One of the main perks of owning a home (or renting your own place for that matter) is that you finally have the freedom to entertain guests how you like. But creating spaces they’ll love can be challenging. We all know the essential ingredients of a good living room or kitchen, but we have less experience with entertainment area ideas.
The purpose of entertainment spaces is twofold: to provide everything you need to be a great host and give your guests convenience and comfort. Achieving this heady combination, however, isn’t as straightforward as you might imagine.
Don’t worry: we’re here to help. In this post, we cover eight entertainment area ideas that will leave your guests craving for more.
Add A Grill
Unless you want to be perpetually rushing in and out of the kitchen to check on food, a grill is essential – especially if you’re planning on building an outdoor entertainment area. The BBQ is always at the centre of the action and allows you to whip up a delicious meal without leaving your guests holding their drinks, looking lost.
Remember, grilling is a big reason why many guests show up to parties in the first place. They want to sink their teeth into big, juicy succulent joints of meat, freshly cooked on the BBQ, with sides of coleslaw, fries and buns.
Making high-quality food, though, isn’t always easy, especially if you’re having to interrupt your conversation all the time. While traditional charcoal grills are okay, the state-of-the-art use gas and come with lids to carefully control the heat. That way, you can perfectly seared meat, without having to worry about whether you cooked your sausages all the way through or not.
We also suggest that you get a smoker too if you’re serious about barbecued meat. Many grills come with these as optional extras. You just add wood chips of your choice to the hopper and it will impart a smoky flavour to the meat (or whatever you happen to be cooking).
Install A Sound System
If you thought that sound systems were strictly indoor creatures, then you’re in for a rude awakening. Thanks to hydrophobic coatings and other smart materials, many common audio electronics can now survive perfectly happily outside.
The best place to install speakers is directly underneath your veranda to keep them out of the majority of the weather. But some manufacturers are now so confident in their products they claim you can leave them outside wherever you like, without having to worry about ice or rain. Many come with in-built shelters, keeping water out of the sensitive electronics inside.
Sound System Entertainment Area Ideas:
If you decide to install a rocking sound system outside, ensure that it has the following features:
- A design that complements your landscaping
- Modern technologies, such as Bluetooth, that allow you to connect to your iPod easily
- Connectivity options for multiple devices, including your Smart outdoor TV
- Resistant to weather, including the wind and rain
As far as entertainment area ideas go, sound systems are among the most important. Guests will usually expect you to deliver thumping tunes, even if you’re hosting your party outside.
Add Plenty Of Comfortable Seating
In the past, outdoor seating was a little lacking in comfort. You had a choice between cast iron and wood – not exactly comforting on the old buttocks!
But today, thanks to advances in materials, you have significantly more options, including seating with good padding.
Even though comfortable outdoor seating has been around for a while, many guests still experience a sense of surprise when they sit on it. It’s not what they expect from garden furniture.
You don’t have to stick with regular outdoor seating either. Today, you can get all manner of bean bags, chairs and loungers purpose-built for exterior use. These products use special water and UV-resistant covers that keep the elements away. And they use a type of replaceable plastic-based bean which you can have re-stuffed every few years to keep them plush.
In many ways, bean bags are the ultimate in entertainment seating. They help you create a fun, relaxed atmosphere while at the same time adding unexpectedly high levels of comfort. Plus, you can drag them inside or into your porch and enjoy them in your interiors too. In other words, they’re flexible – not something you get from regular outdoor seating.
Improve Your Ambient Lighting
Sometimes your shindigs will continue late into the evening. And that means that any entertainment space you create needs to have adequate lighting. Guests will want more than weak moonlight to illuminate their conversations.
Just as with outdoor speakers, you have a lot of outdoor lighting options. Today, countless manufacturers create stylish and functional outdoor lighting products, many of them specifically for verandas, outdoor kitchens and entertainment spaces.
The precise type of lighting you choose depends heavily on the atmosphere you’d like to build. For those with mains power connections, chandeliers, lanterns and lights with fans are all options. You just run power cables along the underside of the roofing material and create a light fixture hookup point.
Cordless Lighting Entertainment Area Ideas
Even if you don’t have power in your entertainment area, you still have options. For instance, there are now many outdoor lantern products that charge an internal battery with solar panels in the daytime and then use the energy to power the bulb after dusk.
When considering lighting for your outdoor space, think about the types of activities you’ll need illumination for. For instance, if you plan on using the space for cooking, workspace lighting is essential for chopping, basting or frying. Likewise, if you want to set it up for dancing, disco lighting should make an appearance.
Don’t underestimate the importance of floodlighting either. While you’ll want to keep your 1000W light off while entertaining guests (to avoid dazzling them as they sip on their cocktails), it can come in handy for security purposes, especially if you’re leaving valuable equipment outside.
