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Are You Ready To Entertain In Your Outdoor Space??Check Here To Make Sure You’ve Got What You Need

It finally happened. I have two friends that now have POOLS! In every other city I’ve ever lived (outside of the one I grew up in), knowing someone with a pool was a fantastical dream that was completely out of reach. I mean if you know someone in NYC that has a private pool please give them my number because I will do what it takes to be their friend. I can provide witty banter and wine (mid self as I do not have a pool). So ya, from the majority of my post-college life it’s been public pools or hotel pools when friends would visit. But now that I’m a. old enough to have friends that own homes and b. live in a city with a little more space so I plan to be floating my summer away.

Now my childhood best friend is throwing a little, all vaxxed housewarming little pool party and was picking my brain for outdoor dinnerware recs because she’s never had a real backyard (and pool) before as an adult. This clearly had me thinking. Soooo many people moved this last year (me included) to spaces with a little more room which a lot of the time included outdoor space which was sometimes the point. Some guidance in the 2021 outdoor tabletop arena might be helpful to you all too!

photo by sara ligorria-tramp | from: how to style out your outdoor space so you’ll actually use it

When I talked it over with the team, there were some opinions since having a second set of dinnerware can be easily wasteful. Emily is happy just using their everyday dishes outside since their kitchen is so close to their deck, Caitlin loves having melamine dishes, which are typically used for outdoors, as her everyday dinnerware, and I fall somewhere in between. I am big on having shatter-free glassware outside because well… I can be clumsy. Plus it’s really unsafe to have broken glass with people and animals running around barefoot. I don’t think anyone would argue with that:) Also, I love love my heavy ceramic dishware inside but really HATE when I have to lug it outside for a little happy hour/snack hang with my friend neighbor. That last one is not that important but sadly not untrue. So when you are shopping assess what your actual needs are and go from there.

photo by melissa oholendt | from: a foolproof way to create an outdoor room with target

Also as a design and product lover, I feel as though it’s my duty to show you the current awesome products on the market to maybe fill in the gaps of your outdoor entertaining setup if you are in need (for furniture head here:)).

But before we get into the roundups, per Caitlin’s request, I’m going to do some EHD old school combos to maybe spark some outdoor tabletop dreams…

Editor’s Note: All of these products and combos are for outdoor spaces big and small. No pool required. Just make it work for you:)

1. Modern Melamine Dinnerware Set | 2. Fluted Acrylic Highball | 3. Woven Straw Food Covers (set of 2) | 4. Incandescent Mini Faux Wicker String Lights | 5. Cotton Plaid Tablecloth | 6. Carrie Portable LED Lamp | 7. Black Metal Tiered Stand | 8. Gold Oval Beverage Tub | 9. Plastic Serving Bowl with Lid | 10. Citronella Ancona Ceramic Candle | 11. Glass Natural Wrap Pitcher

I had to start with a punch of color because well it’s summertime folks! Don’t be afraid to pick some bold moments like this cobalt dinnerware and colorful tablecloth. The trick is to then bring in smaller pieces to complement them in the same color scheme like with the cup, string lights, and bug repellant candle. Then to bring in some softness, texture is always the way to go (and feels very summer-y) so I picked that adorable pitcher and food cover. Notice those also speak to the woven string lights:) Next, to give it a hit of modern and ground the combo together I threw in that portable LED lantern for more mood lighting and the tiered metal stand. Lastly, I wanted to add a little unexpectedness (that’s a word, right?), so that brass beverage tub for endless Spiked Spindrifts and a green bowl because stepping outside of your color palette with one piece is fun in my humble option;)

Let’s go a little softer, eh?

