4 Tips For Creating A Comfortable, Inviting Outdoor Setting

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Summertime is the seasonal excuse to spend basically every waking moment in your backyard. And what's a backyard without inviting all your friends, neighbors, or even that random person walking by over for a good time?

Bre Bertolini, the Ohio-based design blogger behind Bre Purposed, has a few tips for creating your Pinterest dream backyard compatible for hosting.

The first step in making your guests feel right at home? Getting the mosquito situation under control. Otherwise, you can't truly embrace the ambiance (food, music, and more food) of a killer backyard.

To that end, Bertolini swears by Thermacell torches. "I was super impressed with how well the Thermacell torches worked," she says. "We have a pretty large back deck, so I was a little worried they wouldn't cover enough ground, but they totally did!" Plus, with a pretty lighting-esque vibe, they blend into whatever space you've curated. Keep reading for more of Bertolini's outdoor decor ideas and tips.

1. Make sure there's plenty of seating

Nobody wants to be the odd man out, awkwardly standing while everyone is cozied up in conversation. So, let's avoid that, shall we? "Think about your layout and create smaller seating areas with a couple accent chairs where people can have a quiet conversation," Bertolini says.

The best type of outdoor party (or any party, really) is when everyone feels right at home, so these smaller, comfortable pockets will make the space less congested, and let you and your guests do all the good stuff (re: eating and talking).

2. Stick to one color palette

Commitment is tough, but if you thoughtfully choose a color palette rooted in neutrals, the rest of your outdoor decorating will fall into place.

"This will create a calming effect and instantly put your guests at ease," Bertolini says. Just like you (probably) wouldn't add seven different accent colors from all parts of the rainbow to go inside your living room, treat your outdoor space the same way.

In keeping with her neutral-plus-greenery motif, Bertolini turns to Thermacell Patio Shield to repel mosquitoes, which comes in various vibrant colors to match any color scheme.

3. Use decor pieces you aren't afraid to get dirty

When you're hosting a backyard gathering, the weather has an open invite—so be aware of that when choosing your decor and dining essentials.

"Being outside, there is bound to be dirt and all sorts of things that could potentially get your things messy," Bertolini says. "Don't stress yourself out by using your best plates, or pieces that you'll worry about getting broken or dirty." Instead, head to a thrift store for a secondhand piece, invest in some sturdier outdoor versions, or go the DIY route.

4. Set the mood

This is where string lights come in—and it's actually easier to achieve the look than your Instagram feed lets on. Don't be afraid to layer, wrap, and weave.

"Nothing makes an outdoor space feel more magical than pretty lights," Bertolini says. "Get creative and try hanging them in different ways like wrapped around your deck railing or hanging above your table." Once your space is glowing, you're ready for guests.