Five Popular Design Features for Outdoor Entertaining

Good weather usually means cookouts, cold brews, and summer soirees. When spring and summer roll in, it’s tough to not get excited, especially after a cold and long winter. To help you host the party (or parties) of the season, I’m listing five must-have designs and features that are flexible enough to fit any budget.

An Outdoor Kitchen
Outdoor Kitchen
Kitchen Designs by Debra

An outdoor kitchen is perfect for hosting large parties or enjoying quiet evenings dining alfresco. If you have a large budget, the sky is the limit, you can include a range of luxurious options including outdoor refrigerators, wine coolers, ice makers, sinks, pizza ovens, custom cabinetry, and lots of prep space. However, don’t despair if that’s not the case. A basic setup with a simple barbeque, a table for prepping, and stylish ice buckets can provide plenty of outdoor fun.

A Seating and Dining Area
Contemporary Outdoor Dining
Utopia Projects

Designate an area big enough for a table, chairs and walkway to and from the kitchen area (whether it is inside or out). Ideally, you have a transitional space that makes getting in and out easy. In most cases, a deck or patio serves as the most ideal location for a seating area. If you have a large budget, make room for an additional pergola and retractable canopy, this will encourage dining al fresco in the rain or shine.

Outdoor Lighting
Outdoor Lighting
Tatiana Takaeva

Outdoor lighting is both functional and aesthetically pleasing, serving as guide for visitors and an accent to your outdoor space. Ideally, a light source above your table or seating area will encourage parties to continue well after sundown. Depending on your budget, you can install built-in or mounted lights, hang an elegant chandelier or lanterns, purchase inexpensive string lights for a festive atmosphere or simply light some candles.

A Well-Stocked Bar
Outdoor Bar
Envision Landscape Studio

If your budget allows you some freedom, a built-in bar with a sink, refrigerator, counter space, and bar stools is ideal. However, a wide array of less expensive dry bars can be purchased. A used vintage dresser can even be repurposed to serve as a fun bar area. Or try using a fashionable cocktail cart with wheels to serve your guests. Chic glassware and cocktails shakers will add to the fun.

An Outdoor Television
Outdoor Television

Consider adding an outdoor television with comfortable seating for enjoying movie nights, watching sporting events, and entertaining friends. A dedicated outdoor home theater with a weatherproof TV and speakers in a protected covered area is great for this purpose. However, if that’s not an option, indoor modern flat-panel TVs are lightweight and easy to bring outside for special events.

Finally, don’t forget to add elegant or festive dinnerware, table decorations, and napkins. If you’re on a tight budget, a patterned sheet you already own or purchased at Goodwill can be fashioned into a fun tablecloth and cut flowers from your garden will create a welcoming atmosphere for guests.

Remember, successful outdoor entertaining depends not only on a good setting but also on good food and good company. So start preparing your outdoor living space for guests with these five must-haves and get ready to party!