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Design for Entertaining

Decorating for Entertaining

By Corena Lea Kessel, Interior Designer - Design Wise San Diego

If you don’t like to Entertain this time of year, I bet you know which one of your friends knows how to, and that’s where you’ll be spending some time this summer! Entertaining at the finest allows us to be comfortable in our surroundings, so in turn we are more involved with the conversations that we will share verses the environment itself. We all know the spaces that make us feel good and welcomed.


Let’s look at some ways to make your place the one that friends keep wanting to come back to!

Patios/Decks: Bring your inside, out…

  • Furniture:
    Whether you are reupholstering an item you already have or are in search of the perfect pieces for your outside space, you will want to make sure the finishes and fabrics that are involved, are made to withstand the outdoor weather you will experience in the summer months.

  • Sunbrella makes some great indoor/outdoor fabrics, that yes, you can sit on without getting a rash!!

  • Arrangements:
    Arrange furniture around a table for a place to set drinks and food.

  • Place at least 2 seats next to one another, it will allow conversations to happen. Use a metal screen to create the illusion of separation.

  • Flowers/Plants:
    Place seasonal plants and flowers everywhere you can by hanging or planting them in clusters of cool pots or baskets.

  • Area Rugs:
    Who said you can’t have an area rug outside that looks great ?? They finally got smart with outside rugs. It’s a great way to add a splash of character and color!

  • Light for the Night:
    Candles, string lights, lanterns and fire pits are some great ways to luminate your entertaining into the evening.

  • Shade for the Day:
    If you don’t have a gazebo…Use draping fabrics or big umbrellas so you can have areas that people can relax in without having to be in the direct sunlight.

Living/Dining Room: Comfy Cozy…

  • Windows/Doors:
    Open them up... A fresh summer breeze is the best!

  • Accenting:
    Not only with pillows - but vases that have freshly cut flowers in them. Using your own style of serving trays will accommodate the flow of conversation traffic, because we all know that sometimes a great conversation can happen within a square radius. Use a funky table top with assorted dishes that coordinate and I’ll bet you get asked about it!

  • Bar/Beverage Area:
    Create a beverage area that is either permanent or just for the occasion. Even if it’s that they are bringing their own, you want a designated place where you can have your glasses, ice and water. Get creative! Use vintage or stand alone beverage container’s to make that space special.


  • Accent with mirrors, inside and out…It opens up any space!

  • Have music on in the background…Not forgetting that people will be lingering outside to your new indoor/outdoor area.

  • Use candles, incense or good old baking to make your place smell good, who can resist feeling good in a place that smells good!

  • Have access to heat for those that are not from Minnesota.

AND when in doubt, refer back to the senses that Mother Nature herself has blessed us with… Your Sight… Hearing... Smell…Touch and sense of Taste will help direct you in making healthy choices that can only reflect to the company that you have.