Transforming An Outdoor Space for Entertaining

This post is in partnership with Birch Lane.
The products featured are new from Birch Lane, so scroll to the end for direct source links!

Hey, hey! I’m so glad you’re here. I can’t wait to give you a little peek at the before and progress photos of this side porch area of my home (just outside my newly remodeled kitchen) as well as share some tips for refreshing your own outdoor space.

With spring just about here (it is, isn’t it?), now is the time to start planning a few outdoor projects so you can enjoy every bit of upcoming sunshine. That’s exactly what I intend to do.

Remember when we first moved in? Our porch looked like this:

The side porch just didn’t feel as welcoming as I wanted it to be (clearly even neighborhood cats weren’t welcome here, either, hahahah). I knew with a few cosmetic changes, the porch and our home would have a modern coastal cottage vibe that would suit it and our location well.

For those who are new here, our home is on the west coast in the city of Seattle, overlooking the salty waters of the Puget Sound (as well as the Olympic Mountains on a clear day!). With our brand new Dutch door installed, the now painted white brick, new charming light fixture and stained concrete, we’ve made quite a bit of progress already! We still have lots more to do, but even though it’s been slow, I feel like we are on the right track.

I’ll let you in on a little behind the scenes craziness from this day we were taking these photos. There were a few sun breaks (which have been almost non-existent since October!), but don’t let a glimpse of pretty blue sky fool you.

It was freezing. And super windy and rainy most of the day. We had to remind ourselves that spring would indeed arrive and by summer we will actually really enjoy being outside in this space.

Lily - Dutch Door - The Inspired Room

As we were trying to set things up (in between wind gusts and rain drops) our dogs started hopping up on the Dutch door trying to see what we were doing. Our day was made. That is exactly what we dreamed might happen some sunny day if we had a Dutch door. It’s the little things that give us inspiration and make the effort all worthwhile, right? Dreams can come true.

I have pictured for a very long time about how we would use this outdoor area. Besides wanting a convenient and clean path to carry and unload groceries into the kitchen, I really wanted a table out here that we would use on a regular basis. I envisioned a charming spot to have morning coffee as well as a convenient place to set up plates and food for outdoor entertaining.

This lovely teak table and quality chairs from Birch Lane are just perfect for outdoor gatherings or quiet mornings. I can’t wait to set it up for our first get-together in this space.

I’m pretty casual when it comes to how I set up outdoor parties (or indoor parties for that matter), but I do like to have pretty things on hand to serve with. It’s fun to make spring and summer parties feel more special without stressing out trying to make it all perfect.

Besides a table to gather around, having a conveniently placed table can make a helpful landing spot to bring things out from the kitchen, too.

Birch Lane’s melamine plates are ideal for outdoor entertaining with a little more class than paper plates. I love the copper edged trays, too. Since our backyard is down a few steps, being able to transport food to the BBQ is important so I’m excited to put these trays to good use.

The serving baskets are also really cute.

They make it easy to transport utensils and napkins, as well as keep everything together and handy for guests.

A set of melamine glasses let you serve your beverage with flair (and another benefit, they are heavy enough that they won’t be as likely to tip over as paper or plastic cups!). I love the design on this set.

I think with creating outdoor spaces for entertaining, it helps to think through everything you’ll need in advance so you can be prepared and less stressed.

But on the day of an outdoor event, you just have to go with the flow! Case in point, it was so windy when I was taking these photos that my paper napkins kept blowing away. Small potted flowers to the rescue.

I knew from day one that I would want copper accents to add warmth to the patio and porch. These gorgeous hammered copper planters were exactly the style and additional texture I dreamed about.

I can’t wait to shop for plants and flowers that can fill our porch and side yard with the lush look I picture for this space. Not only will I love sitting out here surrounded by green, but I will be so happy to finally see plants from inside the kitchen. Plants can really transform a patio!

But don’t worry, you really don’t have to have a green thumb to add some plants to your outdoor table. Look at these adorable little succulents. Have you ever seen such adorable little faux plants? You guys, THESE PLANTS WON’T DIE! These are perfect to have ready for decorating your outdoor tables. They’ll never shrivel up and will thrive season after season.

Our yard is filled with birds in the spring-time so I like to add a few accessories to create little outdoor destinations, a place where you or your guests can go to just relax and enjoy nature. I adore this little bird feeder! It would be so cute peeking out from spring flowers, too.

Even if you don’t have blooms in your yard, you can enjoy cut flowers from a farmer’s market or grocery store. We have a local farmer’s market near us every Sunday. We love picking up a seasonal bouquet!

Don’t stress about creating perfect arrangements, though. I love the casual rustic feel of these galvanized containers for effortless summer bouquets.

This cute little turtle is a good reminder of what summer outdoor spaces should be all about. It’s all about slowing down and having a place to really smell the flowers, right?

Birch Lane offers long-lasting, high quality items that are well-priced, so I’m always impressed by their products. I have several pieces in my home and they have held up beautifully!

Birch Lane makes it easy to shop online and they offer free shipping on orders over $49, so you can get all the accessories you need to be ready to up your outdoor space. You can shop from items you saw in today’s post via the links below.

Callaway Chair or Side Chair 

Table (similar)

White Melamine Dishes

Hammered Copper Planters

Riviera Plastic Water Glasses

Seagrass Cocktail Napkin Caddy

Seagrass Flatware Basket with Handles

Chickadee Bird Feeder

Coral and white pillow

Galvanized Planters (similar)

Faux Mini Plant Pots (set of 8)

Single Stalk Napkins

Be sure to check out more of Birch Lane’s wonderful outdoor options here!

