Stylish ideas for an evening get-together outdoors

Corner sofa in garden
Jennifer Morgan,-Interiors Editor

As the sun starts to set, entertain in an outdoor space that becomes warm and cosy at night

It’s time to rethink your outdoor space in order to create an area that works into the evening too, allowing you to entertain friends after the sun sets. Just as your indoor living room functions differently throughout the day, so too can your outdoor sofa space. Once the kids are in bed, it’s time to tidy away the garden toys, light some candles, and relax with friends as you serve drinks and nibbles.

Garden seating is much easier to arrange than living room furniture, as you don’t have to take fixed items such as windows, doors or fireplaces into account. Try placing chairs in a circle around a coffee table or firepit so that you can sit and chat easily. If you need to zone your space, then just do as you would inside, positioning furniture on an outdoor rug or two. Pouffes are useful as additional side tables with a tray on top, and make great extra seating as they’re light enough to move around.

‘Layering outdoor rugs and adding bean bags creates an intimate space to relax in the evening,’ says Bethan Harwood, Partner & Home Design Stylist (@johnlewis_bethan). ‘Bring items from inside out – cushions and blankets will make sure you are cosy for when the sun goes down.’

‘Dress outdoor seating as you would your sofa,’ agrees Wil Law, Partner & Home Design Stylist (@johnlewis_wil). ‘Mix plain, patterns and textures to create maximum interest. Don't forget the floor too – introduce an outdoor rug for a shot of pattern and again, added comfort.’

Outdoor lighting is just the thing to create mood. ‘Festoon or fairy lights will create an ambient light. You can wrap them around a pergola, or string them across the space for a warm glow. Lanterns and candles can then give extra pockets of light making sure your guests feel relaxed and cosy,' says Bethan. Look for pieces that perform more than one function – like a lantern and speaker combination – to create plenty of mood.

All that’s left is to invite your favourite people and make the most of your garden this summer. 

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