With COVID-19 cases dialing down and vaccination rates up, entertaining and hosting at home is back on the agenda, just in time for summer. The time has finally come once again for backyard barbecues, pool parties, and nights chilling under the stars with friends and family.
“As we return to hosting friends and family in our homes, the casual dinner party is going to make a comeback this summer,” says Lynn Schrage, manager of Kohler Design Services.
One of the best ways to make your home ready for a summer soirée is with a few new products that were made for entertaining. Whether you’re looking to splurge or save, the following items are sure to elevate your outdoor decor.
Your summer get-togethers are sure to be the talk of the neighborhood, which means you’d better have enough seating when you host gatherings.
Barb Fuller, vice president of marketing at the home furnishings company Arteriors, says the company has seen an uptick in people seeking to bring more natural, organic materials, like teak and rattan, into the home.
For a splurge, consider the Horatio Chair ($2,860, Arteriors), which offers texture and personality to any space in need of a statement piece. Another option, this rattan bench ($1,560, Arteriors), is a durable piece that provides numerous seats.
“It’s easy to choose furniture that is harmonious with the overall design aesthetic, but don’t forget to have fun with different finishes, materials, and colors,” says Fuller.
If 2020 opened your eyes wide to the joys of outdoor living, luxe up your outdoor furniture game with a chaise or lounge chair set.
Any of the 12 pieces in the Cuff collection, from the luxury outdoor furnishings brand Danao, are worth investing in, but we especially love the Daybed (danaoliving.com).
“We’re finding more homeowners seeking not only beautifully designed, but comfortable furniture,” says Ann Vering, designer for the Cuff collection. “The intricate weave rope elements provide visual interest … while the thick cushions provide support and comfort to relax outdoors for hours with friends and family.”
No outside entertaining would be complete without a gazebo or pergola to provide shade from the sun.
“Setting up a gazebo in your backyard or on your patio is a great way to create an outdoor living room or dining room,” says Mark Feldman, chief home officer and general manager at Riverbend Home. Some of these structures don’t even require the expense of construction.
Consider a pergola ($759, riverbendhome.com) for a sophisticated look, or a gazebo ($824, riverbendhome.com), which includes mesh netting that will allow airflow but keep the bugs out.
Open-air entertainment center
There’s nothing like gathering around the TV with friends to watch the big game, but what if you can have that luxury in the fresh air of your backyard? A weatherized TV might be just the gadget for you.
“This trend has been around for a while and continues to grow. Thankfully, a lot of us have Wi-Fi that allows us to stream movies and TV shows or sporting events in the comfort of our outdoor spaces,” says Feldman.
Consider this 55-inch outdoor smart TV ($3,499, samsung.com) or this weatherized outdoor TV from LG ($1,949, riverbendhome.com).
Are you looking for a gazebo with less sticker shock, and which requires zero professional help to set up? This 8-foot-by-8-foot gazebo ($332, homedepot.com) should do the trick. It also comes with a mosquito net for those evenings when citronella candles just won’t cut it.
Light up the summer
Set the mood in your backyard with lighting.
“String lights are a great way to add life to a space that typically loses its light by evening,” says Feldman. “Depending on the type of light you like, there are a handful of affordable options.”
Consider these bistro-style string lights ($20, riverbendhome.com), which feature energy-efficient lightbulbs. These are rated for permanent installation and year-round outdoor use.
Alternatively, pick up these waterproof globe lights ($15.99, Amazon), which come in lengths of 25 feet, 50 feet, or 100 feet.
Not ready to commit to an at-home bar? You can still have a mobile cart to go wherever the party does.
“Avoid making dozens of trips in and out of your home by using a bar cart,” says Feldman. These carts simplify entertaining by giving you enough shelf space to wheel out all the servingware you’ll need.
Consider this version with racks for wine bottles and glasses ($200, riverbendhome.com) or be the hostess with the most-ess with this industrial-style storage cart ($99, potterybarn.com).
Elevate the plate
“Paper plates be gone! Upgrade your food presentation with chic dinnerware,” says Feldman.
Let guests eat in style with colorful melamine plastic dinnerware.
The 12-piece Mediterranean-themed Lucca Collection ($80, riverbend.com) is durable, fire- and heat-resistant, and virtually unbreakable.
We’re also partial to these summery salad plates decorated with oranges ($3 per plate, target.com.)
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