5.15.2009

Outdoor Living

When warm weather and long sunny days are upon us, you can almost always catch me eating a meal outside with family and friends. I love going to restaurants but I prefer eating at home where I can relax and sit outside. Having an outdoor living space is simple to create and will be an area to have dinner in, read a book, or take a nap.

The first thing you'll need is a table and chairs. This is where you can get creative. I use a black iron round table that seats 6 but you can use any table and chair combination you want! I've seen dinner tables made out of door tops, picnic benches that have been painted bright colors and brought out to a garden, and even benches built around trees. It's up to you to decide what kind of material you want to use and how you want to incorporate that into an outdoor space.

Another essential item is light. I always have a string of lights, candles, or an outdoor torch whenever my outdoor room is being used, especially when you have people over. Lights are really cheap and can be used under a table, in a tree, in a trellis, or hanging under an umbrella. One creative and very inexpensive way to create outdoor lighting is by saving your jelly jars (or any jar for that matter). Wash them out, place a candle in the bottom, and viola you have a miniature lantern. Ikea has giant packs of tea lights for CHEAP so I usually buy a few bags.

When you're outside and having dinner, it's always fun to have a potted plant or two around (I have a giant herb pot), and a couple of vases full of whatever is in your garden/growing on the tree. A simple clear vase with something colorful or green always look attractive on a table. If you're having a more formal dinner, you can use a white table cloth. I always see those at estate/tag sales for great prices. The quality of those is much better so pick up a couple. If you are a seamstress you can make your own table cloth out of any material you want.

When it comes to an outside meal, the simpler the food, the better. In the spring/summer you have so many good vegetables to choose from so you can have a few salads, some really good cheese/olives/bread, wine, and your done! Dessert could be a basket of fresh fruit or if you want to make something simple try a tart. Those are an easy way to use whatever fruit is in season. Also, don't worry if your plates and cups don't match. I have a set of green plates I've had for years that I use with a few white plates. If you've ever seen the brand called Fiestaware, you'll see that mixing up different colors looks neat!
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