On the Cheap: Outdoor Entertaining Under $100

Shopping Guide

Planning a barbecue, picnic, or outdoor cocktail party? Instead of paper plates, try recyclable and reusable stuff — in the long run, it can save you money. Plus, it just looks better and adds a little bit of class to your soiree. Here are some of our go-to sources for quality entertaining supplies and outdoor decor on a budget.

5093f4c2d9127e2f1c0004cd. w.94 h.71 s.centercrop House 8810
This webshop stocks cheerful retro oilcloth, melamine dishes, and the 'Urban Picnic Box' (shown above) — a cardboard boombox that comes with compostable napkins, trays, bowls, utensils, and cups.
• Shown: Urban Picnic Box, $25

5093f4c3dbd0cb0358000572. w.94 h.71 s.centercrop Preserve Products
Their reusable plates and utensils are made with recycled and recylable plastic that's stronger and better looking than the average stuff you find at the grocery store.
• Shown: On the Go Cutlery, $5.50/set

5093f4c4d9127e2f1000049f. w.94 h.71 s.centercrop World Market
This chain store carries inexpensive wine and specialty foods, as well as barware and serving supplies. They also have a nice selection of string lights and outdoor decorations.
• Shown: Clear String Lights, on sale for $13.50

5093f4c4dbd0cb0349000533. w.94 h.71 s.centercrop TubTrugs.us
These started out in England as garden buckets, but they've found their way into the American market as multi-purpose pieces that can be used as ice buckets and party pails.
• Shown: Tub Trugs, $11 - $23

5093f4c5d9127e2f100004a0. w.94 h.71 s.centercrop Fabric.com
Located in Georgia, this site is a well-known resource for discounted fabrics, and they carry lots of oilcloths that would work for an outdoor table covering.
• Shown: Red Gingham Oilcloth, on sale for $6/yard

5093f4c5dbd0cb0349000534. w.94 h.71 s.centercrop IKEA
They debut a new summer collection each year, and it's usually a good source for budget umbrellas, outdoor fabrics, tea lights, and folding outdoor furniture.
• Shown: Ramso Umbrellas, $15 each

5093f4c6d9127e2f100004a1. w.94 h.71 s.centercrop Target
Their outdoor collection includes some simple metal bistro table-and-chair sets that come in basic brights and clock in under $100. They also carry outdoor decor, string lights, and picnic supplies.
• Shown: Outdoor Patio Folding Bistro Set, $89

5093f4c7dbd0cb03350004eb. w.94 h.71 s.centercrop SaveOnCrafts
This website specializes in wedding and event supplies, so they have a lot of inexpensive hurricane vases, votives, string lights, and outdoor decorations that you can buy in bulk.
• Shown: Hurricane Vase, 4 for $30

5093f4c7d9127e2f0a000465. w.94 h.71 s.centercrop Amazon.com
Weber's Smokey Joe is a portable tabletop grill that's small enough for a beach or a balcony. For more grill shopping tips and options, see this post.
• Shown: Weber Smokey Joe Charcoal Grill, $35

5093f4c8dbd0cb03350004ec. w.94 h.71 s.centercrop Seltzer Studios
Online shop Seltzer Studios specializes in tabletop and home decor that's super-bright and not too serious. They carry lots of melamine and plastic servingware.
• Shown: Two Tone Melamine Salad/Chip Bowl, $24

5093f4c9d9127e2f100004a2. w.94 h.71 s.centercrop Alice Supply Co.
This webshop specializes in bright, colorful versions of everyday stuff. Their 13-gallon trash bags, for instance, are decorated with stripes, so they're pretty enough to keep on display.
• Shown: Trash Bags, $12

Photo: Urban Picnic Box at House 8810