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Moll Anderson’s Top 10 Tips for Summer Entertaining

When the weather heats up, it’s time to move the party outdoors! Whether you’re taking advantage of a sunny afternoon or a cooler evening, you can make the most of a summer soiree by incorporating these simple—but important—details that add pizzazz to any casual get-together.

The best thing is you don’t have to spend a lot to create an inviting atmosphere your guests will love. In fact, all you need are some basics and a few statement pieces that can be easily re-purposed for other events, occasions and holidays. Like I’ve said many times before, it’s the decadent details like these that can make the biggest difference!

As you get those parties started this summer, try these 10 tips that are sure to make you a hit as the hostess and your entertaining an unforgettable experience.

1. Forget the paper and plastic and use real silverware and napkins to add an elegant touch to your tablescapes. We aren’t throwing a tailgate party here; we are creating ambiance!

Photo by Jason Doiy. ©2011. All Rights Reserved.

2. Better dishes add to the atmosphere too, but you can opt for non-breakable melamine to avoid any accidental breaks.

3. Create cozier settings for your guests by using umbrellas and small tents to construct spaces ideal for socializing.

4. Candles, lanterns and inexpensive lighting, such as white twinkle lights, can have the same effect, particularly in setting the stage for evening parties.

5. Big bold blooms like sunflowers placed in cans or pitchers can make for centerpieces with lots of character. Go ahead and express yourself!

6. You can add natural scents to your tablescape by using fruit centerpieces that can also be used as garnishes for drinks if you run out.

7. Don’t forget to add color, color, color! Choose shades that evoke the mood you want to set, then use scarves from your own closet to drape across the table.

8. Get fancy with displaying place cards. Gather inspiration from your favorite things in nature, like shells or other summery items.

9. Spend just a little more on large vases and oversized pillars for candles, then let your imagination take over. Fill vases with fruit, flowers or both!

10. Every party needs a soundtrack. Create playlists that complement your party atmosphere and then turn up the music!

For more summer entertaining inspiration, visit my Summer Entertaining board on Pinterest.

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Moll Anderson

About Moll Anderson

Moll Anderson is an accomplished interior designer and lifestyle expert who infused the interior design world with a fresh new way of thinking with her first book, Change Your Home, Change Your Life®. She is known for her sensory-scaped approach to design featured in her newest book The Seductive Home™. Anderson, an Emmy-winning entertainment reporter, has served as guest and designer on national television shows and has been featured in popular women’s magazines. Get to know Moll Anderson at

  • THA

    I love the paper lanterns and the idea of using limes and lemons in the bottom of your flower bases!

  • Jcook814

    Do you have any tips for entertaining in a small space? I love the ideas above!

  • jlwp

    Great tips, Moll! I love getting to hear your voice through the blog followed up by your beautiful pins! Do you have any sountrack suggestions on Spotify or Pandora?

  • Adbrunt

    Every party does need a soundtrack! I never have people over without music to play. We just bought a portable Bose Ipod docking station…it’s perfect for outdoors.

  • Moll Anderson

    Thats awesome that you already understand that music is the atmosphere thermostat! Make sure you do it for yourself as well. Music is a great way to unwind and set the mood for relaxation or romance!

    Keep up the good work,

  • Moll Anderson

    Depends on what type of mood you are trying to set.

    Here are just a few great artists that you can literally take the whole body of work from the CD for any type of situation: Norah Jones, Sade, Joss Stone. Robin Thicke, Maxwell and Barry White are most fabulous for bringing your sexy back — Steve Tyrell, Adele or Frank Sinatra can set a cool night club vibe!


  • Moll Anderson

    If you have a garage, I love to empty the living space and put the sofa, chairs, coffee table, etc in the garage on a tarp for the evening. I like to turn the space into an open cocktail area with a long skinny table down the center to serve dinner on or a round table
    smack in the middle to set up for dining. Or with a larger ground–an Hors D’oeuvres station. It makes for a sleek vibe. If you can’t move the furniture then definitely do a buffet and pick up trays at Pier One or Z Gallerie. They make balancing your dinner on your lap a breeze. Set each tray ahead of time with a placemat, napkin and silverware and stack. Each person can grab one after they make their plate and end in a seat or indian style on the floor!

    Just remember to have fun and your guests will too!

  • Moll Anderson

    I’m so glad you liked our floral and fruit combo. Lanterns are super inexpensive and come in a rainbow of colors so there is no end to what you can create. Also, think oranges, apples and another fruit that is the color you are trying to decorate your space with.
    Have fun and please send pics of anything you try and share with our readers!