But twinkle lights, string lights and hurricane lamps can also lend a festive glow. Consider building in some subtle exterior electric fixtures, then layering in flame-based lighting for extra dimension and warmth.

With few walls and an open sky above, you can really load up the light sources without excess brightness. In fact, the more sources of gentle illumination you provide, the better everything will look – and that includes you and your guests!

Creating the Ultimate Outdoor Entertaining Space: Tracey’s 3 Top Tips

Shop Hurricane & Votives

3. Accessories push an outdoor space from good to great.

Anyone who thinks outdoor parties call for plastic tablecloths and paper plates is missing out on all the fun. Your prettiest linens, elegant dishes and festive stemware will look positively stunning amidst all that candlelight, so by all means, go ahead and bring ‘em out!

Beyond your basic table settings, the outdoors opens up all kinds of fun in tablescapes, too. Fresh cut flowers can never be wrong, but I love lining up pots of living greens, flowers or herbs on an outdoor table to really dial up the garden vibes.

A big basket of cozy throws is another nice touch that brings texture to your outdoor space while also ensuring guests have a warm layer close at hand as night falls. Bundle up, open another bottle, and let the conversation flow!

Creating the Ultimate Outdoor Entertaining Space: Tracey’s 3 Top Tips

Shop Accessories

A big basket of cozy throws is another nice touch that brings texture to your outdoor space while also ensuring guests have a warm layer close at hand as night falls. Bundle up, open another bottle, and let the conversation flow! 

Creating the Ultimate Outdoor Entertaining Space: Tracey’s 3 Top Tips

Shop blankets