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7 Outdoor Dining Essentials

As the weather gets warmer, it’s time to start thinking about entertaining in your backyard. No matter how many guests you’ll be having this spring and summer, and whether your party will last all day or all night, get prepared for alfresco events with these seven essentials that will elevate your outdoor dining experience.

1. Rugs

Better Bows #1

Outdoor rugs define your dining area and provide a feel for indoor-outdoor living. Opt for a vibrant print to show off your style or a jute rug for a natural look – either way, an outdoor rug will bring the coziness of your indoor dining room to your backyard.

2. Seating

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A great table is essential for your outdoor entertaining space. But with so many styles to choose from, how do you even begin to make a decision? There are two things you should consider:

  • First, think about the shape and size of your space. A large patio may warrant a long, rectangular table, while a smaller area may need a cozier square or circular table.

  • Second, consider how many people will typically be in your outdoor dining area. If it’s mostly small get-togethers, opt for a cozy fire pit table or a round table. If you’ll be throwing lots of big parties this season, go for a large one with lots of chairs or bench seating!

Finally, don’t forget to add outdoor pillows or cushions for extra comfort and style.

Pro Tip: Need even more seating? Garden stools can be side tables for everyday use and can convert to an extra chair during your outdoor event.

3. Table Setting 

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Add a little flare to your table with placemats, chargers or a tablecloth. Cloth napkins elevate the dining experience and are easy to throw in the laundry. Leave the paper napkins inside, and go for a fabric that speaks to your style!

 3. Durable Dinnerware

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One word: melamine. This durable dinnerware can stand up to whatever your outdoor party may throw at it. Plus, it comes in every pattern and color imaginable, adding a stylish element to your tablescape. 

5. Bug Protection

Food tents protect dinners from a bug invasion, and mason jar candles made with lemon, lime and rosemary oil are a natural and pretty way to keep pests at bay. You can also surround your space with natural bug repellants like planted lemongrass, lavender and basil or use tiki torches filled with citronella oil.

6. Shade from the Sun

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If you’re throwing a daytime party, protect your guests from the sun’s heat with an outdoor umbrella or two. Look for one that cranks and tilts to provide optimal shade from sunrise to sunset. Plus, outdoor umbrellas come in a ton of colors and patterns – you can coordinate them with your outdoor rug, pillows or cushions to really bring your patio look together!

7. Mood Lighting

If you’ll be entertaining in the evening, a little outdoor lighting will go a long way. Use lanterns or candles in your centerpiece for an intimate feel. String lights will provide a unique ambiance and create a warm glow all night.

Pro-Tip: LED candles give you the same glow, without worrying about an open flame!

We want to see your outdoor dining space! Share it with us using #AtHomeStores and find more outdoor inspiration when you like our Facebook page and follow us on Instagram.