Summer is a time of year spent entertaining en plein air: garden parties, picnics in the park, bonfires at the beach, graduation celebrations, and barbecues with a menu that’s fresh off the grill.
For that kind of social calendar, you’ll need a setup that inspires a relaxed atmosphere and easygoing lounging among your guests. Find inspiration in the season itself: Head outdoors for lush greenery, shoreline stones, and river rocks, seasonal flowers like peonies, sunflowers, and dahlias the size of dinner plates. There are seashells to be coveted from the shoreline and made into vases or an easy centerpiece. Pillowy seats and an array of bright potted plants create the perfect setting for an outdoor dinner on the front porch. Deck out your yard with tiki torches as a festive way to bring island style home and to light up the night without electricity (bonus points if yours also drive away pesky bugs). You can also use them to line a path or surround a patio.
As the long summer days melt into balmy nights, ease the transition—and extend the fun—by dining outdoors under a private starry dome of twinkling candles or café lights. Hanging a set of miniature glass lanterns from your patio umbrella not only creates the effect of a magical chandelier, it also makes more table space for an inventively placed centerpiece. Whether you’re looking for a new idea to spruce up the beach house, the lakeside cabin, or your own home, we have the ideas to enliven your living space.