HOME > BLOG > Home and Lifestyle > The best entertaining updates for summer – inside and out

Summer is the most popular time of the year to entertain at home. If your outdoor and indoor entertaining areas are a bit lacklustre, now’s the time to get them spruced up for the upcoming festivities.

Backyards may be shrinking, however that’s not deterring Aussies from wanting to entertain outside. An international study by Houzz shows that one in two Australian homeowners use their outdoor space for entertaining – the highest percentage of the 13 countries surveyed.

The vast majority of homeowners (86 per cent) update structural elements such as decks, pergolas, terraces and verandahs during an outdoor renovation project, with most wanting to extend their living space outdoors for relaxation and entertaining.

So from a value point of view, it makes sense to upgrade and maintain this space, given that it’s now become a major selling point in a property. But if you don’t have a suitable area to entertain outside, there are still ways you can make an indoor entertaining area an inviting one. Here are some ideas below.

FOR THE OUTSIDE:

Make sure your deck or patio is in order

  • If you don’t have a designated deck or paved area, then you need to install one as this will really set the stage for entertaining. An outdoor table resting on grass may look rustic in pictures but will soon become a soggy mess underfoot when it rains. If your pavers are dirty and old then clean them with a pressure hose or replace them entirely. A wooden deck can be given a lift with sanding and new paint.

Install appropriate lighting

  • Make sure there is soft but adequate lighting. No one wants to sit around with a spotlight in their face or be eating in the dark. An attractive pendant light is a great choice for an undercover area. Fairy lights can add a magical touch, but just make sure you have enough power point sockets around your garden or choose solar powered options. Running cords through windows is unsightly and not to mention dangerous.


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A vertical garden, even a simple one like this in a few pots, is an easy way to add character and colour.

Create ambience with plants

  • Dress up any outdoor area with planter boxes or plant pots. The rule of thumb is simple – if your area is exposed to the full sun, then choose hardy plants. If it’s undercover, opt for shade tolerant ones. Don’t over clutter the area in foliage. If you’re going for pot plants, group them together in one area such as a corner and make sure there’s a variety of sizes and shapes. A vertical garden on a wall – either a tiered system or small potted plants on a wall – can also look particularly striking. If you’re a gardening novice, go for succulents which need next to no care. Also, if a plant dies, remove it. A wilted, dried out plant hardly makes for an inviting area!

Configure outdoor furniture

  • Outdoor furniture can be expensive, so consider the practicalities of the space before you fork out your cash. If you opt for a 12-seater table but only entertain that many people once a year, is it really a good investment? Or how will you go with a big outdoor lounge if you’re in an unprotected rainy area? Generally, if you can fit in a good-sized dining table and outdoor lounge, you’ve got the ideal combo.

Don’t forget the wall art

  • Jazzing up the walls with a piece of outdoor art is usually something that’s overlooked, however, it can add a real injection of style and personality. If the area is unprotected, a rusted wall hanging, or mosaic art piece will look striking. If you’re undercover, a wood panelled piece will add charm.

FOR THE INSIDE:

Keep bugs at bay

  • For many people a lounge room at the rear of the house that opens out to an outdoor entertaining area is the most coveted space. If you have such a place don’t forget to install a few insect repellers around to keep mosquitoes out. Citronella candles are particularly handy.

Divide and conquer

  • If you have a combined open plan area, think about dividing it into separate adults and kids’ spaces for living and entertaining purposes. So, you could designate that kids stick to the lounge area when entertaining. You can emphasise the divide by placing a low open shelf cupboard at the back of a lounge. That way adults can occupy the dining space which hopefully will be free from toys and clutter.


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An island bench free from a sink or hotplates can be a more pleasant place for guests to congregate.

Choose the right island bench

  • Nowadays when socialising the trend is for people to gather around an island bench in the kitchen. If you’re yet to install one, before you do, consider not having the sink or hotplates within the island. Question whether you want guests to be talking to you amongst a mound of dirty dishes or spitting oil! It may be better to reserve this area purely for prepping food.

Create a social atmosphere

  • Have a few entertaining-friendly furniture pieces in your living area if you can, such as an on-trend drinks cart or liquor cabinet. Also, if entertaining outside isn’t an option, a few plants in this indoor area will help create a relaxing, nature-filled environment.

Make sure you have enough chairs

  • Sometimes there’s not much you can do about this one in a small space, but if your area allows for it, a range of different seating options is handy. A lounge, easy chair, bench stools and ottomans will give your guests a variety of choices.

  • Use a calculator to get an estimate of how much you can borrow. Try one here.

  • See if you qualify. To get a more accurate idea of how much you can borrow with State Custodians, click here.

  • Call our Lending Specialists and they can do the calculation for you over the phone plus answer any questions you have at the time. Talk to us on 13 72 62.