How To Prepare Your Home To Host Summer Parties

The summer months are prime time for hosting gatherings. The sunny weather and cheery vibe make getting together with friends and family even more enjoyable. It also allows you to plan more activities and expand your party zone into your outdoor spaces. Maybe you like to host complex multi-course dinners. Or are laidback potluck barbecues more your thing? Either way, prepping and planning are key to having a fun and stress-free event.

Event guru Priya Parker shares her expert advice with Real Simple. She explains that you don't need a huge fancy space or an overly outgoing personality to host a great event. All that's required is a little forethought and clever planning to host meaningful gatherings that guests will love.

Here are some tips for doing just that. Many of them are small projects that will prep your home and yard for summer entertaining. Others are investments you can make to enhance your hosting abilities. Either way, prepping and planning will make your summer party season one for the books.

Stock up on neutral party supplies

Take some time to do inventory and stock up on party supplies. You'll want to have plenty of pieces for serving and dining on hand. This allows you to host at a moment's notice and stretch your stockpile across many summer gatherings. Your serving dishes don't need to be fancy. They just need to be functional and allow for flexible uses. Plastic and melamine are great choices for patio parties. Make sure to have a variety of sizes. You'll want a few large bowls for chips, spacious platters for burgers, and small dishes for condiments. Keep your color scheme neutral so it works with any theme.

Stocking up on disposable dining wear can make hosting a breeze. However, if the thought of adding all of that plastic to the landfill makes you cringe, check out the many compostable options on the market. Treehugger recommends using plates made from vegetable starch or bamboo to make your gathering eco-friendly. These materials biodegrade and some can even be added to your home composting system.

One smart strategy is buying things like disposable plates and flatware in bulk. Forgo the themed items and look for quality at a great value that you can use for multiple gatherings throughout the summer. Then, add small touches to your neutral items to personalize your table settings for each event. Add patriotic napkins for your Independence Day cookout or bright margarita glasses for your outdoor fiesta to add to your vibe without breaking the bank.

Spruce up your outdoor decor

Taking some time to refresh your outdoor decor can make your yard a more welcoming space. You'll boost your curb appeal and your home's first impression. You can also create outdoor living spaces that make summer entertaining more fun and relaxing. Your front porch is your guest's gateway to your summer party. Add some color to brighten it and create a fun vibe. Designer James Greenwood tells Homes & Gardens, "When it comes to choosing the right color for your home, it's important that you ensure the shade is harmonious with your exterior."

He also recommends sunny shades of yellow or pops of pale pink to make a statement. So, take a good look at your current exterior color and grab a few color swatches from the hardware store. Check them against your home to find an accent color that works. Then, use the hue to make a statement with a painted front door or a cute and colorful bistro set.

Refresh your deck or patio decor by adding an area rug under your dining or lounge furniture set up. This pulls your look together and allows you to add color. Select throw pillows to play off or contrast with the rug's color. Surround your outdoor living space with containers or flowers in complementary shades to add to the bright and colorful vibe.

Deep clean outdoor areas

Throughout the year, your home's outdoor areas take a beating. They see a build-up of dirt, grime, and harsh exposure to the elements. This can leave surfaces looking less than stellar in the summer sun. A good top-to-bottom cleaning will leave your home fresh, clean, and party-ready. Your roof should be regularly inspected for damage and potential leaks. This is a good time to make sure it's clean as well. If you are comfortable on a ladder, you can do this yourself by using a leaf blower to clear debris and giving your shingles a good hose down. Otherwise, a roof cleaning company can tackle this project and ensure your roof is in good shape.

If you have vinyl siding, a simple solution can be used to erase unsightly mold and mildew. Window World recommends creating a mixture of 30% white vinegar and 70% water. Add a splash of bleach if you have stubborn mold. Spray the mixture onto your siding and use a brush to gently loosen debris. Then, use your garden hose to rinse the solution away.

