Is your deck designed for entertaining? Summertime is our favorite time of year to gather with friends and neighbors on the deck or patio. With our beautiful weather, everyone is longing to be outside. And with a fairly short season, we want to make the most of our outdoor spaces. To help you get your deck or patio summer-ready, we’ve gathered some of our favorite decorating ideas.
Of course, if hiring a top interior designer is in your budget, you can have a dream patio like this one, by designer Mark D. Sikes:
Photo by Amy Neunsinger, Design by Mark D. Sikes
What makes this patio so inviting? Aside from the gorgeous color palette, it’s a design that accommodates both dinner parties and relaxed hanging out. If you want to live outdoors like this in summer, you’ll need to create an outdoor living room. Here’s how to make it happen:
Make Your Outdoor Furniture Comfortable
Hard wooden benches or rockers aren’t conducive to hanging out for hours. Add seat cushions and throw pillows from durable outdoor fabrics to make the outside as comfortable as indoors. If you have the space and budget, an outdoor sofa or sectional creates a cozy ambiance.
Outdoor Sectional by Ashley
Teak or metal frames are best, since they can be left outside all year. Traditional wicker will need to be painted every few years. If you’re shopping for wicker, look for resin wicker – it’s weatherproof and looks just like the real thing.
Outdoor fabrics do vary in quality – from cheap and cheerful pillows that only last a season, to high-end acrylic fabrics that last for years. Look for brands like Sunbrella and Outdura for fabrics that are easy to clean and fade-resistant.
Even a simple bench or porch swing can get the “sofa” treatment, with a comfortable seat cushion and collection of throw pillows:
Porch swing by Ballard Designs
Don’t forget tables – your guests need a spot to set down drinks and snacks. Ceramic garden seats are perfect for smaller spaces. They’re portable, stylish, and just big enough to hold a small plate or two.
Add an outdoor rug to tie your seating area together with color and pattern:
Outdoor Rug by Jonathan Yaraghi at Eyely.com
Get Your Deck Ready For Fun
Keep your guests cool with ceiling fans, or a standing fan in a corner to create a breeze. Books and old-fashioned games encourage everyone to put down their devices and unplug. Games like checkers and dominoes are durable and easy for everyone to play, and you can have a basket handy with a frisbee or soccer ball for a quick game on the lawn. If your crowd likes old-school games, a croquet set can be a lot of fun.
Create an Outdoor Dining Room
Whether it’s a bistro set for two or a long table for a crowd, a dining set keeps the party going. If you’re blessed with a long deck, set up a permanent dining table at one end and a seating area at the other, and you’ll always be ready if friends drop by.
Outdoor Wicker Dining Set by Frontgate
If your patio is small and you long for an elegant dining area, a built-in banquette is a great solution. It’s not an expensive project, and a bench can tuck easily into the end of a deck. Add a table and some extra chairs and you can seat a crowd. Plus, you’ll have a comfy reading nook. Splurge on upholstered seat cushions and some gorgeous throw pillows.
Photo by David A. Land, Design by Andrew Howard
For extra seating (or a tiny deck where you only entertain occasionally) this folding dining set from Safavieh is really handy. The table folds down and the chairs store inside the base, so you can use it as a console when you’re not dining:
Source: Home Depot
For outdoor dining, you’ll probably want to set up a serving area. While a console or buffet is ideal, not every deck has space for a dedicated serving piece. Think creatively; re-purpose a potting bench or plant stand with pretty linens and colorful accessories for a charming buffet.
A bar cart is another handy accessory – you can use it on the patio, or move it into the garden. Keep it stocked with bar tools and glasses, so all you need is your favorite drink. The storage drawers and serving tray on this teak cart from Kingsley Bate make it the perfect summer accessory:
Teak Bar Cart by Kingsley Bate
Storage For Outdoor Party Supplies
If you entertain often, it’s a good idea to add some storage to your deck for party supplies. Stock a cabinet or shelf with citronella candles, bug spray, a drinks tub, and a few throws for chilly nights.
Outdoor storage boxes or benches make the perfect spot to store cushions and pillows in winter. Larger storage trunks can even be used as extra seating. When the party’s over, they can hold extra pillows, candles, small rugs, and games.
Baker’s racks or etageres make wonderful spots for seasonal displays, and you can use them for storage and serving too. This piece from Ballard Designs has a storage cabinet at the bottom, and open shelves you can set up as a bar or buffet area:
Etagere by Ballard Designs
It’s the perfect piece to dress up the deck with a vignette of potted herbs or flowers too.
Set up your deck as an extension of your home, and you’ll enjoy being outside all summer. So gather your supplies, mix some drinks, and invite the neighbors over for dinner on the deck! If you’re looking to buy or sell a deck (with a home attached) on the beautiful North Shore of Massachusetts, we’d love to help – just give Sagan Harborside a call at 781-593-6111.