Find easy ways to entertain guests outdoors this summer.
Throw an affordable outdoor dinner party using your indoor furniture.
Throw an impromptu garden bash on a budget by appointing your indoor furniture as perfect patio-party attire.
Black, white and chic all over, this setup can transition from day (think fresh, diminutive flowers and rattan chairs) to night with the addition of candles and a cosy cotton throw. Table and chairs from IKEA.
Sweet table settings
Skip the large floral centrepieces and opt for delicate blooms for individual place settings. It's not only more affordable, but guests can also take the wee plants home with them as a parting gift.
Instead of placemats, stylist Lara McGraw draped three black table runners across the width of the table. Barely visible from afar, they provide subtle graphic interest up close.
Black and white chic
For most people, black doesn't scream "garden party," but here the preppy juxtaposition of dots and stripes is fresh and fabulous. The baskets were a dollar-store find spray-painted black and adorned with white blooms -- orchids mark this setting, but baby hydrangeas, button mums and agapanthus mark the others. Dishes and flatware from IKEA; basket from Dollarama.
Shaded sitting area
When dinner winds down, shift to your outdoor living room to digest, debate and dream. Pull over a couple of dining chairs for any extra cabooses, and provide oversized cushions and cosy blankets, just in case the weather tosses a little chill your way.