Written by: Olivia Forgette

As we head into the summer months, our outdoor living spaces begin begging for a revive. Look no further for our top tips on how to decorate for outdoor entertaining in summer 2024. Your backyard is a blank canvas. Get tips and decorating ideas to elevate your home’s exterior so your space is ready to become the backdrop of your next lively gathering.

If you’re preparing to sell your home, having a highlighted outdoor living space can create a key selling point to many buyers. Adding some outdoor décor to make your space shine can offer return on investment (ROI) of 80-to-200 percent!

Some outdoor décor ideas that are especially attractive to buyers include:

  • Sustainability in the form of native, low-maintenance plants and landscaping
  • Built-in entertainment features such as outdoor kitchens, permanent seating, and integrated audio systems
  • Smart landscaping with automated irrigation, and technology forward lighting options


Outdoor seating

Our first, and arguably most important way, you should decorate for outdoor entertaining is adding seating. Seating is the foundation of a well-decorated and inviting outdoor living space. Selecting furniture that is quality-based and offers comfort along with style is the best way to deliver an attractive space for guests.

Consider weather-resistant furniture pieces that are designed to stand the test of time. Enhance your overall comfort with outdoor throw pillows and cushions. Utilizing these soft items is also a great way to incorporate playful pops of color and design. Some great seating options that will encourage entertaining include:

  • Outdoor sofas for comfortable conversation
  • Lounge chairs to really kick-back in your outdoor space
  • Hammocks for a playful way to relax with friends

Just as important as what seating pieces you select is how you arrange them. Think about fostering conversation and ambiance. Arrange your seating around a focal point, such as a firepit, fireplace or water feature. This will bring your entertaining to the next level as guests feel a true vibe as they enjoy your outdoor space.


Alfresco dining

Along the same vein of outdoor seating is having a showstopping alfresco dining space. Creating a charming dining oasis outdoors is part of decorating for outdoor entertaining that you shouldn’t skip out on. It’s important to once again select a dining set that is durable, comfortable, and fosters conversation.

Another thing to consider with your alfresco dining space is shade. Consider adding an overhead pergola or gazebo for added comfort as guests enjoy their meal in the fresh outdoor air.


Low-maintenance greenery

Part of the appeal of decorating for outdoor entertaining is allowing guests to enjoy the opulence of the outdoors. Low-maintenance landscaping and greenery is the best way to achieve this in your design plan.

Select plants that are native to your area, so they require little extra maintenance while still thriving in your particular environment. These kinds of plants allow you to enjoy your outdoor entertaining space, instead of constantly having to work in it.

Not only are native plants less maintenance for you, but they also are great for the local ecosystem and environment. Here are some great native plant options for here in Illinois. Another wonderful option to landscaping with native plants in Illinois is to utilize the height and beauty of native grasses.

Other fun plants to incorporate include:


Dazzle with lighting

When hosting evening or nighttime affairs in your outdoor space, it’s important to consider decorating with lighting that will offer a dazzling sparkle. An evening outdoors is most comfortable for guests when the lighting provides ambiance along with functionality. Choose a softer, warmer light for a comforting aesthetic that creates more of a glow, rather than a stark white counterpart.

Some outdoor lighting solutions that will truly elevate your decorating for outdoor entertaining includes:

  • String lights
  • Lanterns
  • Solar-powered pathway lighting
  • Candles
  • LED lighting to highlight landscape features

All of these options will create an outdoor space that guests will feel comfortable in no matter the time of night.


Don’t forget drinks

Part of how to decorate for outdoor entertaining is to include a cold drink station somewhere in your space. This can be as simple as a bar cart, or as creative as turning your potting bench into the drink hub of your event.

Make sure your drink station is functional and design worthy by placing glasses, straws, drink stirrers, and citrus easily accessible. Place your drink dispensers on an elevated box or cake stand for added ease of use for guests. Don’t forget to make the space pretty by adding some décor to tie the look together.


We hope you’ve found these ideas on how to decorate for outdoor entertaining inspiring as we spring into the summer months. The last token we would like to leave you with are some benefits of having an outdoor living space which include:

  • Adding additional functional space for your family to enjoy
  • Increase your property value and buyer appeal
  • Reduce overall levels of stress and cortisol
  • Encourages time spent outdoors