Photo: The Residences at Mandarin Oriental/Flickr

As spring turns to summer, many of us find ourselves spending more time in the great outdoors. Whether you enjoy sipping cocktails alfresco, firing up the barbecue, or screening your favourite film under the stars, now is the perfect opportunity to whip your outdoor space into shape. We’ve rounded up 12 must-haves for a party-worthy backyard or balcony — all you’ll need to add is a bit of sunshine!

1. ÄNGSÖ outdoor table from IKEA, $129


Photo: IKEA

Let’s start with the basics: every outdoor space, no matter how small, deserves a dining table. As the days grow longer, you’ll want a spot to sip a glass of wine or scarf down some tacos. This durable outdoor table from IKEA seats four and is made from heartwood (the dense core of the tree trunk), which makes it resistant to decay.

2. Master dining chairs from Structube, $59


Photo: Structube

Outdoor furniture shopping can often result in a serious case of sticker shock. Structube’s ultra-affordable Master dining chairs are crafted from polypropylene, which means they’re suitable for indoor or outdoor use. Plus, the frames are stackable so they’re ideal for small spaces.

3. PLAY:1 mini home speaker from SONOS, $249


Photo: SONOS

While the song of the summer has yet to be determined, it’s not too early to queue up your backyard barbecue playlist. SONOS’ PLAY:1 mini home speaker provides rich sound despite its small stature. The speaker is humidity-resistant, which means it’s perfect for outdoor use. Plus, it streams over wifi, not Bluetooth, so the party won’t stop when your friend Greg calls to ask for directions. If you’re lucky enough to own two PLAY:1s, you can use them as home theatre speakers when screening an outdoor film. (Sponsored by SONOS)

4. Cactus pattern cork tray from Bouclair, $15.99


Photo: Bouclair

Want your outdoor space to look sharp this summer? Cactus motifs are the way to go. This round cork tray from Bouclair will allow you to serve up signature cocktails in style. Bourbon lemonade anyone?

5. CANVAS Aztec stripe patio cushion from Canadian Tire, $12.88


Photo: Canadian Tire

When it comes to choosing outdoor prints and fabrics, it’s okay to be a little more adventurous than you typically would be with your interiors. Canadian Tire’s CANVAS line offers affordable toss pillows (most are priced at around $17) in playful colours and patterns, like this Aztec print with a hint of neon.

6. LED light-up cork bottle stopper from Urban Outfitters, $18


Photo: Urban Outfitters

What’s better than wine? Wine that turns into an LED lamp! The cork bottle stopper gives off a warm glow that lasts for up to three hours. The light component twists on/off, and can be quickly recharged using a USB port.

7. Indoor/outdoor Alona Moss Rug from Pier 1 (5×8), $125

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Photo: Pier 1 Imports

Condo balconies are often in need of upgraded flooring. Cold, bumpy cement does not feel good on bare feet. If you’re renting and don’t want to invest in interlocking deck tiles, a cozy outdoor rug is your best bet. This hand-woven jute rug features a lime green border that matches the Structube dining chairs (see what we did there?!).

8. White lantern with jute handle from Zara Home, $39.90


Photo: Zara Home

In recent years, outdoor lanterns have become sculptural pieces that range in size, shape and colour. This iron cage-style lantern from Zara Home features a glass insert and jute handle. It’ll light up your alfresco dinner table *and* rake in compliments from guests.

9. Textured jug from H&M Home, $17.99

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Photo: H&M

It’s simply not summer without lemonade, and this clear glass jug from H&M Home is the perfect vessel for it. The jug is available in three different colours, and, if you’re so inclined, you can snatch up matching tumblers and bowls to complete your tablescape.

10. Drape umbrella from Wayfair, $284.70

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Photo: Wayfair

Don’t get burned this summer! Choose a large outdoor umbrella that provides plenty of shade from the sun’s damaging rays. This nine-foot drape umbrella from Wayfair was inspired by the “red carpet glamour of the Cote d’Azur.” Its black and white scalloped fringe sets it apart from many of the ho-hum patio umbrellas on the market.

11. Iris planter + chevron stand from West Elm, $139 – $189

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Photo: West Elm

Container gardens are ideal for small patios and balconies because you can bring the plants back inside once the temperature dips. West Elm offers two sizes for this stately planter and stand combo. Made from a stone and cement composite material, the planter is surprisingly lightweight and pairs well with the modern, graphic base.

12. Cut glass string lights from CB2, $24.63


Photo: CB2

It’s gonna be lit — umm, your patio that is. These cut glass string lights from CB2 deliver a charming, vintage aesthetic. Each cord measures nearly 11-and-a-half feet long, but multiple strands could be used for added ambiance.

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