Décor Ideas for Summer Entertaining

Michelle Hopkins
July 8, 2016

As seen in...


Nothing says party time better than a beautifully decorated home. Summertime is the season when we tend to entertain a little more because we can take the festivities outside as well. If you live in a condominium, having an outdoor deck or patio is especially important during larger gatherings.

We went to award-winning interior designer Jamie Banfield, principal of Jamie Banfield Design, for some decorating tips that will make your condo a showstopper for your next social.

“The first piece of advice I give clients is think ahead and then shop first in your own home,” says Banfield. “In the industry, we call that redesign wear… find new uses for what you already own.”

Start by recycling your holiday decorations. The seasoned designer will often raid his clients’ Christmas boxes to uncover items such as lantern holders, candles, or strings of lights that, with a little DIY elbow grease, can become distinctive summertime décor items.

“You can take those Christmas lights, preferably not the traditional ones but the clear or white bulbs, and wrap them around your deck railing. In your home, use them on shelving or your indoor tree for some ambience,” he adds. “I also love decorative tape (also called frog tape). It is available in so many colours and styles and you can do just about anything with it, from decorating vases to creating fun patterns on tables and chairs.”

Nothing jazzes up your space more than layers. Banfield, a condo dweller himself, once took a plain outdoor carpet and spray painted bold geometric patterns it  creating a super one-of-a-kind rug. 

“I know it sounds cliché but to save money and still create that wow factor you have to think outside the box,” he says

Rethink What You Already Have

If you have dated accent pillows or cushions, dust them off and recover them with indoor/ outdoor fabric. 

“There are great water and stain repellant fabrics that look amazing,” Banfield says. “Today, they come in fabulous geometric shapes, bold colours and trendy prints with added details such as bicycles, fish, or the ever-popular beachy tones and motifs. Don’t be afraid to mix and match colour… black and white cushions complement bold, colourful ones really well.” 

If you have a small patio or deck with no real room for a table year-round, take your tufted ottoman outdoors; it can double as a table for your next party. 

“Place your vase of favourite flowers and a few candles on it and it will look great, advises our expert.

Creative Accessories

If you are looking for ways to add a punch of colour to your summer décor, grab some of your pots or planters (or buy inexpensive plain ones). Then, take some barbecue sprays (available in lots of different colours at home hardware stores) or chalkboard spray paint and create your own unique pots.

Banfield loves storage stools, benches and tables that fold up and can be brought out for your next gathering. 

Buy some metal pots or little buckets and hang them on your railing. You can use hooks that you hang pots and pans from in your kitchen. Then, fill them with your napkins or salt and pepper shakers. Yet another can house utensils and one can be filled with fresh mint so your guests can pick their own mint for their cocktail. 

Take your mason jars and fill them with sand and candles for an easy, ornamental touch. 

Living on the west coast, it is easy to find driftwood on a beach or downed branches on your next walk. 

“Take those pieces of wood, nail them together and you can have a cool rustic serving tray,” Banfield says. 

At his own wedding, Banfield says there were many children. He found a three-sided, six-foot-tall cardboard lemonade stand at Ikea for about $20 and, funked it up.  

It looked like an old school stand and we added pockets and filled them with straws, cups and fab napkins so the kids could have their own cool bar during the cocktail hour.”  

Mood Lighting

To set the mood at a soirée, Banfield loves lanterns in all different shapes and sizes. 

“You can cluster them around or if you have an overhang or a post on your deck, hang them up,” he says. “Or you can string them across your table. Use LED lights or candles.”

Faux shrubs are really hot today. 

“They look real and are great left out on your patio all year round,” he says, adding that festooning them with a set of Edison light bulbs makes them even showier. Not only do the lit shrubs provide height but, when it’s dark and your guests are sitting around, it can really set the tone.

Lastly, Banfield says have some outdoor blankets (preferably made with natural fibers) to keep your guests warm on a cool evening.

Michelle Hopkins
Michelle Hopkins is a Vancouver-based freelance writer with extensive magazine, newspaper and online writing experience in home décor, new home developments, culinary adventures, wine, travel and more. Michelle writes for many notable publications including Real Estate Weekly and other Glacier Media Group publications, Western Living Magazine, Vancouver Magazine, Home Décor & Renovations, to name just a few. Michelle is passionate about anything to do with real estate.