ENTERTAINING: Patio Party Panache

It’s that time again! Sunny days that stay sunny just a little bit longer and balmy nights that beg you to pour just one more glass of chardonnay. It’s time to fire up the grill and invite friends and family to your patio, deck, or pool to enjoy an alfresco party. And although the most important ingredient for any party is FUN, we asked our Savvy design team for some suggestions to give your next patio party an extra pop of panache.



Kathleen Matthews, Interior Designer

A perfectly set table can really set the scene for your party and make your guests feel special. Here are two fun ideas for thematic tabletops from Savvy designer Kathleen Matthews.


A tropical theme is perfect for summertime soirées. Oversized palm leaves are awesome placemats. Rings of raffia make perfect napkin rings. Mangoes, mini pineapples, and small tiki torches are great centerpiece options. Shells in all shapes and sizes are beautiful table accents. And of course greet your guests with a colorful lei when they arrive. 

  Image:  Ruffled Blog   Photo by Krista Mason

Image: Ruffled Blog   Photo by Krista Mason

  Image:  Pizzazzerie

Image: Pizzazzerie

  Image:  Pizzazzerie

Image: Pizzazzerie

  Image:  The Frugal Homemaker

Image: The Frugal Homemaker


A romantic garden party is always a good idea! Here are a few ideas to make yours anything but garden variety. Stunning table linens in pastel colors (think pinks, yellows, blues, lavenders, and corals) set the stage for a beautiful tabletop. Vintage accessories, such as small jeweled picture frames (use them for name cards), and antique jewelry (bracelets make awesome napkin rings), are ideal accessories. Mismatched small jars are great vases for a single bud or small bouquet. Or use them for candle holders. Old-fashioned flowers, such as shasta daises, lavender, and roses are a gracious and fragrant finishing touch.

  Image:  Bloglovin

Image: Bloglovin

  Image:  Brides Up North

Image: Brides Up North

  Image:  Camille Styles

Image: Camille Styles

  Image:  French Larkspur

Image: French Larkspur


Karen Smith, Interior Designer

Lighting is an essential component for any space, inside or outside!  For an outdoor space there are many options for creating special ambiance. Here are a few ideas from designer Karen Smith.

Candles, Candles, Candles!:  You can never have enough, right? When decorating an outdoor space for entertaining, try floating tea lights in glasses or bowls of water. Or nestle them in containers filled with sand or in flower pots. Larger candles work great, too! Paper bags die-cut with unique designs are the perfect spot to place battery operated candles to let the light shine through. 

String Lights:  Nothing is more magical than a starry, starry night. Recreate some of the enchantment with strings of lights overhead. Wrap large and small bulbs around tree trunks, from tree to tree, around poles or on railings. String lights covering a pergola is gorgeous. Tiny LED wired lights stuffed into jars or cloches is a “bright” idea for a centerpiece. 

Lanterns: Lanterns are a classic source of outdoor illumination, and now there are so many styles to choose from to reflect any design style including rustic metal, and gas lanterns, lanterns with real or battery candles, and brightly colored paper lanterns with electric lights in them hung in trees or under covered areas.

Landscape Lights: Of course, a outdoor entertaining area that is beautifully landscaped with light is always stunning. Wired or solar, landscape lights can really set the stage for all of the additional lights you decide to add to your space for ambiance. 

Tiki Torches: It isn’t really summer until you break out the tiki torches, is it? This classic outdoor light source adds a tropical touch and just makes you want to drink a pina colada.

  Available at Savvy!

Available at Savvy!

  Image:  Anthropolgie

Image: Anthropolgie

  Image:  Elle Decor

Image: Elle Decor

  Image:  DIY and Crafts

Image: DIY and Crafts

  Image:  Nous Decor

Image: Nous Decor

  Image:  Mint In the Middle

Image: Mint In the Middle


Lisa Rapp, Visual Merchandiser and Buyer

When decorating the outdoors for entertaining, it only makes sense to take advantage of the natural elements that surround you to add those special finishing touches. Lisa Rapp, Savvy’s visual merchandiser and buyer, offers her tips for embracing the organic to put nature’s exclamation point on your party!

“I love a rustic outdoor space for entertaining alfresco,” says Lisa. Unique metal pots and wooden crates pair well with an abundance of succulents and bold colored flowering plants. Hot pinks, bright yellows, and lots of greenery can add a tropical feel, while an all white palette is fresh, cool and classic. Tall twigs can be more contemporary and geometric. Keeping in mind your natural surroundings can help dictate the direction of your floral design. City dwellers may want a more urban contemporary feel. Countryside picnics may warrant a more old-fashioned or vintage look. Of course in the end, there are no rules when it comes to design, and flowers and plants are no exception. It’s your party, have fun with it, and do what you love!

  Image:  Inspired by This 

Image: Inspired by This 

  Image:  First Family Doctor

Image: First Family Doctor

  Image:  Macadameia

Image: Macadameia

  Image:  Zillow

Image: Zillow