Your patio and deck likely need a good cleaning as well. recommends using a simple dish soap and water solution in a five-gallon bucket. Use a soft bristle brush to clean each board and rinse thoroughly with clear water. For concrete patios and walkways, a power washer with a surface cleaner attachment can leave them grime-free and pristine.

Refresh your landscaping

A landscaping refresh can make your outdoor spaces pop. Your flower beds are awesome ways to boost curb appeal, add color, and make your property more polished. However, you don't have to put in weekly hours of work to have the best landscaping on the block. Make sure your beds are all freshly-edged with clean lines. Use a spade to make sure all borders are clearly defined and deep enough to keep mulch in, as per Fine Gardening. An electric edger can be used to carve out this trench with less effort. You can also use rubber landscaping edging or decorative stone to create a defined and low-maintenance border.

Refresh your mulch by adding a new layer. This makes your beds look fresh and clean and helps keep unwanted weeds at bay (via Lowe's). You can go with a traditional chipped wood mulch that comes in every shade from rich red to deep black. Other options include stones, pea gravel, and river rock. These materials are wind-resistant and don't need to be replenished as often as their wood counterparts.

Many homeowners add annuals for pops of color each spring. However, with some good planning, you can create a perennial flower garden that blooms brightly year after year. suggests planting a low-maintenance combination of flowers like allium, bellflowers, and daisy varieties. These long-lasting blooms will be ready to greet your guests all summer long.

Spring clean your home's interior

Take a few days and deep clean your home. Make sure to stock up on all the supplies and products you need to make your tasks more efficient. Once your home is deep cleaned for the season, it just takes a few daily chores for upkeep. Using a comprehensive spring cleaning list can ensure you don't miss any often overlooked places. Molly Maid recommends cleaning behind the refrigerator as well as your washer and dryer. It's also a good time to reorganize storage spaces and purge unnecessary items. Disinfect surfaces like cabinet hardware, light switches, and door knobs as well.

Stock up on multi-purpose solutions that can streamline your cleaning routine. White vinegar is a perfect example. Cleaning expert Holli Schaub shares her cost-saving tip with The Pioneer Woman, which is buying 10% vinegar, then diluting it. "It's much more cost-effective," she explains. "Vinegar is an awesome all-natural cleaner but can get expensive when you use it for a rinse-aid in your dishwasher, fabric softener in your washing machine and so on."

This is a good time to ensure your cleaning tools are in good working order. Clean or replace vacuum filters as needed. Swap out any replaceable duster and mop heads for fresh ones. Run your cleaning cloths through a deep wash cycle per the manufacturer's instructions. Finishing your spring cleaning tasks can be the perfect opportunity to establish your regular summer cleaning routine. Decide who's responsible for and how often to do tasks like clean bathrooms, wipe down kitchen counters, and vacuum. That way, your home is always neat, tidy, and ready to welcome guests.

Prepare your guest spaces for visitors

Part of summer gatherings can be hosting overnight guests. Make sure your guest spaces are perfectly prepped for these visitors. That way, even last-minute guests won't leave you reeling. Decide on a space that works for overnight visitors. You might have a dedicated guest room, or maybe you need to create a makeshift one in a space like an office. Either way, having everything prepared can make setting up accommodations easier.

Provide guests with an empty dresser or closet space to store their belongings. Make sure you also have a sleeping surface like an extra bed, Murphy bed, or even quality air mattresses. A pull-out sleeper sofa can work for both extra seating and sleeping. It would help if you also stocked up on bedding items reserved for guests. Designer Jillian Lare suggests using high-quality items that can be found at a great value from stores like Target. She recommends providing a variety of layers so guests can customize the bedding to the temperature and their comfort levels.

Make sure you also have a bathroom space ready for guests to use comfortably. Add a cute container of personal-sized toiletries for convenience. Dedicated guest linens make setting out clean towels quick and easy. Forbes recommends adding a luxurious bathrobe and BlueTooth speaker to treat your guests to a spa-like stay.

