The Inside Out

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Mary Jo Bochner, interior designer and founder of Bochner Design, shares how to create a party space that’s equal parts comfortable and luxurious.

Photography by Teresa Earnest

1. Shop your living room for furniture.

A wood table takes on a whole new look when outside, and “you really can’t wreck it,” says Mary Jo. “If it gets wet or stained, just rub a little mineral oil on it.”

2. Upholster indoor seating with outdoor fabric.

Mary Jo isn’t afraid to place white linen wingback chairs on the porch, but she also likes to cover indoor furniture with Sunbrella canvas. “I bought a few super-ugly chair with great lines for cheap and invested in durable slipcovers,” she says. “Three years later, they still look awesome.”

3. Set up a large table as a food station.

Bring all the dishes out at once for easy self-service. “A farm table from my office was big enough for everything on our menu,” notes Mary Jo.

4. Arrange areas for intimate conversations.

“Create little nooks,” she says. “You can do it with anything—wingback chairs, rocking chairs, even lawn chairs around a coffee table made out of a planter and stone slab.”

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