Creating an Outdoor Dining Room Experience

Can I just say how excited I am to be partnering with HomeGoods for today’s blog post? Nothing like creating one of my favorite posts ever, with one of my favorite stores! I was challenged by HomeGoods to create the perfect outdoor dining experience. Since we live in Southern California, my favorite dinner party setting is usually outdoors. 

Shopping at HomeGoods is just like shopping at a flea market. It’s all about the thrill of the treasure hunt! When I walked into our HomeGoods I knew I wanted to create an outdoor dining area but I had no idea what I was going to do. I had a general idea, host an outdoor dinner party on our back patio, but that was it. So I started browsing the aisles for ideas. It didn’t take long before the thrill of finding led to a great idea!

The first thing I found were these melamine dishes. The color and design were perfect. The style and color were perfect and I knew I could use these gray plates not only for dining outdoors but all year round.

Next, I found these indoor/outdoor string lights. I loved them and knew that I could create a sense of intimacy with the lights if I moved the party from our back patio to the middle of our lawn in the backyard. 

I decided to create a complete outdoor dining room, with no walls, in the middle of our backyard. I had just been to a vintage sale the day before and bought four vintage 8 ft. posts. If I could figure out how to secure the posts as my “walls”, I knew I could build a frame for the top to hold everything in place. Of course, all of this was decided as I was standing in the middle of HomeGoods.  I should probably mention the party was the following night. And yes, I was cooking all of the food for twelve people. But I knew I could do it.

Every dining room has a dining room rug, so I headed to the back of HomeGoods to find a rug. I found this gray and beige looped rug and I knew it would look great in our outdoor dining room.

As I wandered through more of the aisles of HomeGoods, I quickly decided I wanted to do an “upside down centerpiece”. I envisioned hanging flowers from the top of my “dining room ceiling”. At first, I thought it made sense to hang real flowers but as soon as I saw these flowers I came up with a much better idea. Hanging real flowers would need to happen hours before the party and fresh flowers would likely be dead before my guests arrived. These flowers were the perfect solution.

Next, I found two linen tablecloths, napkins, and wine glasses. 

As a final touch, I bought some gray and off-white throws for my guests to use to keep warm. 

After a quick trip to the hardware store, I was ready to set up the outdoor room. First I laid out the rug and then used metal stakes in the ground to hold up the poles.

I measured and built a frame that would fit on top of the poles to hold everything in place.  This was really easy to build and I did it all by myself and then waited patiently for my husband and son and best friend to arrive to help. This is where my son reminded me of the phrase “DIWO”. He politely told me (as I was taking this photo) that this was not a DIY project, it was a DIWO project as in “Do It With Others.”

I couldn’t believe it worked! After the frame was secured we added a diagonal wire across the top.

Next, my girlfriend and I hung fresh eucalyptus and the string lights.

Then we added the faux flowers. How incredible is this!

Then it came time to set the table with all of my new linens, dinnerware, and glasses!

I even added one of the flowers at each place setting.

The setting was ideal and I couldn’t wait for the sun to go down! Fortunately, I had enough time to get the dinner prepared. 

When our guests arrived they couldn’t believe our setting. I got a chuckle out of the fact that the guys were just as impressed as my girlfriends!

It was truly a magical evening.

Of course I was still taking photos long after our guests departed!

Thank you HomeGoods for helping to make this magical evening a reality.

This website has been compensated by HomeGoods. All opinions are mine alone. 

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  1. This is amazing! Love the frame idea with the lights and beautiful flowers! We just got a HomeGoods store and I am in love! Phyllis in Kansas

  2. Ohhh-be still my heart!!!!This is extraordinary…!What a fabulous idea for a special birthday party or celebration event!!This is so fun.AND,believe it or not,I have old porch posts also!!Unfortunately,I don’t have the “others”part of this project.Namely guys who understand my vision,my creative side,(they do roll their eyes very well ,I do have to admit!),or etc!!!!Now,my daughters are way more supportive-but super busy…sad,sad,I know!!
    Love this!!!!!!!!!!

    1. U should do it if u have the poles! I would just leave it up as my outdoor room as long as summer & Fall lasts.

  3. Really wonderful….you made it seem doable for others. Just looking at the photos has us all imagine the possibilities that we can create, but also imagine that we are invited to attend the magical party at your 100 Year Old House!

  4. Love love love this outdoor area!!!! Would love to do something like this!!! Just wondering how much would all this cost to purchase??

  5. Fabulous! Every single thing is perfect. How did you hang the flowers upside down to keep them straight? Thanks

  6. I don’t understand how posts are secured. Please do detailed tutorial for those of us less DYI or DIWO challenged!
    is post cored out at bottom to fit stake? did you core it out? how?
    I love the idea but can’t figure it out

  7. Little behind in my emails but like the above follower, I am also confused how the four poles are secured onto the stakes. The entire project looks wonderful!

  8. I found you from another blog that I subscribe to. You are so right. It shows how much you enjoyed yourself. And the ambiance you created is gorgeous. I wanted to be at that party. Great job and glad I found you.

  9. LOVE everything about this! Would you mind sharing where you purchase fresh eucalyptus in a larger quantity like this? And were you able to put the eucalyptus up a day or two in advance, so as not to have to do that the same day as the event?

    1. Hi Lisa – Thank you for reaching out. I am lucky enough to live in Los Angeles where we have the Los Angeles Flower Mart which is open to both wholesale and resale customers. I am able to buy large quantities of flowers and greens at the Flower Mart. For this party, I did hang the eucalyptus the day of the party so that it didn’t dry out and get crunchy 🙂

  10. Thank you for your quick reply, Leslie! We used to live in the Bay Area, but the LA Flower Mart is well known all over CA (and I grew up in Vegas, where I knew people who would travel there for it!)! We are now East Coast transplants and will soon be hosting an engagement party for our daughter and her fiancé. He has a BIG family, so while I hoped to do something similar to your engagement party set up, we will need to do more of an open house style to accommodate about 100 people and limited parking that will only handle probably 25 cars (still working on logistics for that). Our weather at the end of September is a bit unpredictable, too, so we are renting a big tent and if weather looks good, keeping it open, if there’s a strong chance of rain, we’ll have the side added. I would love to incorporate you CA meets Hamptons design- as that’s my design aesthetic, CA meets East Coast with my boho influences mixed in.

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