Stock up on easy-to-serve snacks

When guests stop by, you want to be able to enjoy their company, not panic about what to serve them. Stock your freezer and pantry with plenty of easy-to-serve items you can prep in minutes. Make sure to have various choices on hand and keep them stocked all season long. A selection of frozen appetizers makes hosting a last-minute sleepover or game night super simple. Taste of Home recommends filling your freezer with mini corn dogs, soft pretzels, and potato skins for easy crowd-pleasers. It also suggests spanakopita, bao buns, and taquitos for added variety.

A few pantry items can make creating a quick spread easy too. Look for shelf-stable items like jarred queso, olives, and ranch dip that are easy to serve. Stock up on crackers, tortilla chips, and snack mixes as well. If you have friends with allergies, make sure to consider their needs as well. Look for specially-made snacks that are free from common allergens to keep on hand. Things like veggie chips and dried fruit can also be good options. Healthline recommends clearly labeling allergens and spreading out food to avoid cross-contamination to prevent issues.

Prepping a stockpile of games and activities

The last thing you want is a summer party with nothing for guests to do. Stock up on plenty of games and activities to keep guests entertained. Make sure to select a wide variety for all ages for both indoor and outdoor fun. Stock up on water toys to keep younger guests happy during hot weather. Verywell Family recommends sprinklers and hoses for supervised water play. Small kites and bubble kits are also budget-friendly toys to keep on hand.

For teens and adults, yard games can be a great way to entertain a crowd. Look for easy-to-learn games like cornhole and bocce ball that everyone can enjoy. Giant versions of classic games like Connect 4 and Jenga can be a hit for all ages. And when the weather prevents outdoor fun, you'll want to have plenty of indoor activities to entertain guests. Compact dice games like Tenzi and LCR are easy to store but are big on fun. There are also a variety of card game variations that can be played with a standard deck. Study up on a few and teach your guests a new favorite.

Consider investing in new beverage equipment

You don't want your party to come to a halt when you run out of cold refreshments. Consider investing in drink storage cooling and serving equipment. Not only will they keep your drinks chilled, but they can take your gathering to the next level. A spacious cooler is a backyard-friendly way to keep beverages cool. Look for one that's spacious enough to hold plenty of drinks for gatherings and events. Lowe's recommends looking for thicker walls and gasket seals to keep things consistently cold. Ones that include Bluetooth speakers, bottle openers, or electric cooling capabilities give you unique features.

You can also consider adding an outdoor refrigerator to your backyard hangout. You'll want to invest in a weather-proof option that can withstand the elements. A small outdoor fridge is easy to move and can be transferred to your basement or other hangout spots for use during cooler months.

To really create beverages that wow your guests, invest in a frozen drink machine. These come at a wide variety of price ranges and can be used for multiple uses. Make frozen daiquiris and icy margaritas for adult get-togethers. Or, make delicious, fruity choices for kid-friendly treats that beat the summer heat.

Illuminate indoor and outdoor spaces

Light up your home to give it the perfect party vibe. A well-lit exterior welcomes guests and enhances curb appeal. And adding customizable lighting both inside and outside of your home allows you to create any vibe you desire. Make sure to light up your property for safety reasons. Well-lit porches, patios, and walkways can make navigating your yard easier and safer for guests. Ambient lighting can be used to create a soft glow throughout your space. Consider using landscaping lighting to create a dramatic impact on trees or highlight your home's architectural details.

Architizer suggests using dusk to dawn lights that turn on at sunset and off at sunrise to simplify your lighting routine. They also recommend making sure you are using wet-rated and damp-rated outdoor lighting fixtures where appropriate. Use a variety of outdoor lighting in all areas of your property so you can customize your illumination as needed.

Inside, use the same logic when creating your lighting plan. You'll want ceiling-mount fixtures to flood your space with light. However, you'll want dimmable accent lighting that you can use to create a more chill vibe. Look for decorative LED options that can be used to create a custom-colored light scheme for any event.