1. Faux Bois Melamine Dinnerware | 2. Melamine and Bamboo Cereal Bowl | 3. Footed Acrylic Glass | 4. Handmade Collapsible Woven Food Tent | 5. Floral Lace Solar Lantern | 6. Cotton Plaid Table Runner | 7. 15oz Large Round Ceramic Citronella Candle | 8. Woven Ice Bucket | 9. Rust Geometric Ceramic Lantern | 10. Marin Chip & Dip | 11. Glass And Acacia Wood Drink Dispenser With Stand

You might not be the super colorful type and that’s totally fine. Our outdoor spaces are meant to make US feel good. So here is my neutral combo and while I’m partial, I really love it. First off, can you believe that the “wood” dinner plate is melamine?? I know I was shocked at first too. I am HIGHLY considering buying a set for when I want to sit on my patio or just don’t want to deal with my heavy ceramic plates. But back to the anatomy of this combo. It’s all about mixing up natural textures. Here we have wood in the plates, the lid of the candle, the chip & dip holder, and the top and back of the beverage dispenser. Then you have ceramics in the candle base, bowl (it’s faux but gives the effect), and solar table lantern. Lastly, you have the soft and woven bits (table runner, blue hanging lantern, and, food cover). It’s all pretty balanced. What I always make sure to do in even the most neutral space is to add a liiitle color. The blues and the green on the glass really help to bring it all to life.

Last but not least, we are going modern monochrome…almost:)

1. Pebble Matte Black Melamine Dinner Plates | 2. Bamboo Melamine Stripes Salad Plate | 3. Plastic Frenchie Jumbo Glass | 4. Round Black Stripe Mesh Food Dome | 5. LED Pendant Light Strand | 6. Linen Tablecloth | 7. Glass Pitcher | 8. Bori Natural Lantern | 9. Stainless Steel Fustis Beverage Dispenser | 10. Citronella Coil | 11. Citronella Coil Holder | 12. Galvanized Metal Beverage Tub | 13. Lanai Serving Tray

If pink isn’t your thing you could easily swap out the table cloth for a more monochrome one. I was obviously inspired by Malcolm’s bedroom with this one because I think it’s just the move to “liven up the party” if you will. This combo is about the metals while adding in little natural textures because you’re literally in nature, they are a must. I love the play on scale with the striped salad plated, ribbed drinking glass, and the food cover. It gives some visual interest without needing colors. Then mixing all of the different metals (string lights, beverage tub, tray, and drink dispenser) helps to let your eye bounce around without it needing to work too hard since they aren’t too different. Now I don’t know about you but I’ve wanted one of those burning citronella coils for a minute and this just might be the year. This one will burn for 36 hours but there are bigger ones that last longer. I would love for the mosquitos and I to live harmoniously in 2021. Fingers crossed? So not only is it useful it also brings in a lighter tone, along with the woven lantern to help contrast all of the dark colors. Modern, chic, but still warm. Always the goal.

Oooook! Hopefully, you are now refreshed on your outdoor entertaining comboing skills. But these are just the tip of the iceberg. You might have a totally different style you want so fear not because it’s time to really get into some product. Buckle your seatbelts because we are going into a 2021 outdoor entertaining deep dive:)

Dinnerware You Won’t Believe Is For Outside

As I said in the intro this one is a little controversial. Hopefully, just like everything else we are all purchasing with thoughts for the long term and not just “o shoot, I new need plates for our BBQ so I’ll just pick something I’m fine with”. We ALL fall into this trap from time to time. But a lot of these options are SO cute and if you are looking, I think you will be very happy:)

