We all know what happens at warm-weather get-togethers – people want to be outside! Guests will naturally gravitate toward the outdoor living areas of the home. If your home is compact, outdoor areas may not have the square footage to accommodate the entire party, but that space shouldn’t go entirely to waste. If you’re on a larger lot with plenty of yard, convenient proximity to the indoors and a well define “hang out” space is important to keep in mind. The key is to optimize, creating an aura of both spaciousness and coziness at the same time.
Set the Tone with Soft Lantern Lighting
For evening patio parties, a setting sun will steal the show for the first few hours. But once dusk hits, be ready with smooth ambient lighting for your outdoor living space. Hang a series of well-spaced lanterns around the patio area, adding a glow of light that serves as both a rustic chic design element and a practicality as it helps your guests see steps or find their way to the cooler.
Lanterns offer great versatility, as they’re a mobile light source that can be configured in a number of ways. Try a combination of wall-mounted, set on a surface, and hung from a hooked stand for larger spaces. If you’re working with small space, wall-mounting lanterns is a great way to not take up precious surface space. Another beauty of lanterns is that they’ve come a long way since the pioneer days. Rather than dealing with messy fuels, save energy and go solar. Home & Hearth Outfitter’s top choice is the solar light kit in a deep espresso color.
Plan Around a Fire Feature
A warm fire has been the heart of outdoor gatherings for as long as people have stood upright. Our dwelling spaces may have evolved a bit since the Stone Age, but that primal instinct to commune around the flicker of flames remains intact.
Today we’re faced with an astounding variety of fire features for outdoor living areas. Far beyond simple grills and homemade fire pits, contemporary fire features serve as design pieces as they draw people together. The fire source is the focal point of the entire outdoor entertaining space, so choose wisely. Fire pit, outdoor fireplace, or grill? Electric, gas or wood-burning? Standard or customized? Whether it’s the mythic splendor of a fire bowl or the sleek lines of a fire table, find the perfect piece that will wow the party and fit your space.
Minimize Furniture – Less is More
Outdoor furniture has many tasks – to serve a functional purpose, to fit into the visual design scheme of your outdoor living space, and to withstand the wear and tear of year-round weather conditions. Quite frankly, very few furniture items excel at all three. Choose carefully with outdoor furniture – it’s better to have a few pieces that work well than a cluttered space that looks weathered and worn.
As a long-lasting outdoor furniture investment, consider a granite table. A Home & Hearth favorite is the patiobbistro table, which couples nicely with any granite fire feature. Complete the set with a pair of patio bistro chairs in powder coated aluminum for weatherability. Bistro tables are also a great option for smaller outdoor spaces, like an apartment balcony. Just because your outdoor space might be small doesn’t mean you can’t make it an inviting, relaxing place to hang out or have a drink with a couple friends. Padded outdoor rocking chairs is another favorite furniture item for cozy fireside chats or to make your balcony the perfect comfortable reading area.