Outdoor Entertaining Spaces

Tour four homes with fabulous features ideal for outdoor entertaining, and learn tips for making your outdoor space more welcoming to guests.

Everything In This Slideshow

  • Deck Made to Entertain

    This large deck offers ample space for entertaining. Large glass-paneled doors provide access to the deck from multiple rooms within the home, allowing for easy traffic flow when hosting large groups.

  • Open Wide

    This dining room features large doors that fold completely open to connect indoor and outdoor spaces. The country-style decor used inside the home is consistent with the outdoor decor, furthering the indoor-outdoor connection.

  • Seating Variety

    Using variety of seating around an outdoor dining table can add a casual and eclectic look to an outdoor space. Here, a mix of rustic benches and stools around a hefty wooden table provide fun and flexible seating options.

  • Comfy Spot to Sit

    An oversized, cushioned bench offers a comfy sofalike spot to sit with guests and enjoy the outdoors. Lots of throw pillows featuring a mix of patterns and bright colors add to the comfort and style. A pergola built off the house gives welcome shade on hot summer days.

  • Live Large Outdoors

    Maximize your outdoor living spaces with these tips for easy indoor-outdoor entertaining.

  • Multilevel Entertaining

    Multiple levels featuring different flooring materials help define this outdoor space’s different zones. Three steps down from the wooden deck, a stone patio offers plenty of space for dining. Two more steps down, a gravel-surfaced area surrounded by a short stone wall offers a cozy place to sit and visit.

  • Perfect Spot for a Picnic

    This dining table features a modern twist on the traditional picnic table. Movable bench seating is particularly practical for squeezing additional guests around the table.

  • Heat Things Up

    A cozy, sunken seating area becomes prime real estate for a fire pit. This fire pit is built into the stone wall for a truly custom, incorporated look. Three chairs offer the perfect spot for casual conversations on cool evenings.

  • Layered Look

    When designing your outdoor space, use a variety of materials to add texture and visual interest. Here, gravel, stacked stones, green shrubs, and a wooden deck work together to create a visually pleasing layered look.

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    Create Zones

    Maximize your outdoor entertaining space by creating zones. Here, the outdoor kitchen is positioned along one wall with plenty of space for the cook. In the dining zone a few steps away, a reclaimed farm table comfortably sits up to eight. After dinner, guests can move to the fire pit just around the corner.

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    Gather ’Round the Fire

    A favorite pastime of outdoor entertaining, sitting around a fire pit offers hours of fun for all ages -- plus the benefit of warmth on cool evenings. This sculpturelike manufactured stone fire pit is a pretty centerpiece by itself. Be sure to check your local ordinances before installing a fire pit in your backyard.

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    Outdoor Flooring

    In the same way you can vary flooring treatments to define different indoor spaces, you can use a variety of materials underfoot to define outdoor spaces. As an alternative to a stone patio, pea gravel provides a unique and easy-to-maintain option in this sitting area.

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    All in the Details

    Thoughtful details make this outdoor sitting area all the more comfortable and enjoyable. A candlelit lantern hangs over a coffee table displaying fruit, a vase of branches with colorful berries, and additional candles. On the furniture, throw pillows and blankets invite guests to relax.

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    Arrange for Conversation

    When arranging your outdoor furniture, consider what works inside and apply the same principles. These homeowners chose dueling sofas separated by a coffee table to optimize the layout for conversation. Throw pillows and fresh flowers on the fireplace hearth add color while punctuating the indoor-outdoor connection.

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    Creative Indoor-Outdoor Connection

    This home’s sliding glass doors open to reveal a corner-less connection to the outside. The result is a seamless transition between indoor and outdoor spaces. Clerestory windows bring additional light inside.

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    Timeless Warmth

    For centuries, guests have been gathering around the warmth of fireplaces. An outdoor fireplace recreates the same cozy atmosphere while extending the seasonality of your outdoor space. Serving a similar -- albeit opposite -- purpose, a ceiling fan keeps guests cool during summer months.

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    Clean and Simple Comfort

    Opt for benches around an outdoor dining table to squeeze more guests around. Here, cushions add comfort to the wicker furniture, while a patio umbrella provides welcome shade on long summer afternoons. These homeowners chose to keep the furnishings clean and simple and bring in a pop of color through the place settings.

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