1. Beaded Pearl Melamine Dinner Plates | 2. Macaria Desert Plate | 3. Faux Bois Melamine Dinnerware | 4. Teal Bamboo and Melamine Dinnerware | 5. Swirl Enamel Dinner Plates | 6. Pebble Matte Black Melamine Dinner Plates | 7. Sandia Melamine Dinnerware | 8. Melamine Stone Dinnerware | 9. Prairie Melamine Plates | 10. Modern Melamine Dinnerware Set | 11. Pink Melamine Dinner Plate | 12. Stainless Steel Paper Plates & Cups | 13. Bamboo Fiber & Recycled Coffee Ground Plates | 14. 10.5″ Plastic Dinner Plate | 15. Melamine 12-Piece Dinnerware Set | 16. Bamboo Melamine Dinner Bowl | 17. Flared Pop-Tone Melamine Dinnerware Set | 18. Bamboo Melamine Stripes Salad Plate | 19. Gray Bamboo Dinner Plate | 20. Bamboo Melamine Stripes Dessert Bowl & Spoon Set | 21. Melamine and Bamboo Dinner Bowl

If you are like Caitlin (and maybe soon to be me) and are looking for melamine plates for inside and outside I love #1, #3, #6, #7, and #17. Also, #15 is also really doing it for me. But if a bolder look is what you want for your outside summer look then #2, #5, #10 (which comes in a bunch of colors), #14 or #16 are great picks. Just always remember that mixing and matching fun patterns and solids will make for a cool and thoughtful tablescape.

Truly Unbreakable Drinkware

My love for drinkware is not contained to the great indoors. Outdoor cups can be just as beautiful and if put in my hand last… years longer. This brings me to the very exciting news that none of these cups are glass, so your feet will be totally safe if something spills:)

1. Bamboo Cup Set | 2. Fluted Acrylic Double Old Fashioned | 3. Veranda Outdoor Tumblers | 4. Footed Acrylic Glass | 5. Chill Acrylic Double Old Fashioned Glass | 6. Plastic Frenchie Jumbo Glass | 7. Plastic Short Tumbler | 8. Stripe Rim Acrylic Drinking Glass | 9. Plastic Translucent Tumbler | 10. Stacking Acrylic Margarita Glass | 11. Doris Bronze Aluminum Stemless Wine Glass | 12. Emmeline Acrylic Glasses | 13. 7pc Drink Caddy Set | 14. Gold Rimmed Acrylic Whiskey Glass | 15. Liv Acrylic Glass | 16. Ribbon Texture Drinkware | 17. Plastic Translucent Tumbler | 18. Plastic Wine Glasses | 19. Fluted Acrylic Double Highball | 20. Stacking Acrylic Clear Wine Glass | 21. Bamboo Fiber And Recycled Coffee Ground Cups

I think that glassware is really where you can play with texture and shapes. #3 very much reminds me of Emily’s tumblers from her LA house patio reveal that I have lusted for ever since. I am also very here for #4, #7, #15, and #20. But also how can you not love that drink caddy?!

photo by sara ligorria-tramp | from: how to style out your outdoor space so you’ll actually use it

Cute Pitchers and Dispensers

Ok so some of these are glass but I think that when it comes to pitchers and drink dispensers, they using don’t get tossed around too much. I mean if you choose to have your margarita glass pitcher poolside then you are braver than I and pass me a sweet sweet marg:)

1. Sora Acrylic Pitcher | 2. Glass Natural Wrap Pitcher | 3. Acrylic Drink Dispenser | 4. Nadia Striped Glass Pitcher | 5. Drink Dispenser with Stand | 6. Fluted Acrylic Pitcher | 7. Pure Drink Dispenser | 8. Glass Pitcher | 9. Ceramic & Glass Drink Dispenser | 10. Vintage Glass Beverage Dispenser | 11. Igloo Barrel of Fun Retro Portable Beverage Server | 12. Dylan Tall Pitcher | 13. Glass And Acacia Wood Drink Dispenser With Stand | 14. Glass Modern Beverage Dispenser | 15. Stainless Steel Fustis Beverage Dispenser

I have number #14 and it works great. The only thing is that you need to be able to have it near an edge of a surface or find a stand. This is why #5, #7, #9, and #13 are really great options. But the playfulness of #4 and #11 are so fun! I also just love the natural look of #2 and #12. I think you just need to think about how much you plan to use either type and if you have the storage. Thankfully my dispenser fits beautifully in my new place… not so much in my old little studio. Just some food for thought… or ice-cold beverage for thought…

