With Labor Day Weekend just around the corner, the time is ripe to start planning that end-of-summer party you've been procrastinating about all season long. And while we all know that the prep process can be daunting, it certainly doesn't have to be.
To help you solve all your outdoor entertaining woes and transform your outdoor space into the ultimate hangout spot, we turned to Shay Mitchell and her BFF and business partner Michaela Blaney, who have joined the ranks of Gwyneth Paltrow, Blake Lively, and Reese Witherspoon and launched their very own lifestyle website, Amore & Vita, which features a slew of recipes, home décor ideas, and travel recommendations (you know, for your next #shaycation). The newly minted design duo also recently teamed up with online home goods store Lulu & Georgia to design Mitchell's backyard at her new L.A. home, so they're full of fresh concepts. See gorgeous snaps of the space below, and read on for six nuggets of wisdom.
1. When in doubt, opt for a neutral palette.
"Lately I've been using a lot of white and cream," Mitchell says of her own decor choices. "There's something very feminine but chic about a neutral palette."
2. Next Issue app is a great source of creative inspiration for outdoor design.
"I travel quite a bit, so I'm obsessed with this app (free; iTunes) — it lets you download all of your favorite design magazines and scroll through them on your iPad," Mitchell says.
3. Mixed flower arrangements offer an exotic touch.
"I arrange mine at the local farmer's market," Mitchell says. "They give the space a tropical feel."
4. Cheese boards are the easiest appetizer to make in a cinch.
"All you need to do is throw on some crackers and colorful fruits and it looks very gourmet," Mitchell says. Adds Blaney: "As long as you have something to crunch, spread, and savor, you can throw just about any flavor together."
5. Pillows and candles will instantly make an outdoor space feel homey.
"Lay a blanket on the grass with tons of big pillows and light some candles — it'll really set the mood," Blaney says. Adds Mitchell: "My style is very eclectic — I'll mix a contemporary couch with Moroccan throws."
6. Pandora holds the key to the ultimate playlist.
"I love the Frank Sinatra channel," Mitchell says. "It plays throughout the house and there is such a glamorous vibe to it. It puts me in such a good mood!" Blaney, meanwhile, prefers "dreamy guitar music, like Jesse Cook. It evokes a sense of nostalgia."
Like Mitchell's outdoor space? Shop all the pieces now at luluandgeorgia.com.