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How to Entertain Outside in Style

Kerrie Kelly, Design Partner for Kindred Outdoors & Surrounds

22 May 2023

Entertaining outside is a year-around way of living in California.

Warmer days and longer evenings call for eating delicious food in the open air. Seasonal menus are only complemented by fireside fun and all of the thoughtful details when you watch the sun go down, so don’t forget any of the below next time you take your entertaining outside.

Mixing patterns when creating your outdoor oasis is a must. Decorative pillows, throw blankets and even festive dish and glassware can really make outdoor entertaining feel like a celebration. Play off your home’s interior color palette and go bold outdoors using a mix of stripes, plaids and florals for your fabric and accessory selections. 

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Pictured: Lyra Fire Bowl with Aged Teak Honed Finish

Alfresco dining can be relaxed and informal, so don’t let the pressure of entertaining and its clean up deter you from enjoying your outdoor spaces. Plates, cups and serving ware can be made of easily washed, reusable plastic or recyclable paper so everyone in the family can enjoy without worry.

Consider color and texture and don’t hesitate to mix a variety of patterns while styling in your desired color scheme. Cutting boards can work double duty as beautiful serving pieces for passed appetizers, and flowers or greens from your yard can be lovely centerpieces to tie all of the dining table elements together.

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Wildflowers in pots, single stem arrangements and seasonal fruits allow the conversation and the food to be uninterrupted while adding some life and happiness to your party. 

Firepits and fire bowls create a gathering place and centerpiece conducive to conversation. Treat this area just as you would areas of your home’s interior—add in plenty of pillows, throw blankets and side tables for drinks.

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Pictured: Infinite Fire Bowl with Oyster Shell Honed Finish

Make space at the bar for lots of ice, lemon, fruit, mint and salt. For pre-dinner cocktails, serve margaritas or martinis with nibbles like nuts, dried apricots and homemade Parmesan crisps. Serve bubbly water with wine at dinner and allow guests to garnish as desired.

Add in votives for ambiance on the table and incorporate layers of exterior light that can be dimmed. Arrange candles in jars or hurricane lamps for instant atmosphere.

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Prepare some throw blankets and shawls should the night cool off. This keeps guests warm and comfortable without having the need to retreat indoors.

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Pictured: Lyra Fire Bowl with Aged Teak Honed Finish

How will you make the most of your outdoor space all year long? Let us know in the comments!

Kerrie Kelly, Design Partner for Kindred Outdoors & Surrounds

Kerrie Kelly knows that Everyone Deserves Great Design™. With that vision, Kerrie founded her California-based Kerrie Kelly Design Lab (KKDL) in 1995 to make great design more accessible. As CEO + Creative Director of KKDL, she leads a team of exceptional designers and has built long-term relationships with her brand partners. Kerrie is a Fellow, Design Luminary Award recipient and Past-Chair to the National Board for American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) and a Global Connect Advisor for the National Kitchen & Bath Association (NKBA). Her insights on the latest design trends and new products have been featured in The Washington Post, Real Simple, Houzz, and other national and regional publications.

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