You Ask, We Answer: What Are This Year’s Best Outdoor Entertaining Trends?
In 2020, we learned just how much we value our outdoor space. When being outside was the safest option to gather with loved ones, many of us created outdoor spaces that mirrored the indoor comfort of our Connecticut homes as much as possible. But while some predicted we’d head back inside once the threat of COVID-19 ebbed, the exact opposite has happened. In fact, we’re loving being outdoors more than ever, and we don’t think there’s any going back. If you feel the same way, read on. We’re detailing some of this year’s best outdoor entertaining trends, and making a list of what to incorporate in our own outdoor spaces. Join us!
Small space, but highly sensorial
One of 2023’s most inspirational—and attainable!—trends? Creating a sensory garden in a smaller space. This can be done along a winding path connecting one space to another, or in a space that houses a pretty bench or other intimate seating options.
Small, highly sensorial spaces delight the senses in myriad ways. Meant to create an outdoor “escape,” these spaces layer texture, sound, and scent to transport you from the stress of daily life. You can begin with adding a beautiful wind chime or soothing water element like a simple fountain to set the tone of your space with sound. Then, consider a feast for your eyes: Varied plant and flower heights, shapes, and textures go a long way in helping to create a sensorial garden space, even if you decide to go more monochromatic with the color scheme. Lastly, delight your sense of smell by planting fragrant flowers like lavender, or mixing up your flowers with fragrant herbs that you can also eat, like basil, mint, lemon balm or lemon thyme. The idea is to create an oasis that engages all your senses whenever you walk through or spend more time here.
Take your favorite room outdoors
The rise of living-room-outdoors isn’t new, but it’s still going every bit as strong in 2023. If you love the coziness of your living room indoors, you’re going to love recreating it outdoors! Outdoor decor has come a long way, and there are as many accessories for entertaining outside as there are for living inside. Think outdoor furniture that invites long-term lounging, like sectional sofas, outdoor rugs to define a designated outdoor space, lighting at various heights and from different sources to create an even and warm glow, floor pillows for extra seating, and even a projector and screen for those outdoor movie nights under the stars.
Creating your favorite room outdoors can be as simple or as elaborate as you want to make it. The important thing is to create a space you’ll want to use whenever it’s not raining.
While adults may reap many of the benefits of outdoor entertainment, this year, all-ages spaces are having their moment. Creating a space for a wide age range means that adults can socialize alongside the kids, making for a more family-friendly atmosphere.
That doesn’t mean subtracting from your outdoor entertainment space, however, but rather, adding to it. Think of simple additions like outdoor games such as croquet, bocce, cornhole sets, or playscapes if your space and budget allows. Also a hit with kids? Oversized cushions they can lay on, especially during those outdoor movie nights! You can even set up a kids’ food station where they can make their own sundaes or choose their own popcorn flavors.
Food prep under the sun or stars
Lastly, creating an outdoor kitchen is a trend in outdoor entertaining that continues to be popular for those looking to maximize their enjoyment. Outdoor kitchen areas often incorporate a grill, a sink, an outdoor air fryer or griddle, or a pizza oven. But really, when it comes to designing an outdoor space to prepare your food, the sky’s the limit!
But outdoor kitchens aren’t just solely about appliances–they’re also about storage that makes your life easier when entertaining. Cabinets that store dishes, utensils, linens, and even blankets for chilly evenings are a welcome addition to any outdoor space–especially if it helps you move seamlessly around your guests without running back and forth inside with your hands full.