1. Avoid furniture “sets” and instead mix metal, wood, rattan, and ceramic pieces—just as you would inside your home—to create a more relaxed setting. Make sure everything is rain-/rustproof.
2. Check out consignment shops and tag sales for vintage metal furniture. (Brown Jordan is a favorite of Gilbane’s.) Make sure metal is powder coated to prevent rusting.
3. Use a long banquette for lots of seating without crowding a space. Add chairs, stools, benches, and classic ceramic garden stools (such as those often spotted at Home Goods).
4. Incorporate a mix of strategic lighting, including outdoor table lamps and overhead lights. Add hurricane lanterns and battery-operated LED tea lights—strung in strands or set within paper lanterns—for ambience.
5. Try flameless or battery-powered candles for mood lighting, especially in a household with kids. Several stores now have remote-controlled versions.
6. Provide plenty of soft cotton throws or blankets (Gilbane favors those by Brahms Mount) for snuggling up in cooler temps.
7. Add an indoor/outdoor rug for texture and to mimic an interior look. Check out
www.dashandalbert.com, www.annieselke.com, and www.perennialsfabrics.com.
8. Stock up on unbreakable dinnerware, like
colorful melamine plates and plastic wine cups, for worry-free entertaining. (See page 60 for some of our favorites.)
9. Use inside décor accents, like baskets, vintage pottery, silver candlesticks, silk flowers, etc., as temporary outdoor accents—just don’t forget to take them back inside when company leaves.