HGTV Host and Lifestyle Expert Susie Coelho Shares Fun and Inexpensive Tips to Prepare for Perfect Outdoor Parties

With warmer spring weather comes the season for outdoor parties. Lifestyle expert Susie Coelho, host of HGTV's "Outer Spaces," and author of Susie Coelho's Everyday Styling, and Styling for Entertaining, thinks successful outdoor parties begin with a comfortable, colorful set up.

"Think of creating a dining room, living room and kitchen in your outdoor space," Coelho says.

In the "dining room" area of your deck or patio, providing adequate seating for the number of guests is one of the first considerations a host should make. Enhance the style of your outdoor space with new low-maintenance outdoor furniture. Today's choices include tables and chairs with aluminum frames that will never rust. The elegant Sorrento patio set sold at Sears, features a hexagonal table with tempered glass and six cushioned chairs. An eight-piece set sells for $499.

If children are part of the guest list, and you need additional seating, spread a few colorful beach towels and throw pillows under a tree and let little ones picnic there.

The outdoor table setting provides the focal point for a party's color palette and offers endless opportunities for creativity and whimsy. Instead of using the standard paper plates and cups, don't be afraid to bring your good dishes outside. Coelho recommends using colorful dishes that align with your color palette. Brightly colored dishes can really make a table pop. Then accessorize your table with coordinating colors: table cloths, planters, cups, candles and flowers. At a birthday party, even the wrapping paper for gifts can be coordinated.

Mix and match pieces available at Sears include plates in coordinating patterns and solid colors, attractive matching drinkware, candles in whimsical shapes (such as flip flop sandals) and even strings of paper lanterns to hang in trees. Perhaps the most innovative item to light up parties that extend into evening is wine glasses with light up stems.

"These pieces are bright and fun, but also very practical because you can reuse them," Coelho notes.

The kitchen area of the outdoor space includes the grill and a food preparation area. It should be far enough from the eating area, that smoke won't disturb guests at the table. For an outdoor kitchen to rival the one inside, the stainless steel Kenmore Elite gas grill offers ease and convenience. An optional island kit adds 36" of granite-covered counter space to each side, along with additional storage. Sears' best grill (and one of its most popular) is $1,549.99 for the four-burner model and $1,899.99 for the six-burner model. Add $1,400 for the islands.

The living room area of the yard is a cozy space, where a couple of chairs placed close together provide the perfect setting for a friendly conversation. Create this conversation grouping on the deck, away from the eating table, on the patio, or on the lawn under a shade tree.

"To warm up the space, add a throw rug from inside," Coelho recommends. Or to literally warm the space against the chill of evening, group the chairs around a portable outdoor fireplace. The wood-burning Char-Broil fireplace (#1505710), made from porcelain-coated steel, sells for $129.99. Using indoor accessories, such as throw pillows, vases or candelabra add style to the party. However, these accessories should be returned inside at the evening's end.

Music sets the mood for any party. To bring music outdoors, use indoor/outdoor speakers in a matching motif such as faux granite "rock" speakers suitable for patios or planter speakers which actually hold live plants. These high-resolution speakers are positioned where water from the plant won't damage them. HiFi Works rock speakers or planter speakers are sold in pairs for $99 at Sears.

Any area of the yard can be brightened with potted plants. "They add instant color and provide a focus for the eye," Coelho says. "And because they're movable, you can change the look at will."

Susie Coelho will be available to discuss styling outdoor spaces in a satellite media tour on March 23, from 6:30 a.m. CST until 9:30 a.m. For more information, contact Beverly Brunston at 323-930-1030.

Sears, Roebuck and Co. is a leading broadline retailer providing merchandise and related services. With revenues in 2003 of $41.1 billion, the company offers its wide range of home merchandise, apparel and automotive products and services through more than 2,300 Sears-branded and affiliated stores in the U.S. and Canada, which includes approximately 870 full-line and 1,100 specialty stores in the U.S. Sears also offers a variety of merchandise and services through,, and specialty catalogs. Sears is the only retailer where consumers can find each of the Kenmore, Craftsman, DieHard and Lands' End brands together - among the most trusted and preferred brands in the U.S. The company is the largest provider of product repair services with more than 14 million service calls made annually.

Susie Coelho was coined by the New York Times as the effervescent cable-television design guru. She was lifestyle contributor to NBC's Today show for two years and is now a contributor to "The View." She has appeared on CNN, "Access Hollywood" and "Oprah" segments on home, garden and entertaining. She has also been featured in numerous magazines and newspaper features.

SOURCE: Sears, Roebuck and Co.

CONTACT: Media, Lauren Jiles-Johnson, +1-847-286-0123, or Larry
Costello, +1-847-286-9036, both of Sears, Roebuck and Co.

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