Provide guests with cushy seating and beautiful dishware worthy of an indoor party.

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Hosting an outdoor party on the balcony or in the backyard has often involved utilitarian paper goods and plastic plates, and a table set with a mishmash of random bowls and tea lights.

But this summer there’s a range of décor and serveware with the more sophisticated look and feel of indoor-quality goods — part of a growing trend toward blurring indoor/outdoor décor lines.

“Outdoor spaces should really be thought of as an extension of your living room, and that definitely applies to entertaining,” says Kara Smith of SFA Design, a bicoastal luxury design firm. “The furnishings should be as approachable as the interior, so that guests feel comfortable.”

Here’s a look at some of what designers and retailers are offering.

The Article Nimbus Coffee Table ($289) is a teak and powder-coated-steel table with midcentury modern/industrial style that could live indoors as well as out. The Bali Pendant Lamp ($199–$299, both at looks like rattan, but is hardy, woven synthetic fiber; a weatherproof rubber insulates the power cord.

Anthropologie’s new outdoor collection includes a blue-and-white Wrapped Rattan Indoor/Outdoor Bar Cart ($748) that evokes a chic French outdoor café. Here too, British designer Tracey Boyd’s Twill Ceramic Side Table ($148), with interesting geometric patterns.

Digital printing and improved materials are giving us wonderful new indoor/outdoor rugs that are a far cry from the slippy, cheap-looking plastic mats of a few years back. has the hip, geometric color-block Halia Indoor/Outdoor Rug ($449–$1,195) that’s colorfast and stain-resistant. Yet the hand-tufted, looped pile makes for a soft, plush feeling underfoot.

One of the biggest trends in outdoor décor is deep, comfortable seating with all the style and finishing of indoor furniture.

RH Modern’s Positano Lounge Chair ($2,395 at was designed by Milan-based Toan Nguyen. It’s a contemporary twist on basket-weave, with an oversize, woven teak frame that makes a comfy lounger.

Tableware is another area where manufacturing advancements have led to higher quality products.

Los Angeles-based Merritt makes melamine dinnerware with heft and pattern depth. The botanical print Merritt Botanica Salad Plates ($36 for four at, edged with a bamboo motif, have the look and feel of fine china.

World Market’s Pacific Acrylic Highball Glasses ($11 for four) look like cut crystal, and there are elegant champagne and wine glasses here too.

“One of the best parts of summer is the chance to do some outdoor entertaining,” says Todd Childs, assistant homes editor at Southern Living magazine. “Give your dining room the summer off. Invite some friends over and take the fun outside.”