Summer is the season for parties of all shapes and sizes, and there's no better place to entertain than your own backyard. With longer days to take advantage of and the relaxed attitude that summer encourages, an impromptu dinner party is just a few friends away at any given moment.
We love scouring flea markets filled with knick-knacks in anticipation of setting a festive table, placing our finds on the ‘just in case' shelf. Let the colours of summer liberate you from the sedate settings used indoors—take your inspiration from garden greenery and add in hits of tropical turquoise, fuchsia and lime.
Here, five easy pieces to keep on hand for those evenings that simply beg for a celebration.
1 Pretty paper lanterns
Like balloons at a children's party, paper lanterns herald festivities. The party item worth the splurge, these delicate globes can light up the table or serve as an overhead accessory. We love the flower detail on these pretty finds—buy a variety to mix and match.
2 Fresh flowers
The sweet perfume and prettiness of nature's finest are the favoured centrepiece no matter the occasion. Scatter loose petals across the table, or let a few unbridled arrangements make their own informal statement.
3 Mismatched dishes
A full service of china looks elegant on a dining room table, but outside a more casual atmosphere inspires an uncontrived look. Easy to find at flea markets and garage sales, contrasting plates and bowls add a dose of fun, and take the pressure off keeping the set together.
4 Retro elements
A party in the backyard has the distinct feel of childhood's summer holidays, and flea markets are a treasure trove of 20th-century memorabilia. Toss in a throwback to days gone by with glass soda bottles in an old-fashioned crate.
5 Impromptu containers
Dig into your closet and retrieve a woven gift basket to organize your cutlery, or a metal bucket to arrange your flowers instead of a pot. Use rainbow-hued paper napkins to tie in the colour scheme, lining the sections of the basket or twisting them around the pail's rim.