As we’re getting ready to start using our backyard space, I can’t help but picture all the entertaining we plan to do. It’s going to take years for this outdoor space to fully mature and grow into what we envision, but I’m not waiting for things to be perfect before we invite our friends and family over. So I’m keeping it simple and focusing on the outdoor entertaining musts!
Nothing says “party’s over” quicker than the setting sun and no alternative lighting! Outdoor lighting says, “there’s no rush” and I can’t think of anything more intimate than a fire or twinkle lights to light the night. These days there’s also so many solar lighting options too–charge by the sun during the day and automatically switch on once it starts getting dark. Technology!
One downside of living in North Carolina? The bugs can quickly become the topic of the night if you don’t get things under control, more specifically the pesky mosquitos!!! We get our yard professionally sprayed during the summer months, but there’s so many ways to repel those bugs so they don’t ruin the fun! Bonus points if you can repel them while still maintaining the aesthetic. Our tiki torches actually double as repellant since the oil being burned is citronella oil! Some people don’t like the citronella scent but I think it’s so refreshing in an outdoor space.
Drinks are literally the best ice breaker! The moment your guests arrive, offer them a drink to get the night started. Chris and I don’t drink alcohol, but we love beverages! I would say there’s a couple options you can do for drinks. You can get a glass dispenser and make a specialty drink, OR get a big beverage tub and put a bunch of drinks on ice. Bonus points for doubling as a centerpiece.
Speaking of ice breakers, I would say the most forgotten aspect to an outdoor gathering (or any gathering per se) is the music! In my opinion, music is actually essential, especially as those first few guests trickling in. With a little portable speaker and a good playlist, it’s the easiest thing to set and forget. Might I recommend this “Dinner on the Terrace” playlist by my talented music curator sister Andrea?! In our last house we had portable speakers built into our patio space and also the dining room. So incredible to have. Unfortunately it was going to cost us about $10,000 to build that into our backyard (no idea why or how), so we’re going to stick with our portable speakers. Still amazing!
Rule number one about hosting outdoors: Unless you’re sitting at a table, no one wants to be using a fork and knife while balancing their plate on their lap. It’s not like it can’t be done, but it’s just something to think about. Don’t serve food that’s too difficult to eat in a casual setting unless you’ve got tabletops for everyone to sit at.
I think the best part about hosting outdoors is that you don’t have to overthink it! It can be potluck style, casual, and just a great way to spend time outside with new friends and old friends.
We designed the Charly line of sofas, chairs, and ottomans with perfect proportions for comfort — with wide arms, a loungey depth, and stylish and practical lumbar pillows. Available in 70 kid-friendly, pet-friendly fabrics, this line was created with families in mind.
Our wood grain Shaker cabinet fronts were designed for busy, high-traffic homes like ours. Clad with durable textured thermofoils, this line is compatible with Sektion, Akurum, Godmorgon, and Besta cabinets from IKEA. It's the perfect, practical way to add the warmth of wood to all the rooms of your home.
We have teamed up with Loloi to create a line of rugs that are as affordable as they are beautiful. This collection houses a great mix of traditional and modern rugs, in cottage-y colorways, as well as vintage-inspired beauties that you’ll want to roll out in every room.
We partnered with Stuga on a line of hardwood floors — The Ingrid is really livable, and the color is very neutral. It doesn’t lean warm or cool, it’s that just right in-between. We have really loved putting it everywhere in our house. It’s the best jumping-off point for design, no matter your interior style. In addition to being beautiful, Ingrid is really durable — we have three kids, and we always have a home construction project going on. Ingrid stands up to it all.
Looking for our favorite things? A place to shop our home room by room, or just catch up on what Julia's wearing / loving right now? Browse the CLJ shop.
Befores, afters, mood boards, plans, failures, wins. We’ve done a lot of projects, and they’re all here.
We have a long-standing relationship with DIY, and love rolling our sleeves up and making it happen.
Even when you don’t want to rip down a wall, you can make that space in your home better. Right now.
One of our biggest projects this year is building out an upstairs laundry room using borrowed space from the playroom. Chris and I have been drawing up and re-drawing floor plans and elevations that I can’t wait to share. The biggest hurdle we’re designing around is this great, big window which is a blessing and […]
Another way for us to stay in touch! Joining our weekly newsletter gives you access to exclusive content, never-before-seen photos, your questions answered, and our favorite DIYs. Sign up below!
Make yourself right at home