Tables Linens That Pack A Design Punch

1. Azul Striped Handwoven Recycled Table Runner | 2. Cotton Clipped Table Runner Blue | 3. Polyester Printed Tablecover | 4. Roxy Ocean Wave Tablecloth | 5. 4pc Single Border Stripe Napkin Set Teal | 6. Iazid Raffia Table Runner | 7. Woven Seagrass Placemats with Holder – Set of 6 | 8. Navy Chambray Umbrella Table Runner | 9. Oversized Texture Rib Stripe Table Runner Black/Sour Cream | 10. 4pc Stitched Border Thin Stripes Napkin Set Red/White | 11. Water Hyacinth Charger Placemat | 12. Lightweight Summer Placemats (Set of 4) | 13. Posie Gingham Table Runner |14. Linen Tablecloth | 15. Cotton Plaid Tablecloth Pink | 16. Cotton Plaid Table Runner Cream | 17. Cotton Woven Tablecloth Blue/White | 18. Woven Bamboo Placemats, Set of 4

NO Bugs Allowed With These Covers

These are definitely not a necessity but boy would they be nice to have. Especially with the good on the serving dishes. LA isn’t a particularly bug-filled place aside from mosquitos (we’ll get to the citronella candles) but there are plenty of areas that are. Hope these help if you do:

1. Mesh + Bamboo Food Covers (set of 3) | 2. Mesh & Wood Food Dome | 3. Rectangular Natural Chevron Mesh Food Dome | 4. Woven Straw Food Covers (set of 2) | 5. Round Black Stripe Mesh Food Dome | 6. Steel Food Dome | 7. Outdoor Net Food Cover | 8. Food Tent | 9. Handmade Collapsible Woven Food Tent

I am very into #1 and #4 because I’m a suck for natural woven pieces. But #7 is SO cool. Sure is it a fancier napkin? But likely more sanitary. Also, #8 and #9 are totally collapsable which is great for storage. Do you people with bug problems are these a must? Let me know.

photo by tessa neustadt | from: how to decorate your outdoor space with target

Beverage Tubs To Keep Things Cool

I am an ice person because I like my drinks COLD. And step one of having the ultimate cold drink experience is having them cold in the first place. This all means that if your outdoor space is not super close to your fridge you NEED a beverage tub to keep those drinks cool. Ok no, you don’t need it but it will make your and your guest’s beverage time much more enjoyable I promise.

1. Gold Oval Beverage Tub | 2. Recycled Bamboo Wine Bucket | 3. Woven Ice Bucket | 4. Bash Copper Beverage Tub | 5. Galvanized Beverage Tub with Black Stand | 6. Spangle Metal Beverage Tub | 7. Galvanized Metal Beverage Tub | 8. Galvanized Iron + Woven Rattan Beverage Tub | 9. Round White Galvanized Metal Party Tub

Again, I like them all but #3 is pretty great because not only is it pretty and woven, but it’s tired with that little extra storage shelf on the bottom. Speaking of woven, #8 is a beaut too! But if your outdoor decor is in need of a hint of glam to brighten it up you can’t go wrong with #1 and #4.

Ready for some mood lighting??

Outdoor Mood Lighting

Emily will be the first to tell you the importance of outdoor lighting and I will be the second. It can make or break the mood, people! We’ve all been in those backyards where the only light source is a crazy bright overhead light that makes it impossible to create a relaxed mood… or at least that’s how it feels to me. So let’s avoid/fix that issue, ya?

