As it becomes safe to gather again, we're slowly getting back into the swing of summer entertaining. Since we spent much of last summer quarantined in our homes, we might be a little rusty and need a bit of a refresher on how to host garden parties and casual outdoor soirées again. Planning our first post-pandemic gatherings has us wondering how much seating we need, where we should hang the string lights, and what kind of decorations are actually necessary.
To help us (and you!) get back into the groove of summer party planning, we sat down with HGTV star Jasmine Roth to get her best tips for maximizing your outdoor space on a budget. Roth, who has starred on HGTV's Hidden Potential, Help! I Wrecked My House, and Rock the Block, recently refreshed her backyard space and is spilling all her best entertaining secrets to help you do the same.
Courtesy of Jasmine Roth
For more decorating inspiration, Roth also has a new book coming out in September. House Story: Insider Secrets to the Perfect Home Renovation ($30, Amazon) is available for preorder now.
Roth dished seven expert tips that'll help you make your space entertaining-ready, no matter how much room you're working with. Whether you're hosting in a backyard or on an apartment patio, she'll help you pair seating, functional decor, and ambiance that'll make any summer gathering unforgettable.
Grab a few her favorite pieces (most of them are under $20!) for a quick backyard refresh. Or, if you're looking to totally overhaul your outdoor space, use all of her suggestions to create a totally new look. All that's left to do is invite your guests and plan the summer party menu!
Make It Colorful
No matter how small your space is, you can dress it up with a splash of color to make even the tiniest of patios feel bright and inviting. "Start with adding bright hues like sage green, yellow, or tangerine," Roth says. Plus, this can be one of the most inexpensive ways to dress up your space. For under $30, you can add two of her favorite picks-an outdoor throw pillow ($16, Marshalls) and a lemon-print serving tray ($10, Marshalls)-to your party set-up.
Making everyone feel welcome and comfortable is one of the most important aspects of hosting a gathering, so having enough seating is key. But that doesn't mean you have to break out the boring old folding chairs. Roth suggests combining various elements for a pretty yet functional space. "Seating is having a moment," she says. "Consider changing up the seating game with fun and unique options that complement existing furniture, like an outdoor pouf or seat cushions that add a pop of color." She recommends this blue and white outdoor pouf ($60, Marshalls) that will brighten up your space.
Roth says the right ambiance is the best way to encourage your party guests to spend more time at the get-together-and a touch of mood lighting can do just that. She suggests solar disc lights ($12, Marshalls) to pave a walkway, or inexpensive string lights ($12, Target) you can hang overhead to elevate the atmosphere.
Dress the Table
"Adding an eye-catching tablecloth and decorative centerpiece to an otherwise simple table can transform a frequently used seating area into an intimate, cozy, under-the-stars dining experience," Roth says. For a decor piece that does double duty, she recommends a patterned tablecloth ($13, TJ Maxx) and a solar mirrored lantern ($13, Marshalls) which can double as a centerpiece.
Greenery is Key
"Simple foliage is an easy way to elevate any type of outdoor space, but not everyone has the room for a full garden," Roth says. "Good quality greenery at great prices can make a space feel larger, calmer, and more inviting." Her favorite picks are a hanging planter ($25, Marshalls) for a smaller windowsill space, a small faux plant for your main table area, or a ceramic planter for anyone who has more of a green thumb.
Keep it Casual
If your guest list includes kids or pets, Roth recommends choosing decorative yet sturdy pieces that are still affordable-because breaks and spills are bound to happen! A set of trendy melamine plates ($15, Marshalls) paired with outdoor-friendly plastic cocktail glasses ($2, Target) are perfect for low-key dinner parties with kids, or anytime you don't want to worry about breakables outdoors.
Roll Out a Rug
One of Roth's favorite ways to tie together an outdoor space is to invest in a good outdoor rug. "The great thing about outdoor rugs is they're made for the outdoors," she says. "You never have to bring them indoors, just to bring them back out again. They're a great way to add some texture to flooring, or cover up a patch of dirt outside! And say someone spills something on it or it gets dirty? You just hose it off!" She suggests this trendy patterned rug ($43, Marshalls) that'll help you add color without going over budget.