If you're short on surfaces for serving guests, try this designers' go-to trick: lay a hollow-core door or thick piece of plywood over evenly-spaced sawhorses, cover with fabric and voila — a beautiful buffet table with plenty of serving space that can be broken down again and stored when the party's over.
No matter how small your outdoor space, make it pop with table linens and fresh flowers in look-at-me shades. Set up a beverage station so guests can help themselves, and add cushions or pillows to chairs -- comfortable furniture will entice guests to sit a spell.
This outdoor kitchen rests on the roof deck of a historic building on Lake Shore Drive in Chicago. The space features two grills, a prep sink and an outdoor refrigerator for holding outdoor parties and entertaining.
Pretty planters and a long bench topped with pillows transform this outdoor space into a picture-perfect setting for the owners' next garden party. Contemporary armchairs provide extra seating, or they can be pushed out of the way to clear the floor for dancing.
For your next outdoor get-together, fill your new bar and buffet with glassware, plates, napkins and other entertaining essentials. Serve snacks on the open shelf, and keep extra drinks chilled in the mini fridge.