12 Summer Entertaining Tips

A table setting with jute twine and pink peonies

We’re collaborating with the editors at Domino Magazine to bring you outdoor entertaining tips for summer so you can host your next perfect party. Whether you’re hosting an outdoor brunch in the shade or a pool party for friends, these tips will help you wow your guests! 

If you’re having a dinner party and want to impress your friends or family with a pretty place setting, surprise and delight your guests by using an unconventional material. Above, we wrapped jute twine around rolled napkins to complement the natural look of our woven placemats.

Table decorated with sea shore theme

Next time you invite friends over, why not take a theme and run with it? We played up our coastal theme by using linens in watery blues and scattering the table with sparkling sea shells!

A woven serve ware caddy makes entertaining outdoors easy

If you’re taking the party outside, we love using a serve ware caddy! Fill it up with everything you need to minimize trips from the kitchen to your outdoor space. Plus it’s an easy way to make utensils look cute and organized!

Outdoor table decorated with votives and flowers

If you’re decorating an outdoor space for a summer soirée, think multiples! Use lots of votive candles, several arrangements of flowers, and trios of trays to make an impact.

Pitcher with sangria and blue table linens

When planning your next backyard party, give your party a relaxed feel by making a self-serve bar or an easy-to-serve signature drink. Here, we chose our favorite Blood Orange Sangria recipe.

Tray of watermelon for outdoor party

Let the weather influence your menu! On a hot summer day, nothing is more refreshing than a smorgasboard of cool foods like watermelon, cold soups, and salads!

A poolside patio with a striped umbrella

If your backyard gets full sun, give guests a respite from the heat by using umbrellas to create shade. Better yet, put out sun hats and sunscreen for everyone to help themselves! A sunburn doesn’t make fun party favors.

A garden urn as an ice bucket

Don’t feel the need to buy specialty items for your next party if you can find unexpected things to serve the same purpose. This garden urn becomes a chic ice bucket in a cinch!

Use a bench as a console table or bar if you don't have one

Likewise, an iron bench can serve as an easy bar or console table if necessary. We used this metal bench to hold extra items that couldn’t fit on our table. With a few votives and a potted plant it looks intentional and chic!

An outdoor bar cart for entertaining

If you’re a habitual entertainer in the summer months, we love the idea of adding an outdoor bar cart to your repetoire. All-weather and perfect for summer parties, this one is on our must-have list!

A pool valet makes pool parties a breeze

A pool valet makes pool parties a breeze. Stock it with sunscreen and fresh towels for guests to help themselves. Plus, the tilt-out laundry hampers are the perfect place to discard of your wet towels!

Don’t have wiring in your outdoor room? Don’t fret. We used an outdoor lantern and a remote control LED pillar candle to give our space some mood lighting!

For a chance to win $5,000 for the outdoor party of your dreams, enter to win our Summer Soirée Sweepstakes hosted by domino magazine and Ballard Designs. One grand prize winner will win $5,000 in Ballard Designs merchandise and three winners will receive $500 in Ballard Designs merchandise.

How to Decorate Team

We enjoy spending days interacting with How to Decorate readers. From answering Design Dilemmas to writing How To articles and working with guest designers, our passion is to provide informative and accurate resources to help people solve their design problems.