The chilly nights might have you thinking that it's time to pack up the patio, but I happen to think that Autumn is the best time to be outside. No season is better for dining al fresco with a small dinner party or gathering around a fire pit with warm drinks. You just need to make some quick changes to get your outdoor space ready for cool-weather entertaining.
Bring indoor furniture out.
If the forecast looks clear, dragging a sofa or upholstered chair outside will instantly up the cozy factor. After all, it's tough to get snug on a cold metal chair. You can even use a sofa as seating around a patio table for an outdoor dinner party. Then steal cushions and pillows from the other rooms in your house to warm up (and dress up) the rest of your patio furniture.
Toss around a few throws.
'Tis the season for bundling up under blankets. Leave a basket full of them for guests to grab at their leisure. Layer small, plushier throws (like a faux sheepskin) onto your summer furniture–the benches, stools and hard chairs–to make them more Fall-friendly.
Break out the fire pit.
A fire pit with a few surrounding chairs makes a perfect gathering place on a cool evening. If you don't have one, here are 9 great looking fire pits for less than $99.
Cut the breeze with a patio shade or curtains.
Adding curtains to your covered patio will help keep you warm, blocking wind and adding privacy at the same time. Just make sure that your curtains are a safe distance away from any fire pit or fireplace.
Lay down a rug.
Lay down a plush rug to add style and a soft layer between your guests and a cold stone or concrete floor. An all-weather rug might not do the trick on really chilly nights, so layer up with an indoor rug for just the night when the weather's nice (IKEA's $12.99 TEJN faux sheepskin is great for this).
Pick a signature (warm) drink.
I love making white hot chocolate this time of year; it's a simple drink that I can whip up from my pantry almost anytime (just milk, white chocolate and vanilla). Your go-to warm drink might be hot cocoa, spiced apple cider, or a hot toddy. Try out a few and find one you like.
Make sure there's plenty of table space.
Some guests prefer a cold beverage at any time of year, so make sure there are side tables or coffee tables for everyone to set down their drinks. I'm also a huge fan of keeping a stock of koozies nearby.
How do you transition your outdoor space for cool-weather entertaining?