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Designer Abbi Williams’ garden party decorating tips

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Spring has sprung, which means that when it comes to hosting and entertaining, the outdoors are in! Interior designer Abbi Williams of Red Door Design Studio shares her tips and tricks for garden party decorating—from hosting hacks to game-changing decor decisions.

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Create a flexible environment

When choosing furniture for your outdoor space, “go for modular seating, so that as your outdoor needs change, you still have options—thanks to the quality outdoor furniture you invested in for the long term,” Williams says. “Think sectionals and ottomans that offer reconfigurations as your family grows or outdoor lifestyle evolves from one space to another. Invest in quality pieces that will let you enjoy your potions for years to come.”

For smaller pieces, she also recommends styling with a few outdoor poufs and footstools. “These are lightweight, affordable pieces that make a huge difference to the caliber of your overall space,” she says. “They’re great if someone wants to put their feet up, or if you need a place to set a tray of drinks down or a last-minute extra seat. These small accents give your space so much livability.”

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Stay one step ahead of guests

“When your entertaining, you need to give your guests a way to serve themselves,” advises Williams. “Guests shouldn’t have to ask for a drink each time. This includes kids, too, with flavored waters or juices.”

Her expert tip when it comes to garden party decorating: incorporate an extra table you can set a tray or bin of drinks on. “Even better, invest in a bar cart,” she says. “At the end of the night, you can just bring the cart and drinkware back in for cleanup.”

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Create an experience

Williams’ secret weapon when it comes to outdoor entertaining? Fire tables. “If you’re short on space but want the best of both worlds, this is what you need. It’s an incredibly elegant focal point for entertaining.”

Her other trick to adding an extra-special touch is to place large, structural planters near the grill or bar cart and use them to grow fresh herbs. “You could use fresh mint for mojitos, rosemary sprigs for kabobs on the grill, oregano for last-minute dressings, or basil for caprese salad,” she advises.

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Bring the indoors out

We all love bringing the outdoors in, but when thinking about garden party decorating, bring some indoor comfort outside. “I’m a huge fan of using outdoor rugs to visually group furniture to break up large outdoor spaces,” Williams says. “This also helps soften the space and complete the look by bringing the indoors out.”

And for outdoor occasions, lighting is key. “I recommend outdoor lanterns and lamps in a variety of sizes and locations. It’s about bringing the inside out,” Williams adds. For more garden party essentials, visit