1. Blue Tie Dye Fabric Orb Solar String Lights | 2. 10ct Elongated Tube LED Outdoor String Lights | 3. Carrie Portable LED Lamp | 4. Rust Geometric Ceramic Lantern | 5. Floral Lace Lantern | 6. Incandescent Mini Faux Wicker String Lights | 7. LED Cage String Lights | 8. Bori Natural Lantern | 9. Mosaic Petal Lantern | 10. LED Pendant Light Strand | 11. Commercial LED Light Strand | 12. String Lights Bronze Hood | 13. Sun Squad Lantern | 14. Incandescent Faux Wicker Globe String Lights Brown | 15. Revere Steel Lantern

Let’s first talk string lights. These are (IMHO) the biggest asset you can bring into your outdoor space and there are seriously SO MANY options. If you like modern, go with #2, #7, or #11. Or are you more boho? Then #1, #6 or, #14 is all you. And for those in-between then you absolutely can’t go wrong with #10 or #12. Hang those puppies up and you will have instant ambiance. But adding in another light source (aside from candles…don’t worry we are almost there), we love a lantern. #3 has been on my list for a couple of years and I think despite its sleek lines it’s super versatile. However, #5 and #9 also have been on the ole Pinterest board for AWHILE. Truthfully they are all slam dunks so you can’t go wrong.

Seriously NO BUGS With These Candles and Incense

Last but absolutely not least are these BEAUTIFUL bug repellant candles. I am a mosquito magnet so these are an essential part of my outdoor setup. Maaaybe this is also a housewarming gift for my friend?? Plus with all of these super cute options, why not create ambiance AND get those darn bugs out of your life (or most of them out of your life).

1. Gold Cement 5 Wick Citronella Candle |2. Citronella Coil + Citronella Coil Holder | 3. Citronella Ancona Ceramic Candle | 4. Decorative Ceramic Citronella Candle | 5. Blue Frosted Glass 5 Wick Citronella Candle | 6. 12pk Citronella Tea Light Candles | 7. 15oz Large Round Ceramic Citronella Candle | 8. 2pk Pillar Candle Citronella | 9. Citronella Cement Candle | 10. Citronella Wood Candle | 11. Not Citronella – Real Insect Repellent Candle | 12. Mosquito Repellent Incense Sticks | 13. Citronella Lava Candle | 14. Centoa Citronella Centerpiece Candle | 15. Long Ceramic Citronella Candle

So you have candle or and incense options. I’ve never tried the incense but it seems like they would be very effective. And if they are also pretty…HI! If you want to try like me, #2 and #12 are my picks. Now, these candles are pretty beautiful. I mean look at #5, #7, #10, and #14?! But if you already have nice holders then going with #6 or #8 is great.

Well, that’s it for today. You made it! I hope that you too either can find a friend with a pool or get one yourself (blowup ones count!). We all deserve some luxury and relaxation this summer. So let’s talk products, what you like to use, what kind of space you are designing for. See you in the comments. xx

Love you, mean it.

Opening Image Credits: Photo by Melissa Oholendt | From: A Foolproof Way to Create an Outdoor Room with Target


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31 thoughts on “Are You Ready To Entertain In Your Outdoor Space??Check Here To Make Sure You’ve Got What You Need

  1. Recommend the Thermocell for bugs. The gadget really keeps all bugs away for a 50 yard radius.
    For lighting, please be mindful of how much lighting you really need for your size of space. We have a neighbor that has so many clear bulb string lights that their whole yard is lit up like a baseball field at night. Light pollution galore. Really brings down the mood when we’re having a backyard hang at my house.

    1. What model do you have that creates a 50 yard radius? Everything listed on Thermacell’s website says *15 feet* per repeller. That’s a lot more investment and repeated fuel purchases….

  2. As a parent of littles, may I extoll the virtues of outdoor dinner wear as kid-safe dishes to use every day?!? When my oldest was tiny I bought some cute kid plates, but realized later that outdoor cups and dishes are amazing for the beans AND great for adults – and no need to get a new set or recycle them when the kiddos get too old for Paw Patrol. We use them outside, we use them for parties (no disposables required!), we use them for cocktails. I may never buy a wine glass again.

