Affordable Outdoor Entertaining

Late summer and early fall is a wonderful time to extend your living space by using your outdoor spaces—decks, patios or balconies

 Here are some tips to make the most of the great outdoors without breaking the bank:

Bring the outdoors in: All-weather wicker is great for both outdoor and indoor entertaining. It’s not only durable, but is more cost effective than indoor pieces and has the added benefit of greater functionality. Many consumers use all-weather wicker as accent pieces in bedrooms, hallways and more.

Give a little cushion: To stretch your dollar, simply update current outdoor furniture with replacement cushions versus buying a whole new set.

Made in the shade: Gazebos, pergolas and umbrellas not only look beautiful, but offer a break from the sun’s rays. Simple gazebos can start at less than $200.

Found beauty: Accent your areas by grouping objects found from outings. Fill multiple jars with sand and shells from beach days to create instant chic and great conversation pieces.

Light the way: Great lighting sets the mood for any space. Inexpensive votive candles can really make an impact when grouped together. White string lights create a cafe feel and are now available as solar-powered versions in fun shapes like butterflies and ladybugs.

Chip away at the ordinary: Get beyond chips and salsa. Popcorn is a fun, healthy snack that creates great aroma when cooked on the grill. Mixed with spicy grilled jalapeno, it gives an outdoor gathering a festive kick that is budget friendly. Deliver a world of flavor: Think tapas or kebabs for your next backyard bash. Tapas are small plates that focus on quality rather than quantity to offer a variety of unique dishes. Kebabs allow for a colorful mix of veggies with steak, chicken, pork or seafood. Consider serving the kebabs with seasoned couscous for an impressive all-in-one dish.