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The art of finding

Creating an Outdoor Dining Room

July 16, 2018
by HG Guest

Furniture and Home Accents Outdoor Living Seasonal Decor


Photo by My 100 Year Old Home

It was our turn to host our dinner club and one of my favorite things to do is to create a dining experience that completely surprises my dinner guests. We live in Southern California, and with nice temperatures and no bugs, I decided to host the dinner outdoors. So you can imagine how excited I was to partner with HomeGoods to create the perfect summer dining experience.


Photo by My 100 Year Old Home

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!


Photo by My 100 Year Old Home

I was thrilled when I found these melamine dishes. The color and design were perfect. We live in a one-hundred-year-old farm style home 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 realized 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.


Photo by My 100 Year Old Home

With just these two items in my cart, I knew what I wanted to do! 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.
I love that all of this was decided as I was standing in the middle of HomeGoods.  But I knew I could do it. (I should probably mention the party was the following night. And yes, I was cooking all of the food two for twelve people. But I wasn’t worried.)

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.


Photo by My 100 Year Old Home

As I was wandering 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 faux flowers I came up with a much better idea. Hanging real flowers would need to happen many hours before the party and I knew fresh flowers would likely be dead before my guests arrived. These faux flowers were the perfect solution.


Photo by My 100 Year Old Home

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


Photo by My 100 Year Old Home

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


Photo by My 100 Year Old Home

On my way home I stopped at the hardware store to make sure I had everything I needed to set up my outdoor dining room. First I laid out the rug (which determined the size of the room) and then used metal stakes in the ground to hold up the poles.


Photo by My 100 Year Old Home

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. Then I waited patiently for my husband, son and best friend to arrive to help. This is where my son coined 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”


Photo by My 100 Year Old Home

I couldn’t believe it worked! After the frame was secured we added diagonal wire across the top to hang the lights and florals.


Photo by My 100 Year Old Home

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


Photo by My 100 Year Old Home

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


Photo by My 100 Year Old Home


Photo by My 100 Year Old Home


Photo by My 100 Year Old Home

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


Photo by My 100 Year Old Home

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


Photo by My 100 Year Old Home


Photo by My 100 Year Old Home

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.


Photo by My 100 Year Old Home

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

It was truly a magical evening.


Photo by My 100 Year Old Home

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


Photo by My 100 Year Old Home

Leslie is a paid HomeGoods partner. For more information on her style and tips, visit her blog My 100 Year Old Home.