Add sizzle to summer parties with colorful decor

  • Article by: MARIA MARTIN , ShopAtHome.com
  • Updated: June 20, 2014 - 2:49 PM

Colorful decor and festive lighting can brighten up outdoor occasions.

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Watermelon Condiment Set ($24.95, pier1.com). (Pier1/MCT) ORG XMIT: 1154107

The lazy days of summer are here, which means it’s time to enliven the season by hosting a gathering.

In the heat of the day, your friends and family might chose to linger in air-conditioned goodness. But if that heat lets up a bit during the evening, pick anyplace from a sprawling front porch to a tiny patio as the go-to spot for friends. With July 4th around the corner, a few tables scattered near the grill or fire pit will draw the gang.

It doesn’t cost a lot to give your home or outdoor space a bit of pizazz to brighten up the party, said Mindy Weiss, celebrity event planner with HomeGoods.

“When you think of what brings a party to life, you think of excitement and energy — and I really think it’s all about the ambience that you create,” Weiss said. “You don’t have to spend a lot of money to create this.”

She suggests adding a colored dish or bright glasses to your existing dishware, or adding extra lighting by tucking candles in unusual places.

Lanterns and bulb lighting offer an inexpensive way to create the light and ambience that will make your gatherings stand out.

Along with lighting, touches like flowers and handcrafted trays will help you create cheerful centerpieces for gatherings, said Aimee Beatty, in-house stylist for Pier 1 Imports.

“Let your decor reflect the best of summer — easy, fun and vibrant,” she said. “Embrace your table as a main focal point, and combine your favorite accessories to create a cheerful centerpiece that instantly feels like summer.”

No table? No problem, Beatty said. Serving carts bring the party to the action, whether you’re serving snacks by the poolside or drinks on the porch. Especially during gatherings where small children are running around, she suggests dinner and drinkware that’s pretty but practical — as in unbreakable.

When the sun starts to set, lanterns and LED candles around the patio will brighten up the festivities. But even before you map out your décor and plan the menu, Weiss points out something essential to every gathering:

“Consider your guest list,” she said. “Are they all compatible? Are they all interesting? Try to mix it up a bit.”

Once that list is down, check out these treasures, sure to help brighten your summer festivities:

L.L. Bean Original Folding Adirondack Chair

($199, llbean.com)

Seat your guests in style. This sturdy wooden chair, built to last for years of outdoor living, is a classic touch for every porch.

Sonoma Outdoors Presidio Patio Wicker Cooler

$299, kohls.com

Who says a cooler can’t be classy? We loved this beauty, and while we listed the full price, we found it at a deep discount.

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  • SONOMA Outdoors Presidio Patio Wicker Cooler ($299, kohls.com). (Kohl's/MCT) ORG XMIT: 1154107

  • L.L.Bean Original Folding Adirondack Chair ($199, llbean.com). (L.L.Bean/MCT) ORG XMIT: 1154107

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