Create a cool outdoor dining room

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Outdoor dining porch wFamilies in the Maryland area are creating cool spaces to eat their meals outside.

When dinnertime arrives for the Moore family of Davidsonville, they head out to their screened-in porch.

“We eat out there all summer long, even into the fall,” says mom Jeanne Moore.

The Moores have furnished their porch with bamboo couches and a dining table for six, along with an antique sideboard and vintage art.

“It was important that it felt more like an extension of the house rather than an outdoor space,” Moore says.

During the summer months and even into the fall, families want to spend as much time outdoors as possible, and that includes mealtime. According to the National Hearth and Barbecue Association, the majority of American adults prefer eating outdoors at home to a meal at a restaurant, citing it as “more relaxing.”

Dining outdoors can be as simple as a picnic in the grass, but more families are taking the time to create welcoming and functional outdoor dining areas that make the most of the warmer weather.

“Homeowners are not just interested in outdoor dining. They want to create an outdoor living space that is comfortable,” says Nancy Rice, department manager of patios and decoratives at Homestead Gardens in Davidsonville. “It’s about expanding the feel of their home outdoors.”

Outdoor dining spaces don’t have to mean budget-busting dining sets or fancy outdoor kitchens. “Accessories can go a long way in creating ambiance,” Rice says. Solar lighting, candles, outdoor pillows and shatterproof dinnerware are easy and inexpensive ways to set the mood.

Click next below for tips on creating an outdoor dining space.

10 tips to create an outdoor dining spaceOutdoor dining plates WPopular melamine plates at Homestead Gardens.

Creating a dining space with style can be as simple as bringing the indoors outside. Whether you have a small space or acres of land, dining alfresco is one of the great pleasures of summer. Read on for 10 tips on how you can eat outdoors in style.

  1. Re-create the indoor style of your home outside. Repeat similar themes and color schemes. Think of your dining area as an extension of the rest of your home.
  2. Start from the ground up. Outdoor rugs made of weatherproof material designate a space and can set the tone with pattern and color. Stores like Home Depot have inexpensive versions that can be cleaned with a quick hosing.
  3. Don’t forget comfort. “Outdoor pillows are extremely popular with homeowners seeking comfort,” Rice says. Retailers like Ikea and Target even sell outdoor upholstered ottomans and floor pillows for the ultimate in comfortable dining.
  4. Vary your seating. To maximize time spent in your dining space, set up a hammock or swinging chair for relaxing while food sizzles on the grill.
  5. Include the whole family. Create a space just for kids with child-sized picnic tables or chairs. Waterproof storage can hold small toys and essentials.
  6. Add a little whimsy. Outdoor dining is supposed to be fun, so mismatched chairs and vintage finds add personality.
  7. Dine out, picnic style. Who needs a table and chairs? Set up a series of blankets for a dining experience that is quintessentially summer.
  8. Look to nature for inspiration. Use old wooden stumps for extra seating and add planters with flowers and small trees for an all natural feel.
  9. Set the mood with lighting. Fill your dining space with candles, camping lanterns or old-fashioned globe string lighting to enjoy the space when the sun goes down.
  10. Find inspiration around your house for tabletop items that do double duty. Store flatware in canning jars, use a galvanized bucket for wine and sodas, and transform jelly jars into drinking glasses that are low on cost and high on charm.

Check out our story on 7 romantic ideas for a date night at home

By Katie Riley

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