Frances Bailey knows great design. As a stylist and creative consultant, she works with some of the industry’s biggest names and publications to create stunning rooms, both indoors and out. You’ll see her work in Southern Living and HGTV Magazine, among others. In this guest blog post, she shares quick and easy tips to update your outdoor space for summer entertaining.
It’s high time to head outside. The warm weather is here to stay, and alfresco celebrations – from dinner parties to cocktail hours – are in order. But before you move the party outdoors, take stock of your outdoor area. The start of summer is the perfect excuse to spruce up your space.
It’s easy to do. In fact, with just a few helpful tips, you can create the ultimate entertaining area. And when friends and family stop in for a summer soiree, you’ll be ready. Armed with a signature cocktail, a good playlist and your newly updated outdoor oasis, this season will be one for the ages.
Furniture placement is as important outdoors as it is inside. Set cocktail and side tables within easy reach so everyone has a place to rest their drink. Encourage good conversation with plenty of seating. And have an ottoman or two that pull double-duty as overflow seating for late-arriving guests.
Most importantly, capitalize on the natural beauty of your outdoor area and create a layout that showcases your space. Arrange your seating so guests get the best views while sitting.
Designer tip: If you have the space, create a few different outdoor entertaining areas for guests to roam. It spreads out the party with more places to gather.
Create a color scheme and stick with it – from the cushions to the rug to the tableware. Choose a base (neutrals work great for this), and add pops of complementary color through accents and accessories. Work within your palette, and limit the spectrum to make the biggest impact.
Designer tip: Create a focal point by anchoring your area with a decorative outdoor rug. Find one that is large enough to position your furniture’s front legs on.
Add comfort to your outdoor seating with accent pillows so chic, your friends won’t believe they were made to stay outside. Plus, if you’ve already invested in outdoor furniture, new pillows are a quick way to refresh the pieces you have.
Designer tip: Mix patterns, shapes and different-sized pillows for a sophisticated, eclectic look.
Create instant ambience in your outdoor space with an arrangement of hurricanes and lanterns. The soft glow of candlelight is warm and inviting, encouraging guests to gather closer and making for a more intimate evening.
Designer tip: Make sure to stock up on unscented pillar candles so you won’t run out mid-party.
No alfresco affair would be complete without a refreshing summer cocktail. So serve up a new recipe (like a Fresh Juice Gin Cocktail) with all new outdoor entertaining pieces. And whether you set up the spirits on a bar cart or side table, make sure you have ice and extra glasses at the ready.
Designer tip: If you serve a signature drink, label it so your guests know what they’re sipping.
Courtesy of The Entertainologist, Lulu Powers
1 ounce fresh lime juice
1 ounce fresh lemon juice
1 ounce rosemary and mint simple syrup
4 ounces gin
Put all ingredients in a cocktail shaker or ball jar with ice. Shake and pour over ice cubes with rose petals frozen inside them. Add a sprinkle of julienned mint.
That’s it. Five simple steps, and you’re ready for a summer spent outdoors, joined by good friends and family. If you want some more design inspiration, check out Frontgate’s Entertaining Alfresco Pinterest board for this season’s top trends in outdoor living.
Dads weren’t meant to spend all days indoors. Not in meetings. Not hunched over a computer. Come summer, most guys are all about the great outdoors. That’s why on weekends, you find so many of them outside. Grilling, golfing, fishing, restoring old cars … or just kicking back in a hammock with something cold at hand.
Whether you’re celebrating your own dad or acknowledging your husband for all he does for the family, this Father’s Day, give Dad a gift that will make his day … and maybe even his summer.
After a long work week, Dad deserves to hang out at home, enjoying some R&R. If an afternoon nap is on the agenda, give him a taste of the good life with a generously cushioned tufted hammock.
Perfect for the links-loving dad, this heavy-duty organizer has a place for two sets of clubs, shoes, towels, extra balls and more. Now, with all of his golf gear in one place, making that early tee time has never been easier.
