The Chronicle

5 Tips for Hosting the Perfect Summer Party — Tetra Style

Summer is here, and it's time to celebrate — preferably outdoors, with your favorite smoky refreshments. But all gatherings are not created equal, and it's the design details that make all the difference. First things first, there's the ashtray situation: Are you still using a beer can or a kitschy thrift-store find? If so, it's time for an upgrade. Ben Medansky's new Essential Ashtrays ($48-50), launched today, are the perfect place-it-anywhere solution for smokers — and they also happen to work nicely as dishes for edible treats. Why not stockpile a few?

Below, find these and a few more suggestions for entertaining in high style. (Top photo: Slim Aarons.)

1. No more beer-bottle ashtrays. If you're entertaining outside, your friends will want to smoke. They will not, however, want to look at empty beer bottles filled with other people's smokes. Instead, invest in a basic, classic solution that will never do you wrong: Our new Essential Ashtray by Ben Medansky.

2. Don't forget the blankets. Whether they're used to sit on or to chase away chills, chic textiles will never go unappreciated. If a shopping trip to Morocco or Mexico isn't in the cards, a psychedelic design by Berlin-based fashion house Anntian offers a contemporary update.

3. Mind the wind. Tribe of the Eastern Sun's fuel-free, rechargeable, wind-proof Plasma Lighter ($70) produces a flame no matter how bracing the summer breeze — perfect for lighting up beachside or on a boat.

4. Provide paper. A few thoughtfully placed packets of Van der Pop's unbleached hemp Rolling Papers ($24 for a set of 3) are sure to get the festivities, er, rolling.

5. Let guests refresh. The vibrant aromas of Lake & Skye's artisanal Floral Waters ($48-70) must be experienced to be believed. A bottle makes a thoughtful addition to your outdoor table, especially on hot, sweaty days.