It’s that time of the year when we embrace warmer days and nights — spending more time outdoors soaking up the sunshine, dining outside rather than in and taking a much needed rest after the year that’s been. The weather allows you to take advantage of neglected outdoor spaces and can often provide a more causal but magic feel to the meals.

Here are five ways you can make the most of summer entertaining.

1. Create an outdoor room

To create a space that you truly want to spend time in and to make entertaining easier think of your outdoor area as an extension of your home. This means using the same styling principles that you would apply to any room. You may be hosting a dinner party or something more carefree with drinks and finger food, no matter what the event, ensure there is adequate seating for those who may need a seat.

For a more casual atmosphere you can create different 'zones' for your guests to spend time in. Use floor or throw cushions to make a space for relaxing and having a drink in after a meal.

Tip — If you have an outdoor space that is protected from the elements, add a natural woven rug to ground the space and draw the eye in.

2. Add pendant lighting

Using large statement lighting will add height to the space and draw the eye up —it will also create a more festive and intimate feel. These beautiful linen pendants are ideal for grouping over a table setting but festoon or fairy lights can work well too.

Tip — Use different pendants shapes and sizes and hang them at varying heights. This will add interest and some sculptural forms above your table setting. 

3. Create a statement centrepiece

When it comes to entertaining, it can be fun to introduce a statement piece for the centre of your table to really set the tone. Adding fresh or dried foliage in an oversized basket can be a simple way to do this. Save money by creating your own display rather than sourcing one from a florist. Group different bunches together in a vase or basket but make sure they are in keeping tonally or get creative and create a mixed display.

Tip - If you're using a large woven basket, place a smaller vase within it that you can fill with water. This will protect the basket and also keep your flowers or foliage fresh.

4. Layer it up

Setting a beautiful table doesn't have to be fussy or rigid. Start by building layers with timber chopping boards, stacks of ceramics, glassware and add some candles for a festive touch. You can use fresh in-season produce for your tabletop too or forage some foliage from your garden to scatter around the table.

5. Food

The summer season brings all our family and loved ones together and after such a trying year these moments are so special. Sharing platters and snack boards are ideal for these types of occasions as they allow your guests to take their time and pick and choose as they please. Fresh summery salads, bbq's and dips and cheeses can be ideal for creating that light summer feel.