Come As You Are Mat

Outdoor Light

Other sources from our porch and home can be found here.

Now that you had a peek at what I’ve been up to in this part of my home, you’re invited to visit two other bloggers who joined me this week in sharing their tips for outdoor spaces with Birch Lane!

These ladies are so talented at creating swoon-worthy outdoor spaces, so be sure to pay a visit to both Dear Lillie and French Country Cottage. You’ll be inspired!

I can’t wait to show you more of this space. I have a few more updates to show you in future posts (like the new concrete patio, brand new fence and the double gate to our backyard!). Of course we also have a list of projects we hope to get to this year (installing the porch railings and a front gate, potting plants and hanging string lights for a lovely courtyard ambience in the evenings!), so stay tuned this spring and summer for more developments!

What outdoor areas are you hoping to work on this season?

PS. I’m over on Birch Lane’s Instagram sharing tips today, I’d love if you came to say hi!

Fall Nesting for Holiday Entertaining {Loving Fall: Day 14}

Christmas House Tour Entry Table

You know what I love about fall? NESTING. I know. Shocker, right? I especially love that it’s an extra cozy and festive time of the year for entertaining at home. I especially love nesting for a low key and simple get together around the holidays! I’m not a fancy party host at all, and I certainly don’t have all the rules of party etiquette down (we probably pass our food in the wrong direction and end up setting our drinking glasses on the wrong side of the plate, but somehow we manage to still have a good time!).

I really like to set up my house all pretty and plan out the events to welcome friends to have fun, relax and get to know each other.

Christmas-Kitchen-Decorating-The-Inspired-Room

Creating a meaningful gathering makes opening my doors more fun for me, and I hope it makes it memorable for my guests too! This year I’ve been extra busy and distracted with book writing, but I still plan to host a few more get togethers. I’m always glad when I do!

Spiced Cranberry Apple Cider

We love serving our favorite cranberry cider, too. It’s delicious and always makes the house smell amazing! If you missed the recipe, be sure to check it out in yesterday’s post! It’s fun to pull out all the seasonal recipes (have you tried my pumpkin squares yet? Last week I made it but instead of squares I put it in a loaf pan. JUST as YUMMY!) and fix up the house a bit with some holiday touches.

The Inspired Room Christmas House Tour - Dining Room

Last Christmas we had fun decorating our house with pops of red. Red is so festive! This year I have other plans for our dining room holiday decor and colors, but I think it’s going to be just as fun. We’ve done so much rearranging of furniture and rooms this year, I’m looking forward to seeing how our Christmas decor all comes together. I LOVE this time of year.

open shelves for dishes

I enjoy thinking through the serving dishes I might use and how I could set the table. Recently I set up a little “hospitality cabinet” in the dining room so we will be more prepared to set tables for the holidays. You’ll see more of that in the dining room soon, we are settling it in by moving the mirror about it a bit and adding a little more decor the wall around it.

And speaking of our dining room and the table, this week we are going to give our old rickety table a fresh coat of white paint so it will be all clean and ready for whatever festivity we decide to host. Woo hoo! I’ve been wanting to refresh the paint on our table for a couple of years now.

Dishes on Wall

Those are some of the pre-Christmas rituals I really enjoy. I love the simple pleasures of enjoying a clean house, setting up the dishes and freshening up the decor! It’s so much to be nesting and fluffing up the house so we are all ready to welcome friends and family and to celebrate the reason for the season.

Besides the holiday decor, the traditions and the good company, I just love the little things like having all the candles lit, good music and tasty food.

Tray for decorating - The Inspired Room

I have several serving/decor items that are perfect for entertaining any time of the year and they end up being my go-to favorites. I don’t really have much in the way of holiday themed dishes or seasonal serving pieces, I just don’t have room to store it all (although I love having a few little seasonal appetizer or dessert plates!).

Many of you had asked me about our white wood tray in the entry with the plush pumpkins a few weeks ago, it’s from Mary & Martha. It’s a favorite all year round because it can hold just about any decor and make it feel special and put together. You can see the tray below, with some of my favorite chunky white candlesticks, also from Mary & Martha.

Tray and Candlesticks Mary & Martha

Chalkboard Tray Mary & Martha

Glass Lanterns

The beautiful hand blown glass lanterns you might have seen in my house are also from Mary & Martha as is the chalkboard tray, above, and the blue ruffled edge dishes in my open shelves in the kitchen picture. All some of my favorite versatile pieces to enjoy day to day ourselves or to use for parties at our house.

Fall Candles - Reading Corner

I put the glass lanterns all over my house, I think they are so pretty! You can use them in different ways too, maybe try floating candles in water or filling the base with pebbles to change up the look.

Mary and Martha Giveaway on The Inspired Room

Since I have quite a few Mary & Martha items in my home and get asked about them all the time, I thought you’d enjoy a surprise Mary & Martha giveaway today! YAY! One lucky winner will receive the following gifts from Mary & Martha: the & tray, the set of mugs with tray, and a hand blown medium glass lantern!

***This giveaway is now closed!*** All you have to do to enter is leave a comment. If you want to shop, you can do so via this link to Mary & Martha.

This giveaway is sponsored by Mary and Martha.

Mary & Martha products

I wish this was a photo of my house (above) but alas, it is not. But isn’t it cute? Besides the cute room, I love all the unique dishes and that chalkboard sign. Mary & Martha has so many neat items for meaningful entertaining and hospitality, be sure to check it out! They also have a home based business opportunity that would be pretty fun! Who doesn’t enjoy pretty things?

21 Days of Loving Fall - The Inspired Room Fall Series

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