… for a smartly styled watch with innovative features that satisfy any dad’s inner techie. And with all the sophistication of a precision crafted analog timepiece, Hercules has forged timeless style with modern advancements for any avid golfer. Just flip the watch face to reveal highly accurate, GPS-powered measurements to the pin.
A simple and inexpensive gadget, the iGrill is a pocket-sized meat thermometer that lets Dad step away from the grill and partake in the fun while still keeping on eye on dinner.
Speaking of partaking in the fun, Dad becomes a master craft brewer with just the push of a button, whipping up all styles of beer – from ales to IPAs. And don’t forget personalized Craft Beer Glasses, each designed to enhance the taste and aroma of Dad’s custom creations.
As the sun dips below the horizon, dads love to build a big fire, stacking log upon log, setting it ablaze and basking in its warm glow. With its oversized basin, the Copper Fire Pit lets him revel in a satisfying fire all night long.
Still searching for the perfect gift? Explore more of our favorite Gifts for Dad.
At Frontgate, we believe in the power of great design – whether it’s a smartly styled room or impeccably crafted furniture. In our passionate pursuit of the world’s best-designed products, we often cross paths with brilliant designers, makers and artisans. They may be the merchants we buy from, the artists we collaborate with or the industry’s biggest celebrities.
On Saturday, May 21, HGTV star Vern Yip stopped by our Atlanta showroom.
One of America’s most venerated designers, Vern came by to answer questions and share design tips with Frontgate customers. And while he was in store, he put on a demonstration showcasing how easy it is to update an outdoor furniture set. He transformed our Palermo Collection with three summer-ready styles, all in less than 10 minutes.
Check back soon for an in-depth look at Vern’s outdoor furniture styling tips, and sign up for Frontgate emails to get the latest on upcoming in-store events and guest appearances.
Small-batch spirits, artisanal burgers and hand-worked leather goods … they’re all a part of a new trend. One that eschews mass-produced products in favor of those that are artisan crafted. There’s a renewed appreciation for the premium quality of something meticulously made by hand, and for the skills of those who made it.
So this season, we set out in search of authentic, handmade wares. And it was in India where we fell in love with the beautiful block prints and batik-inspired designs of these lightweight Portuguese Tile Quilts.
A celebration of old-world artistry with intricate patterning, globally inspired designs and impeccable craftsmanship, our Portuguese Tile Quilts are a fusion of traditional European style and time-honored Indian techniques.
Lavishly patterned tiles – known as azulejos – are a major part of Portuguese architecture, with churches, palaces and even homes covered inside and out. Such tilework is a centuries-old art form, featuring elaborate arabesque patterns and baroque portraits of historical events.
Our exclusive quilts bring the beauty of their namesake ceramics to your master suite with intricate geometric and floral mosaics. And each is block printed by hand. It’s a meticulous, time-consuming process, with each one taking a craftsperson several days to complete.
Indian artisans use individual wood blocks to create the complex mix of patterns. And each quilt reverses to a complementary batik-inspired design. Batik is the ancient technique that uses wax to prevent dye from permeating specific areas of the fabric, leaving elaborate, undyed patterns in the cloth.
“Block printing seems like a primitive method, but it’s surprisingly complex once intricate detail and color matching are brought into play,” said designer Betsy Burnham, principal at LA-based Burnham Designs.
Read more about her inspiration trip to India.
With the change of seasons, now’s the time to update your top-of-bed decor. Our handmade Portuguese Tile Quilts deliver sophisticated, old-world sensibilities and masterful artisan craftsmanship. And every lightweight piece is woven to a 400 thread count and printed with eco-friendly inks. Shop this collection, along with other handmade quilts, and welcome summer in style.
Plus, find more suite inspiration on Pinterest.
There's a surprise at every turn in this eclectic pool house by Ovadia Designs for the 2015 Traditional Home Hampton Designer Showhouse. Don't miss the tour! (And stay tuned for glimpses of this year's showhouse surprises...) ---> bit.ly/EclecticDesignWithOvadia