The days are longer, the air is warmer and indoor entertaining has gone into hibernation. As the weather warms, we move the indoors outdoors, filling our yards with nooks that are equal parts cozy and stylish. Joanna Goodman, the director of interiors for Christopher Architecture & Interiors, let us in on five easy summer decorating tips.
Provide Plenty of Seating
Mixing and mingling while standing up is common at summer bashes, but guests will want to rest tired legs at some point—probably all at once when the food comes out. Goodman suggested having ample seating, thick cushions and throw pillows to encourage guests to linger and converse longer. Sofas and chairs are traditional (and great!) options, but Goodman also recommended ottomans. “Not only are ottomans a place to prop up your feet, they are flexible and can easily be moved around to provide additional seats for guests,” Goodman said. Bonus: they can double as a surface for refreshment serving trays.
As far as fabric goes, the indoor/outdoor options are abound thanks to today’s technology. “Fabric sources like Sunbrella, Perennials and Great Outdoors are just a few name brands that provide a wide-selection of fabrics in various textures, colors and patterns to compliment your décor.” Another plus? Indoor/outdoor fabrics are easy to clean and look fresh year-round. “Simply brush off loose dirt, spray on cleaning solution made of water and mild soap and use a soft brush. Then, rinse and air dry.”
Light Up the Night
On a balmy night, affairs continue long after the sun goes down. “An easy way to make your party go from just OK is how you incorporate lighting.” Goodman loves to create a festive setting by grouping lanterns on tabletops or scattering them along walkways. “Consider using battery-operated candles inside lanterns to make welcomed summer breezes worry-free.” Most brands of battery-operated candles come with a remote control, which tends to make life easier. “For ambient lighting, liven up your party with string lights overhead…[they] are a great choice since they provide a soft glow without having to turn on bright spotlights.”
Add Some Shade
Throwing shade at a party is a no-no (unless you’re gunning to be a Real Housewife), but providing some relief from the sun is a must when it comes to summer entertaining. For a recent project (above), Christopher Architecture & Interiors custom designed a pergola that provides shade and makes the poolside terrace feel like an outdoor room complete with a television and custom fireplace. “A pergola is a great way to provide shade and add interest to your lawn or garden. They can be a freestanding element or adjoin to a side of your home.” In this project, the architect connected the main house to the detached garage, creating unity between the two structures. You can find kits or hire a professional to custom-make one that’s all your own.
Even summer nights can be chilly. “A patio fireplace is the perfect spot to gather around and continue the party.” Goodman suggested ceramic fireballs, which are not only hassle-free, “they are strikingly beautiful and become an architectural statement day and night.”
Dine Al Fresco Indoors
Those who would prefer to have a roof over their head while dining but still want to enjoy the open air can get the best of both worlds with movable Panda bi-folding doors. “If you have a series of standard doors or a long blank wall that hides a beautiful view, consider the many different types of movable wall systems that are available.” In the home above, the experts at Christopher Architecture & Interiors used a bi-fold system from Panda Windows & Doors. Lift & Slide, multi-slide and pivotal door solutions can also be found. “Discuss with an architect and/or contractor to find the perfect solution for you.”