    1. Yep, we bought a few grown-up looking melamine salad-sized plates to use for our son when he was about 5, and I’m surprised by how much we all reach for them because they’re so light and easy. I was just thinking we could use a few more; this round-up is perfect!

  3. I love the idea of melamine dinnerware, but how does it do in the dishwasher. They usually recommend hand washing or top rack, which definitely doesn’t work for a party. We’ve been using our everyday porcelain and glassware for years, and we’ve never had an outdoor accident, so maybe we don’t need to make a change. I can see the importance of shatterproof dinnerware for pool parties — more barefoot guests.

    1. We have had an iteration of the Pottery Barn melamine plates for 5 years. We use them almost every night in the summer, throw them on the bottom rack of the dishwasher and they are fine. Mine have very slight scratch marks from silverware, but you have to really look to see them. Would totally buy again!

    2. I always wash my melamine plates in the dishwasher. They’ve held up just fine.

    3. Yeah, plus slippery wet hands! I feel like regular dishes and glassware are perfectly fine unless a pool is involved or people are going to be drunk and clumsy. I guess it also depends on your flooring/ground cover too – if you drop a ceramic plate in the grass it won’t necessarily break.

      1. Thank you, Kj! I feel better now that we stick to porcelain and glass. I also prefer not to have two sets of dishes.

      2. And the waste water: everything that goes down the drain from your dishwasher goes to your municipal water treatment facility to get cleaned up and used again. But they can’t remove these ^^ contaminants. We just don’t have capable filters in some cases, in others, the science exists but will be prohibitively expensive for nearly all municipalities and thus not installed. If you use tap water for drinking, brushing your teeth, boiling your pasta, watering your edible garden, etc. then you are ingesting these substances from your melamine use (and everyone else’s) every single time that water gets inside you. The more people using melamine and other products that leach industrial contaminants our current systems can’t detect much less remove, the higher the concentrations are. We need a lot of people to reduce their plastic use for anything that will require washing and/or contact with hot water that is part of our city/town water systems.

    4. The dishwasher’s manufacturer is assuming you use the heated drying feature – which means the heating element in the bottom of the dishwasher can melt anything plastic, and sometimes silicone or nylon items too. If your dishwasher model allows for it, you can opt to not use the heated dry feature and put whatever wherever. I had a very basic model GE dishwasher from the 90s until last year (it died in the worst of the pandemic!) and even it had the option to turn off the heated dry. I cracked open the door after the cleaning cycle so it could vent all the steam, most things were fully dry after 30 minutes or so. The few that weren’t, I dried their corners and curves while I put up dishes. This may or may not be something people are willing to do. But it is an option.

      1. That’s good to know. I don’t use the heat dry setting on my dishwasher, and that makes sense that the heat element is the problem with the bottom rack of the dishwasher.

  4. The ultimate easy outdoor dishware is paper plates. There are really cute designs now. Plus I enjoy changing the color scheme for each party.

      1. I agree. Paper plates and so-called disposable cutlery and straws are beinb phased out world-wide.
        Nothing is truly ‘disposable’. It’s ignorant to think it’s okay to add mindlessly to the landfill and degradation of everyone’s environment. 🌏

    1. Lots of people (myself included) try to avoid one time use/disposable dishes and cutlery. Something I can wash and reuse is the best option!

  5. I just pick up vintage enamelware when / wherever I see it. It comes in many more colors than the stuff you traditionally see in camping stores. Colorful, fun, durable, plus a bit more eco-friendly since you’re reusing.

  6. Am I the only one looking for the holy grail of outdoor plates? Hard to break, dishwasher AND microwave safe. Anyone?!

  7. I don’t see why one needs a whole new set of plates/cups for the outdoor time. Except for bug device/candle, you already have everything you need (dinnerware, serveware, tablecloth, etc) for an outdoor in your home

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