15 Almost-Free Ways to Create a Chic Outdoor Entertaining Space

You don’t have to buy all-new stuff to create the perfect spot for outdoor entertaining; just use what you have! We’ll show you how to decorate for three alfresco occasions — a dinner party, a casual brunch and a movie night — using items you likely already own.

#1: Outdoor Dinner Party

Think you don’t have an outdoor dining table to host an outdoor dinner party? Think again! Just borrow your indoor dining table. Be sure to bring it back inside before the weather turns.

Set the Table

Bring plates, chargers, table runners and other decor outside to create a festive dining area. When the sun goes down on your outdoor party, light candles so the celebration can keep going.

#2: Outdoor Brunch

An alfresco brunch doesn’t necessarily call for a formal dining table. Instead, arrange your outdoor seating around a coffee table. Display treats on tiered serving platters to maximize space.

Pillows and Throws

Comfy guests are happy guests. Embellish your outdoor furniture with plush pillows and throws from inside your home. These items can’t withstand the elements long-term, but they’ll add an extra layer of coziness during your brunch.

Multipurpose Table

Turn an old table into something cool – literally.  Just cut out a circle the size of an ice bucket in the center of the table and place the bucket inside. Now, you have a multifunctional piece of furniture for serving and stashing drinks.

Serving Station

If you’ve got an old cabinet or hutch in the house that’s not getting a lot of use, upcycle it into an outdoor bar and buffet complete with a mini fridge. This versatile piece can hold all of your outdoor entertaining essentials: glasses, plates, drinks, snacks and more.

Easy Chalkboard Menu

Borrow a framed piece of art from inside your home and turn it into a handmade menu so your guests know what you’re serving. Just flip the artwork and paint the backing with chalkboard paint for a sign that will rival any outdoor bistro.

Mirror Mirror on the Bar

Need a tray for serving drinks? Use a mirror from inside your home. Its reflective surface will make your glassware look even more gorgeous.

Colorful Wine Glasses

Install a stemware rack on the underside of a shelf and put colorful wine glasses on display.

#3: Outdoor Movie Night

Who doesn’t love watching a movie under the stars? Start by creating an easy DIY screen using PVC pipes and a white sheet. In no time you and your guests will be watching blockbusters from the cozy comfort of your own backyard movie theater.

Assorted Seating

The beauty of an outdoor movie theater is that the seating doesn’t have to be uniform. Gather various lawn chairs around the screen and cozy them up with pillows and throws.

Side Table

Take side tables from inside your home and bring them outdoors to give guests a spot to put their drinks and snacks.

Makeshift Sofa

Bring cushions and pillows from your indoor couches outside to create a cozy lounge where guests can settle in to watch the flick.

Concession Stand

Stock your buffet with pretzels, popcorn and other favorite movie snacks. Your chalkboard menu can be repurposed to announce the evening’s entertainment.

Soft Lighting

The right lighting can keep your festivities going well into the night. Try string lights for a soft glow that won’t interfere with what's on the screen.

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