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.


Design by Kelley Astore Interiors

At Kelley Astore Interiors, we provide a full range of renovation and design services to bring our clients’ designs to fruition, while overseeing and managing the entire remodeling and decorating process. We have ongoing relationships with a range of licensed contractors and skilled craftsmen who work under our supervision on all of our projects; they include cabinetmakers, tile setters, upholsterers, furniture makers, carpenters, electricians, and a drapery workroom. My team and I have been working in interior design and home remodels for over 25 years and our work has been featured on HGTV and in various home design publications; continue reading to find out how we can help you transform your living space into the home of your dreams!

Kitchen Design

Kitchen Design

Kitchens are one of my favorite spots in the house to renovate because they are the heart of a house.  Pictured above is a kitchen renovation that I did in Great Falls, VA. Custom cabinetry is a key feature in maximizing the storage in a kitchen.  They are customized to fit precisely in the room which doesn’t occur with standard cabinetry; plus, they last longer and retain their value.  For this project, we chose a gorgeous marble to accent the custom kitchen island and a neutral color palette to complement it.  The final touches included all new stainless steel kitchen appliances, hardware, and accent lighting.

Bathroom Renovation & Remodeling

Bathroom Renovation & Remodeling

I am excited to share this bathroom with you because it is the bathroom of MY dreams… welcome to my master bathroom.  When designing my bathroom, I wanted to create a space that felt bright, open, and, most importantly, clean. Therefore, I decided to opt for a simplistic and neutral color scheme, which would also help me create a sense of luxury in my bathroom. To kickstart this color scheme and design, I opted for patterned marble flooring from Marble Systems. Here, the mix of grey and white is nicely complemented by a snow-white border and marble baseboard – giving the space a distinctive, luxury feel. Since I chose statement flooring, I went for simple walls.  I designed my own custom vanity so that I could have the exact storage space that I needed and my shower giving it a rainfall showerhead, a main showerhead, and another handheld unit.  The last must-have for me was a large tub… what’s the use in your dream bathroom without a large tub to relax and enjoy it in?!

Custom Furniture Reupholstery

Custom Furniture Reupholstery

We have our own upholsterers and they are the best upholstery makers in the DMV area.  We have worked with them for many years and this long-standing relationship allows us to produce pieces with amazing quality while adhering to deadlines and budget requirements. That means assisting with sourcing distinctive materials, creating renditions of the final piece, and execution to turn your vision into a reality.

Custom Closets

Custom Closets

Having a beautifully designed and smartly organized closet is key to stress-free mornings. There is nothing worse than your closet being full of dirty and disorganized laundry when you need to get ready quickly or you have a busy day ahead. You should be able to walk into your closet and know exactly where everything is. That’s why customizing your closet to be organized in a way that makes sense for you is so important!

Built-in Bookcases

Built-in Bookcases

Unlike a regular bookcase that you might purchase from a furniture store and have moved into a room, built-in bookcases present a variety of creative opportunities and will pave the way for a more seamless design. They are the ultimate storage solution, turning storage into beautiful decor – the marriage between beauty and function. Whether you’re interested in a built-in bookcase with a hidden desk, or a case framing a window with a little place to sit, we’ve got you covered!

Window Treatments

Window Treatments

Make your house uniquely your own with custom-made draperies and shades made in our workroom. Choosing from a multitude of styles and fabrics, custom window treatments will add color, texture, and style to any room. From measuring the windows to designing the window treatments to the installation, we are truly a one-stop-shop. The trained artisans in our workroom convert each bolt of fabric into custom-made window treatments.

Custom Painting

Custom Painting

New paint has the power to self-express and energize moods. Applying fresh paint inside your home gives it a fresh look. We will talk with you to help you decide which paint color to choose by discovering the ambiance you want for each particular room in your home.  

To learn more about our interior design process from start to finish, click here. We look forward to working with you and making your design dreams come to life!


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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