Tips on Dining Al Fresco at Home

Be ready for stylish and functional outdoor dining this summer.

While al fresco dining is a fun way to entertain on a summer evening, it can pose some challenges. Find your flow this summer with these essential tips for dining al fresco. 

Upgrade Your Place Settings
Bring your flatware outdoors for a sophisticated dinner party. Set your dining table with a spill-resistant tablecloth in a pretty pattern, then add plates, cloth napkins, and flatware. Since these items are heavier than paper or plastic, they won't blow away in the wind. 

Set a Theme Using Decor 
Turn an outdoor dinner party into an occasion by setting a theme for the party. A theme could be something as simple as coordinating colors in your chair cushions, table settings, and decorative accents or as elaborate as celebrating a particular country or concept, for instance using palm trees and tropical plants to evoke a festive atmosphere. 

Via Lowes

Use Smart Storage 
Unless you're dining right off the kitchen, it can be difficult to shuttle everything you need to the outdoor dining table. Look for an elegant and functional storage caddy where you can stash items in between parties or invest in a stylish bar cart to make light work of bringing things outside. 

Beat the Bugs 
Mosquitos bring the mood down fast. Citronella candles, citronella tiki torches, or mosquito coils keep bugs away, so you can enjoy the meal. There are a range of styles of citronella candles, so you can incorporate them into your decor. If you're worried about wind, place candles in mason jars or hurricane lamps for protection.  

Light the Way
An outdoor dinner party may extend long into the night. When you've lost the sun, make sure diners can see their way back with torches, solar-powered path lights, string lights, or another source of outdoor lights. Or stash flashlights or lanterns outside, so guests can see themselves back safely. 

Via Stars Masquerading Tumblr
Provide Shade
If your yard has full sun exposure, dining al fresco can be muggy and uncomfortable. Have a shade options available so that diners can move into the shade if the weather is hot. A pop-up tent or canopy provides a large area of shade for a big gathering, while a patio umbrella works well for an intimate meal. For something more permanent than a pop-up tent, consider adding a sun shade or awning in the yard. To add a touch of boho glam to your party, create your own canopy out of four dowels and a tablecloth.

Dining al fresco takes some work in terms of organizing, but most of these items are one-time investments. Once you get everything you need for the perfect outdoor dinner, you can enjoy summer entertaining for years to come. 

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