Party Pointer: Party Porch Perfection

Warm weather is here, and we all want to take advantage of it. We want to be out where we can feel the warmth of the sun,  or
refreshing gentle breezes, where we can smell the scent of honeysuckle or other fragrant blossoms, where we can feel close to the beauties of nature. Having a party for your friends and family on a porch, a patio or deck can be one of the great joys of summer.  Here are some ways to achieve party porch perfection!

Clean up your party area after the winter. Pick up leaves, cones, stickers, nuts and sticks; power-wash to get rid of spring pollen and leaf discoloration. Wipe down all your patio furniture. Create conversation areas in your party area–think of your porch as an extension of your family room–a rug, sofa  and  loveseat or a sectional with ottomans, swing, several comfortable chairs, cocktail and side tables. Make it easy for your guests to get comfortable. Outdoor rugs can bring virtually any space together as a “room”–these sturdy sisal or plush indoor/outdoor carpets come in many patterns and solid colors and textures. They are fade-resistant, withstand the elements and are easy to clean. Rugs that can be hosed off are ideal for areas where dirt or mud get tracked in.

Add colorful accents–plump pillows, bright cushions, cozy throws in colors to complement your rug and porch furniture. Choose fade-resistant and weather-resistant fabrics in prints or solids–florals, tropical plants, stripes, quatrefoils and so much more. You can purchase these pillows and cushions, or you can purchase stain-resistant, fade-resistant and mildew-resistant fabric to make your own.

Hang fabric curtains or shades to create a sheltered room–soft drifts of fabric adds touch of romance but also adds privacy or shade from the strong rays of the sun. Use a curtain to cover an unattractive wall or view. You can also build hinged wooden frames and stretch and staple-gun coordinating fabrics on them to create screens to mask an ugly view or provide shade.  Table or freestanding umbrellas are also great accessories for providing shade while you eat and visit.

Even if you don’t have a patio dining table and chairs, you can still dine alfresco.  Use a hand-me-down or thrift store indoor wooden table and assorted chairs in a sheltered spot for breakfast or casual dinner; add a dresser or chest to stash your napkins, cutlery and other accessories. These can be painted with polyurethane to protect them.

Fill in with greenery–have some hardy houseplants for outdoor ambience in groupings of pretty containers for color. Large plants can provide shade or privacy on your porch or deck.

Shed some light if you have outdoor electrical outlets by having lamps on a chest or table. Hang little twinkle lights along the railings or around the ceiling. If you don’t have an electrical source, use LED lanterns and candles. If you used real candles, make sure you have a hurricane shade over them, and don’t leave them unattended. Citronella candles will help keep the bugs away if your porch is not screened.

Buy or build some attractive outdoor storage containers. You need somewhere to put your cushions and pillows if a major rain or wind storm pops up.  It is also much more convenient to have your entertaining and grilling supplies close at hand. Bring on the baskets–rustic natural baskets make great containers for books and magazines, games for kids, and the incidentals you want close at hand. These make it easier for you to scoop everything up if it begins to rain.

Stir up a cool breeze by putting in ceiling fans if your porch has an ceiling. Be sure to use exterior grade fans. Inexpensive oscillating fans on stands are also helpful stirring the breeze for you as well as keeping mosquito activity down.  

So get your porch, patio or deck ready for entertaining this summer and start enjoying the season!

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