With so much entertaining still being moved out-of-doors—maybe we’re just used to it, maybe it’s transitional, maybe it’s the “new normal,” but it is a fact—your outdoor space is likely seeing more use than ever before. For that reason, it may be time to trade in the camp chairs you used all quarantine long for some proper outdoor furniture. You want to entertain graciously and with the same comfort and style as you do indoors, so let’s talk about making your patio into a true outdoor living area where you will love to spend time as a family or entertaining.
Evaluate your yard the same way you did the first time you ever saw it when house shopping. Is there already an outdoor space configured for eating, chatting, enjoying a fire, etc., or do you still need to define one? If so, what area makes sense? Is there a bowery corner or a sunny patio? What existing hardscape can you use? Find the “good bones” you would look for in a living room or kitchen. Once you identify the right area, whether it’s one you’ve been using or a newly-imagined space, you need the makings of a real room.
Think about how you entertain as well as how you live day-to-day. For my own little family of three, I chose to decorate the stone patio under our pergola as an intimate sitting room, with two generously-cushioned teak loveseats and a matching rocking chair. Consider the basics of furnishing any living room; a U-shaped conversation area is how to begin furnishing a gracious room. Whether you go with elegant teak wood, low-maintenance All Weather Recycled furniture or an eclectic mix of pieces is entirely a matter of taste. You might try alternating the coffee table with a free-standing fire pit seasonally to maximize your use of the space.
What do you have in your living room, hearth room, or family room? The sofas and chairs are likely flanked by end tables, there will be a lamp or two, you’ll have chosen art for the walls. . . you may have included a fragrant candle or a basket of comfy throws for cool evenings. In order to have a true outdoor living room, you need all of those things! Look for teak tables, or ceramic garden stools that work beautifully as end tables but can easily serve as auxiliary seating. Lamps probably won’t work outside, but you can string up some pretty café lights, and light candles as well. Be creative when it comes to including artwork outdoors; I spray-painted an out-of-date metal wall hanging and nailed it right to the privacy fence! Check out Pinterest for ideas if you don’t have one off the top of your head. Definitely include a basketful of cozy throw blankets for cool evenings. It shows great consideration for your guests’ comfort!
Outside can be hot and sunny, or buggy, or damp. Sadly, not every single get-together will fall on a day offering ideal conditions, so think about how you can make your guests comfortable. Shade, a misting station, fans—both electric and hand fans—and a kiddie pool for soaking feet all offer welcome relief in the heat. Have sunscreen and insect repellant on hand. In the same way top-notch hostesses will sleep in their own guest rooms from time to time to make sure there is everything a guest might need in there, really use your outdoor living area yourself and it will naturally become as comfortable and well-appointed as your interior spaces.
I know several families whose homes boast furnished lanais, complete outdoor kitchens, pools and hot tubs, enormous mounted televisions, multiple seating areas and play spaces to rival public parks. If you already have a set-up like that, please invite us to your next party! Or, if you’ve decided now is the moment for your family to create the yard of your dreams, go all out! It’s terrific if you wish to do that and are able to! But of you are just realizing that you want to step up your game a bit and create a real outdoor living room, we are here to help. Not only does Lands’ End offer top-quality outdoor furniture and home accents to help you make an outdoor space as pretty and comfortable as any living room, we are happy to offer you the encouragement and ideas you need to get it done!