Other important places to place lighting when entertaining guests is either side of your driveway, your walkways, and decorative lighting for ambience.
Add A Pergola
Pergolas are among the most attractive entertainment area features, thanks to their stunning design and intricate woodwork. They’re incredibly practical too, especially if you plan on entertaining outside during daylight hours.
All guests love sunny weather. But nobody wants to stand in direct sunlight for hours as it slowly turns their skin to leather. Pergolas are great because they offer shifting shade throughout the day.
Pergolas are also beneficial for another couple of reasons. The first is that they are a great substitute for verandas. You don’t have to go to the expense of fitting permanent roofing to the side of your home.
The other benefit is the privacy they offer. Pergolas prevent nosy neighbours from spying on your parties and getting jealous they can’t be a part of the fun.
Turn Your Privacy Wall Into A Vertical Garden
A lot of homeowners want privacy when entertaining, but they don’t like the idea of erecting a giant, monolithic wall. So what’s the solution here?
The trick is to turn your privacy wall into a vertical garden. Not only is it attractive, but it is also a good cover story when your neighbours ask you why you need a 10-foot barrier between your property and theirs.
When it comes to privacy fencing, you have a couple of options:
1. A tall man-made fence
2. A natural alternative
Tall man-made fences are a standard way to improve privacy in entertainment spaces. If they’re high enough, they can even prevent neighbours from spying from first-floor windows.
The other option is to construct a fence using a natural alternative. There are many fast-growing shrubs that you can plant that will provide you with the barrier you want, without making it too obvious to the neighbours that you want to block them out.
Which you choose is very much a matter of personal preference, but the latter certainly has unique advantages. For example, natural alternatives tend to be more attractive than their man made counterparts. They also grow slowly over time, allowing your neighbours to acclimatise to the idea (or not notice it happening at all).
If you decide to go with a wooden fence, make sure that whoever builds it gives you the option to hang planters at a later date. The more plants and shrubs you can add to the fence, the more attractive it will look.
Privacy Fence Entertainment Area Ideas
Privacy fences come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. Here are some of your choices:
Solid tile walls: While brickwork can look a little harsh for outdoor entertainment applications, solid tile walls offer an attractive design and prevent anyone from peering into your entertainment spaces, as they might be able to do with a standard picket.
- Rattan fencing: Rattan is another material for privacy fencing you might consider. It offers two big advantages: it’s weatherproof and it looks like a natural material.
- Bamboo: If you’re on a sustainability kick, you might also consider erecting a privacy fence made of bamboo. It’s inexpensive and good for the environment.
- Garden trellis: If you’ve ever been to a palatial garden, you’ll notice that they often make use of trellises. These are essentially just structures climbing plants can crawl over, providing a dense foliage coverage. Just place next to your entertainment areas for added privacy.
Add A Fire Pit
While many of you will live in warm climates, things can sometimes get a little chilly in the evenings, especially after sundown. For that reason, you might consider adding a fire pit to your outdoor entertainment areas.
Fire pits offer multiple benefits. These include:
Year-round enjoyment: While outdoor entertainment areas are popular throughout the summer months, many homeowners completely neglect them during the winter. It’s just too cold. Adding a fire pit, however, completely changes the atmosphere. All of a sudden you and your guests want to go outside on cool nights.
Focal point: Fire pits also serve as attractive focal points for your outdoor entertainment areas. You can put them right in the centre and then arrange all your seating around the edge concentrically.
Relaxation: Research suggests that looking at fire is one of the most powerful ways to relax modern-day humans. Having a fire-pit with an open flame, therefore, is a great way to help both you and your guests unwind after a crazy week.
Provides light: Fire also provides natural light, giving you more flexibility over where you entertain guests.
Create An Outdoor Theatre
Creating an outdoor theatre is one of the best entertainment area ideas. Watching a movie outside is a fun experience that will remind a lot of your guests about their childhoods.
To create a great outdoor theatre space, you’ll need comfortable seating, a surface to project movies, and a projector.
Projector prices have come down significantly over the last few years as they become more popular. That means that you can now pick up a quality piece of equipment for just a few hundred dollars, instead of having to spend thousands, like in the past.
If you have a solid wall you can project onto, then great. But even if you don’t, you can still create an outdoor theatre if you’re willing to get a little creative. One method is to find a heavy sheet and suspend it using any available structure you might have, like a pergola. If you’re using a projector, the size of the sheeting doesn’t matter a great deal. For smaller sheets, move the projector closer; for larger, move it further away.
The last thing to consider is the seating. Here’s where you can get really creative. A lot of hosts like to mix up seating, putting taller chairs at the back and then adding bean bags, ottomans and rugs at the front. Adding a picnic blanket can create an instant party vibe.
So, there you have it: our eight entertainment area ideas. Which will you use?