Simplifying Outdoor Entertaining Spaces
You’ve spent a lot of time planning out and creating the perfect outdoor space in your backyard. You entertain a lot, so it’s important to have a great space, but you don’t have to go overboard with the details to create the perfect outdoor entertaining space. Sometimes, simpler is better.
Just because your outdoor space is simple, doesn’t mean that it doesn’t have to look good, or that you can’t get creative. Quite the contrary. Being creative will make the outdoor space your own, and it will look great whenever you want to just sit back and relax, or invite your friends and family over for a great outdoor dinner or party.
Simple and Creative
Entertaining outside does have its share of problems. You have to be prepared for all kinds of weather, and wind can be the bane of any picnic or outdoor gathering. But so can seating. Even though you do a lot of entertaining, it’s important to be able to use the space effectively when you don’t have a large gathering, and a big table can just end up taking a lot of room the rest of the time.
· Creative Seating. You’re not limited to just outdoor chairs when you’re hosting a party or dinner outside. For some extra flair, and better comfort, bring some of your indoor chairs outside. Don’t be afraid to mix it up. Combine normal chairs with bench seating to create a charming dining environment. You can even make it casual, and use blankets and pillows on the ground to create a warm and welcoming dinner environment.
· Heavy Plates. Wind. The wind can ruin an outdoor dinner or gathering in the blink of an eye. No one enjoys having their meal ripped from their hands or off of the table by a healthy gust of wind. Use normal plates instead of paper or plastic. Not only does this instantly make your meal classier, it also keeps the plates and food from blowing away.
· Heavy Decorations. Plates aren’t the only thing you can use to add some extra weight in case of wind. Don’t use lightweight decorations on the table. Use more than one centerpiece, like a row of flower pots or vases that are weighted down. Not only will they make your table look nicer, they’ll serve as extra weights to keep the tablecloth where it’s supposed to be: on the table. If the wind is really bad, use tablecloth clips and weights.
· Mingling Snacks. If all of the food is one place, that’s where everyone will gather. To keep crowds from blocking access, and to encourage your guests to mingle and actually talk to each other, spread the food and snacks around the outdoor space. Use separate stations or buffets for snacks and drinks. Everyone will have to move around in order to grab something to eat or get a drink.
· Creative Comforts. For a simple and clever way to deal with weather, offer dollar store sunglasses. Maybe even have some cheap sun hats. If your party is in the evening and it’s getting a little chilly, you can create shawls out of cheap fabric. These are simple tricks that can go a long way.
· Ambient Music. Depending on the kind of party or dinner that you’re having, you can really step up the mood with some appropriate music. Create a playlist ahead of time, and let the music play in the background.
· Lighting. You can go one step further, and use lighting to add to the ambiance of the party. Using hanging lanterns or twinkle lights creatively, and you can create a more intimate setting for any gathering. Outline walkways with lights to show people where the pathways are, while adding to the ambiance at the same time.
· Small Tables. If your outdoor space is limited on space, you won’t want to take up all of the room with a big table. Use smaller tables to make the most of the space that you do have, without crowding everyone out. Plus, when the party is over, you can move the small tables easier so that you can use your space to relax. You can also use round tables instead of square or rectangle ones. While you might only be able to fit four people around a square table, round tables let you add another one or two people easily, without making anyone feel crowded. And round tables take up less room than a square table.