It’s that time of year when it warms up to the point of inspiring you to finally go out to your backyard and ready it for outdoor entertaining. Got a small space? There are always things you can do to turn your outdoor space into a haven for dinner guests.

The first and most important element of getting the space ready is to arrange your outdoor furniture to maximize space. That means placing it around the perimeter of the deck or patio even if you’re used to having it in the middle. Even the table that will hold the buffet should be placed somewhere other than the center, so it gives your guests plenty of room to stand or move around.

Large floor pillows are great for outdoor entertaining, especially when you have limited outdoor seating. Find a few extra spots for guests to sit without taking up too much space (including the grass if it is part of your entertainment area) to add an extra element of coziness.

Now for decor. Experts say to use color wisely in a small space. Stay monochromatic (grays, whites, tans) for the big stuff (furniture cushions) while adding pops of color with pillows, pots, or an outdoor area rug in eye-catching colors and patterns.

Potted or hanging plants can be a focal point, even if there is plenty of foliage on hand. But experts say to place it strategically in your entertaining area to liven things up and make your modest space feel like an exotic retreat.

And don’t forget to put light on the subject! Strings of bistro lights instantly open up a small space and offer a warm glow for a cozier vibe. Covered candles add a nice touch as well. Even those cute little battery-powered mini-lights curled up inside a lantern can add a magical touch.

Now you're good to go! You have an entire summer and fall to look forward to as the weather turns entertainment-friendly. You can use even that modestly-sized back yard as a comfy retreat for both you and your guests. Oh. And don’t forget the food.

Source: TBWS