How to Create the Perfect Outdoor Entertaining Space

It’s Summertime when the smell of backyard barbecues lures us outside and life in the Washington DC area calls for fun outdoor gatherings with friends, family, and coworkers!   Regardless of the size of your backyard, patio, or deck, you want it to feel like an extension of your home. It needs to be cheerful and inviting for all guests.  Let’s talk about the ways we can make your backyard oasis the entertaining epicenter of the summer.

Outdoor Seating

Let’s start with outdoor seating because that is where the majority of your guests will be spending their time.  If you have the space for both a dining space and an outdoor living space, that’s great. If you don’t, there are ways of incorporating the dining space into the living space so don’t fret.  By making sure that the living space is useful and well-appointed, your guests will feel at ease enjoying their summer meal and drinks amongst company.

The most important element of your outdoor seating area is the actual seating.  Your outdoor furniture should be weather resistant; the best materials are powder-coated aluminum, stainless steel, acrylic and synthetic woven resin, and teak.  You’ll want to layer it with soft furnishings that are UV and mildew resistant; I’m talking nice plump, washable cushions.  Plus, outdoor throw pillows add comfort and style to your space.  Since we are aiming to bring the indoors out, an outdoor rug adds an extra touch of design.  Planters with beautiful greenery and blooming flowers can define the outdoor seating space, pop in color, and remind you that it’s summer. When you are wanting to entertain before the sun goes down, an umbrella, awning, or pergola can give you shade from the hot sun. 

Outdoor Kitchen

Outdoor kitchens get you outside and help you make the most of your outdoor entertaining space.  However, the location of your outdoor kitchen is key; it should be close to your house to avoid the hassle of scurrying back and forth between indoors and out with miscellaneous cookware and side dishes.  The best outdoor kitchens are outfitted with a sink, grill, storage, and some type of refrigeration.  However, outdoor pizza ovens are all the craze right now so if your friends and family are up for the occasional Italian night, you might want to consider one. They do not have to be permanent; the mid-sized, countertop pizza ovens save space and money.  Lastly, verify that all of your outdoor kitchen appliances are made of durable, waterproof, and rust-resistant materials. 

Outdoor Bar

An outdoor bar makes your backyard the ultimate spot for sundowners.  It gives the potential to turn an average backyard into the perfect space for entertaining. Picture a refreshing cocktail with a drink umbrella as you laugh and talk with all those closest to you…. Ahhh sweet summertime! Not to mention, you won’t have to miss any of the fun by having to go inside to make drinks. 

Outdoor Lighting

Outdoor lighting is the icing on the cake for outdoor entertainment. It sets the perfect ambiance once the stars come out.  Festoon lights can stay outside all year long and are an easy, inexpensive way to add sparkle to outdoor living. Also, I am a big fan of uplighting trees throughout the backyard.  Another simple addition is solar stake lights placed along paths or patios.  My favorite feature for lighting is a water feature that can bubble 24/7 and give off subtle light in the dark.  It adds a feeling of zen and relaxation.  

Having the perfect outdoor living space means that you can entertain all summer long.  You can effortlessly update your outdoor entertainment space by adding pops of color and lighting or you can go full out with a complete backyard makeover.  Whichever path you choose, or somewhere in between, will make for more enjoyable outdoor get-togethers!

Summer Design Tips

We have packed up our jackets, pants, and boots and mentally put away the colors that remind us of colder days.  Summer is on the horizon and so are its vibrant colors.  Read along as I provide summer design tips to help you brighten up your home to better enjoy your summer!

Power Washing

The start of summer is a great time to power wash your home, driveway, sidewalk, and patio.  Most of the pollen from the spring has completed its yearly encroachment on our lives and has left us souvenirs of its existence.  Power washing cleans the remnants of pollen and leaves a home looking refreshed.  It also takes away the allergens from your patio so that it is ready to host those summer night get-togethers. A dark driveway and walkway can detract from the beautiful greenery and flowers that surround your home so don’t neglect to have them power washed as well.   If you don’t own a pressure washer or don’t have the time to delegate to this task, my team and I can power wash for you. 

Flowers & Planters

The beginning of the summer is a great time to plant trees and fill our pots and planters full of flowers!  The beauty of the greenery and flowers creates a perfect ambiance for enjoying the outdoors, not to mention its appeal that will leave your friends and neighbors envious.  

Outdoor Umbrellas

The heat of the summer sun can be intense so adding a beautiful umbrella to your outdoor space is a must.  My friend Emily designs and fabricates gorgeous umbrellas that fit any occasion.  “Emily’s Umbrellas are fully customizable with a wide selection of styles and top-quality hardware. Traditional, modern, elegant or whimsical, you can create the perfect umbrella for your deck, patio or pool. Made with 100% acrylic solution-dyed fabric guaranteed for six years against shrinking, rotting, fading, water, mold, and mildew-resistant.” – Emily’s Umbrellas. And did I mention that they are reversible?!  

Outdoor Furniture

To be able to enjoy your outdoor space during the summer, you have to be comfortable… I’m talking about outdoor furniture cushions.  The harsh conditions of the outdoors can take a toll on your outdoor furniture so the onset of summer is the perfect time to introduce new, vibrant cushions.  My favorite fabric houses that sell outdoor fabrics in the Washington DC area are Kravet, Schumacher, Pindler, and Fabricut.  The best summer fabrics are bright and fun!  So if you are unsure which direction you want to go with your new cushions and outdoor space, let me help you fulfill your outdoor furniture needs and desires.

The summer months will be gone as quickly as they arrived so make the most of them by enjoying the outdoors, entertaining friends and family, relaxing, and grilling.

Master Bathroom Renovation

This extremely large master bathroom in Sterling, VA was in need of a facelift.  It was a builder’s grade bathroom with old white octagon tile on the bathroom floor, 4 x 6 tile surrounding the old jacuzzi tub, an outdated cherry-stained vanity, and bulky chrome shower doors.

Here one day, gone the next!!! 

All of the tile on the bathroom floor was jack hammered out of an old bed of mortar. Old vanity, mirror, toilet, jacuzzi bathtub, and shower….gone. We completely gutted the entire bathroom, including replacing the plumbing, reworking the electrical, and applying new sub-flooring.  

Next, we focused on the new shower.  After framing it with durock, we installed white marble octagon-shaped tile on the shower floor and staggered 12 x 24 white marble tiles on the shower walls.  Additionally, we placed a 4 x12 marble border around the sides and top of the shower. All of the chrome plumbing supplies are Grohe and all of the marble is from Marble Systems. 

On those cool mornings, there is nothing nicer than stepping onto a heated bathroom floor. My crew installed the floor heating on top of a base layer of durock.  Then, we placed white marble 18 x 18 tile going diagonally across the bathroom floor for a unique feature.

Once the flooring was completed, it was time to bring in the tub… not a small feat!  My guys had to bring it in sideways through the doors in the house but thankfully it arrived in two pieces, the base, and the basin.  We situated it under the skylight in the bathroom and centered it in front of the window. 

Then, we brought in the vanity and positioned it on the wall opposite the shower and tub.  We chose a well-defined double vanity with a marble countertop that complemented the marble throughout the entire bathroom.

There were two finishing touches in this stunning master bathroom. First, my crew installed the full glass panel shower door and walls, giving the bathroom a sleek and open feel.  Second, we brought in a large beveled edge mirror and hung it over the vanity.  Lastly, we installed three chrome sconces on the actual mirror, providing plentiful lighting.

Kelley Astore Interiors

Expert Interior Design & Renovation Services of Every Style.

Where We Work

Northern Virginia, Washington, DC,
and the Greater Washington Area


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