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Patios are natural gathering places, ideal for chatting with friends, celebrating major events, and hosting all-out shindigs. A little round table with an umbrella and a few chairs might be enough for a quiet evening at home, but, if you're looking to create a truly incredible, no-holds-barred party place, you'll need to think outside the box. Start your brainstorming here with these cool patio ideas.

Stone patio with grill

Invite Guests to Sit, Eat, and Relax with Comfortable Patio Furniture

Anytime you're designing a space meant for entertaining guests, you should start by making sure they've got somewhere to sit and somewhere to set their drinks. Furniture is absolutely central to designing a great party patio, as it breaks up the space and gives your guests a comfortable place to rest. A truly ultimate patio should never leave people awkwardly standing around or juggling plates.

Things like size, color, style, and materials are important when choosing a patio set, but don't forget to consider the purpose of your patio. What do you want guests to feel? What kinds of activities do you want to be able to do and what kind of furniture would be the best fit for them? Is there a particular season or time of day you plan to use your patio the most? These questions can help you understand what you need, not just what you like.

If your idea of a dream patio involves showing off your culinary skills, you'll want to have at least one dining table with plenty of chairs. Aiming for a backyard sports bar? Consider well-cushioned bar stools, lounge chairs, and bistro tables for a relaxing spot that won't leave guests aching after an hour. Whatever you envision, choose pieces that are well suited to the purpose.

Covered patio with wicker chairs

When you do select the furniture you want, take some time to move things around and consider other options. Playing with furniture arrangements can help you visualize new ways of utilizing your space. Starting with furniture also helps you set a style and tone with which you can coordinate other elements.

Fire Up the Grill and Bring On the Food!

It's an unspoken rule of hosting: No gathering is ever truly complete without food. A few scattered bowls of snacks might seem like enough at first, but an ultimate party patio deserves to be outfitted with a dedicated cooking space and dining area. Having everything you need to grill, fry, boil, and sauté right on your patio means you can prepare great meals without being stuck in the kitchen and missing all the fun.

If you like the traditional feel of grilling, swap your standard brazier grill for something more updated. A propane grill with plenty of rack space, easy controls, and a sleek stainless steel design is a popular and stylish choice. Rather than having a stand-alone grill, you can build it directly into your outdoor kitchen for easy access and seamless food transfer. Just remember to take any pergolas or awnings into account—fire hazards aren't part of the ultimate patio plan.

If a grill isn't quite to your taste or you want to take outdoor cooking to new levels, think about adding a full suite of appliances. Things like built-in countertop gas ranges, electric griddles, and stacked wall ovens can turn your patio into a fully equipped restaurant kitchen—and, of course, you can never go wrong with a fully stocked backyard bar.

You'll also need to have appropriate storage, plenty of counter space, and direct sink access. A standard fridge and freezer will do the trick for food storage, but an under-the-counter built-in refrigerator is a clever way to keep food chilled without taking up too much space.

Take Backyard Entertaining to the Next Level

Even with the best furniture, décor, and kitchen gadgets, there's one more thing that can really put the polish on your patio: high-tech, high-quality entertainment. With today's weather-tough, low maintenance designs, previously vulnerable electronics can now be incorporated in all sorts of outdoor spaces. Adding such entertainment systems will require a bit of additional planning with regard to safety and setup, but the results are worth it.

If you're a sports fanatic, you might simply mount an outdoor television on the wall above your patio bar so that you'll never miss a moment of the game. Not "ultimate" enough? Wow your guests with a complete outdoor theater, equipped with a 4K Ultra HD projector and motorized retractable screen.

Luxury wooden patio

For a more interactive kind of entertainment, enclose video game consoles in a weather-resistant entertainment center and hook them up to their own TV or projector. Or, mount several monitors connected to different consoles for a truly custom in-home arcade experience!

If you prefer a more traditional, relaxed atmosphere with no screen time, you might consider installing a wireless sound system for playing music or ambient sound. Today's speaker designs are smaller and less intrusive than ever before, which means you can surround your patio with sound without running any wire or disguising heavy speaker towers. Pair these with a sound system that has all the bells and whistles: Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity, streaming internet radio, smartphone controls, etc.

Create the Perfect Party Atmosphere with Outdoor Accessories and Décor

Now that you've got everything else nailed down, it's time to flesh out your patio's style and bring your parties to life with just the right accessories, décor, and lighting. While the heart of your party patio lies in its purpose-based design, the impact of aesthetics can't be understated. Even the simplest string of outdoor lights can add quite a lot of atmosphere.

Again, you'll want to take some time to brainstorm the kinds of feelings you want to elicit. Keep in mind, though, that the décor you choose should coordinate well with your furniture and other elements. Is there a bold color that might add drama to a neutral patio set? Is there a theme you'd like to incorporate? What time of day do you plan to use your patio most often, and what kind of lighting might be needed at that time?

The most memorable parties are never really about the venue, they're about the experience. That's why your ultimate party patio needs to focus on creating the best possible experience for your guests. Provide rustic warmth and comfort with a copper wood-burning fire pit, or create a hip urban feel by hanging a few Edison bulb pendant lamps from an overhead pergola. Complete the experience with little details like plants, throw pillows, and artwork.

Let Douglas Furniture Help You Get the Party Started!

Start exploring your design options with beautiful, American-made patio tables, chairs, ottomans, and more from Douglas Furniture. From modern, minimalist upholstered pieces to classic woven lounge chairs and marble-topped coffee tables, we offer an extensive selection of stylish patio furniture designed to meet the challenges of the outdoors.

Not sure what kind of furniture will be best for your perfect patio? We'd love to help! Douglas Furniture's expert staff can help you consider your options and find the right products to fit your project's purpose, style, and price range. We can even help you find coordinating items like lighting, storage, and media consoles.

Since 1975, our family-owned store has been helping Southern California homeowners create beautiful, functional spaces with high-end furniture and home accents. Ready to get started on your party patio? Browse our impressive inventory of patio furniture on our website, or visit us at our location on Newhall Avenue in Newhall, CA.