Al Fresco Dinner Party Series: Decorating Your Patio for a Party

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    You’ve got the ideal outdoor living space; now you need the décor to match so that you can host your dream patio parties. This installment of our Al Fresco Dinner Party Series is dedicated to giving you tips for your décor. You can get your space ready for a simple or outlandish party, whichever you’re planning. First, we’ll consider whether you should go for timeless décor or a themed party.

    Timeless Dinner Party Décor or Themed Dinner Party Décor?

    Should you choose timeless décor for your dinner party or invest in a theme for an extra festive, unified look? Generally, we believe that the reason for your gathering should dictate the décor. If you are gathering for a specific holiday or event, such as the Fourth of July or a birthday party, you should choose themed décor that celebrates that event. If this isn’t a specific event, or if the event isn’t the main focus of the gathering, it is better to choose timeless décor that works for any occasion.

    Tips for Timeless Patio Party Décor

    Timeless décor for your outdoor living space calls for simple centerpieces, greenery that reflects the landscape around you, and the occasional pop of color.

    For materials, choose something that matches your patio, decking, or your other outdoor finishes. For example, those who have brass fittings on their wooden deck could choose brass utensils and bowls or more natural wooden cutlery.

    Then, hone in on your centerpieces, where you can make a dramatic statement or keep it simple. Personally, we love to choose soft green ferns and other potted plants for our centerpieces and to soften hard corners. You can match the pots to your other finishes or use them to provide color and contrast.

    Other great timeless centerpiece ideas include:

    • Glass vases with flowers taken from your garden. Options include hydrangea, roses, black-eyed Susans and other perennials. Cutting annuals is fine, but they won’t grow back! If you don’t have many perennials in season right now, remember that even a single stem in a vase can look lovely.
    • Bowls of fruit can make excellent, simple centerpieces. Choose unusual fruit for a more surprising look, such as brass-colored pears, pomegranates, pineapples, rutabaga, and small squash.
    • Another simple idea is to collect your favorite fresh herbs and slices of citrus, put them in a mason jar with water, and top them with a floating candle. The candle’s warmth should help the air to waft with the smell of your herbs and citrus.

    You can add other décor to make your centerpieces more dramatic. We suggest table runners and fairy lights, especially if the party will go into the evening.

    Tips for Themed Outdoor Living Décor

    If you’re entertaining in your outdoor living space for a holiday, you have the opportunity to pick some themed décor and really heighten the mood.

    We find that color is consistently among the most important elements of our themed décor. You need to match the holiday and bring out the best in the existing colors in your outdoor living space. Therefore, the exact shades you choose are probably too personal for us to generalize about here.

    However, once you’ve chosen your colors, we do have some interesting ideas to help you incorporate them. Try adding your themed colors to the following:

    • Pillowcases
    • Lights
    • Furniture covers
    • Place-mats or table runners
    • Towels and other guest amenities
    • Centerpieces
    • Plate covers
    • Food

    Note that if you invest in a specific color of towels, lights, pillows, or furniture covers, you can reuse them for several holidays; for example, red works for birthdays, Easter, and Valentine’s. Blue works for the Fourth of July, birthdays, and winter themes. Just ensure your décor doesn’t have a holiday pattern.

    Don’t forget that specific plants can fit into holiday themes. We love adding thematic greenery to our centerpieces or throughout our entertaining areas. If they match some of the plants in your landscaping, then that’s all the better to create a more unified space.

    Is your outdoor living space not quite living up your entertaining goals? Maybe it’s too dated or practical to host a modern party in? If you’re ready to have your own outdoor living space to host your best parties, contact us today to get started.

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    About The Author

    Robyn is a 2009 Graduate of the Kansas State University Department of Horticulture. She grew up in South East Kansas where she graduated from Humboldt High School. She was a Kansas State University Leadership Scholar and President of the Horticulture Club. She married Bret in 2009 and they have a daughter Ellie, born in 2021. Their family is completed by three adopted dogs.

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