Bring a summery vibe to indoor spaces

To seamlessly marry your indoor and outdoor spaces, add a touch of nature to the interior of your home. It will brighten your space and give you one large indoor-outdoor area to entertain. Plus, these are simple and budget-friendly ways to make an impact. Houseplants are an awesome way to create an outdoorsy vibe in your space. Forbes suggests pothos or the ZZ plant for beginners as they are tolerant and easy to grow. They also recommend using anthuriums and orchids to add color with their bright blooms. According to their research, Boston ferns and ivy are great for cleaning indoor air.

If you are looking for a super low-maintenance way to bring the outdoors in, add containers of cut flowers around your space. A towering vase of lilies can bring a dramatic vibe to a dining table, while delicate sweet peas can create a whimsical look. Pull together a collection of wildflowers for the perfect eclectic touch.

Either way, use Almanac's advice to keep your cut flowers fresh. Don't let any leaves remain below the water line, cut the stems at an angle, and fill the vase with warm water and a tablespoon of sugar. Check out your cut flowers daily and replace the water and sugar every few days.

Create a yard maintenance plan

Keeping your yard in tip-top shape is a must for being party-ready. Set up your yard for success by giving it the best start to the season. Then, create a regular maintenance routine to keep it looking its best all summer long. Enlist a lawn care company or create your own lawn feeding schedule. The experts at Scotts recommend two spring feedings to get your lawn off to a strong start. They also suggest a summer feeding to help grass withstand the foot traffic and activity that the warm weather brings.

Keeping your lawn mowed makes sure it's always ready for gatherings. Prepare your mower for the summer by getting it tuned up and having the blades sharpened. As lawn care CEO Coulter Lewis tells The Family Handyman, dull mower blades can cause unsightly, frayed grass and even leave your lawn vulnerable to damaging diseases.

Make mowing your lawn a scheduled event so it doesn't become an urgent task. Set a calendar reminder and block off time for lawn care. Keep an eye on the forecast to make sure to get in maintenance when you can. And if you're mowing ahead of an event, provide enough time to account for delays due to weather or equipment issues.

Get barbecue-ready with a new grill

One of the best ways to entertain in the summer months is with a delicious barbecue. Investing in a new grill can give you countless ways to feed guests. Plus, there are tons of options on the market to meet your needs, preferences, and budget. First, you'll need to decide between charcoal and gas grills. Each has its own unique pros and cons. According to Home Depot, gas grills can be quicker to set up and easier to clean. However, charcoal grills can be lower maintenance and give food that distinct smoky flavor.

Either way, you'll want to select a grill that's big enough for your needs. Think about the types of foods you grill and how many guests you regularly host. Omni Calculator even provides an easy-to-use grill calculator to determine the square inches you'll need for your guest list.

Once you determine the size and type of grill you need, think about add-ons and accessories. Maybe you want a side burner to heat sides like baked beans. A flat-top griddle is perfect for making unique grilled dishes like fried rice or scrambled eggs. And make sure you invest in a quality utensil set for perfectly flipped burgers.

Create your summer hosting playlists

Hosting is about appealing to all of your guests' senses. That means that curating the perfect summer party playlist is a must. And having a reliable way to share it all over your home creates an awesome vibe for all to enjoy. You can do that by using a music streaming service to create your playlist. CNET suggests using Spotify or Apple Music for their user-friendly features and huge catalogs. If you don't already have an account, create one and begin filling your playlist with your favorite summer tunes.

You likely aren't going to play the same music at your kiddo's birthday party and your adult cocktail hour. It's a good idea to create various playlists for things like kid-friendly music, adult soundtrack, and relaxing tunes. That way, you can quickly and easily adjust the music to match the mood and your audience. Once you have your playlists set up, it's time to share them with your guests. MusicTech suggests setting up a multi-room audio system. This can be as simple as using WiFi to chain together several smart speakers like Google Home or Amazon Echo. You can also invest in a speaker system meant for the whole home that can be streamed from your app. Either way, your tunes will add to the vibe and take your summer gathering to the next level.