Our Guide to Throwing an Outdoor Movie Night

Grab these handy projectors and cozy seating for the perfect summer movie party

Chantal Lamers & Nena Farrell
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Head out Back

There’s no better time than an early summer evening to ditch the sofa in favor of an outdoor movie night. To recreate a bit of that drive-in-theater magic on your lawn, start with some portable projectors, spread out cozy blankets, and layer on low chairs, pillows, and throws made for lounging. Now all that’s left to do is set out a refreshments table for drinks and—of course—popcorn.
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Splurge: LG Laser Smart Home Theater Projector

We’re not kidding when we say it’s a splurge. But we’re fans of this LG projector for its high-quality picture (full HD resolution and 2,000 lumens), ability to automatically adjust the screen image to correct any distortion when you project it onto a wall (or sheet), inputs that vary from HDMI and USB to wireless mirroring with mobile devices, and even Bluetooth connectivity to portable or home speaker systems. For your backyard movie night, grab a fun speaker with a long battery life like the sleek Ultimate Ears MegaBlast ($300).
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Mid-Range: BenQ

If you’re looking for a more reasonable price tag that still has a lot to offer, try BenQ’s Home Cinema Projector. It offers a great picture quality that also hits in the 2,000+ lumens, and has a great built-in speaker. It does run hot, though, so keep that in mind as you place it.
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Portable Mid-Range: LG Mini Beam

Four reasons why we love LG’s Minibeam: more than two hours of battery time, high contrast in dark settings, built-in sound, and several video-source options, including compatible Android phone mirroring, connecting to an iPhone through an Apple Lightning Digital AV Adapter, or hooking up to a USB drive.
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Pretty Portable: AAXA P300 Pico Projector

AAXA is known for their wide range of pico projectors (a.k.a., mini projectors that are much more portable but offer lower picture quality) and one of the best they offer is the P300. It offers an HD 500 lumen picture quality, and can connect to a laptop or speakers through options like HDMI and Aux Out cables (although it does have a built-in speaker too). The battery lasts about an hour, so use it for watching an episode of your favorite show or connect it to power while watching a movie.
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Super Portable: Kodak Pico Projector

If you’re looking for a low-fuss setup, it doesn’t get any easier than this little pico projector. Just a few inches tall, it has a battery life of about an hour and a half and can connect wirelessly to a smartphone, using iOS Airplay or Android Miracast to mirror the phone’s screen. The super compact size means it only offers 100 lumens. It has a small built-in speaker, but for larger sound grab a Riva Arena ($348) that can wire into the pico projector while staying portable, thanks to the speaker’s battery pack.
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Sweet Seating: Rattan Chair

This rattan seat is not only stylish, but also easily folds up and has a built-in handle for quick movie night set-up.
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Sweet Seating: Throwbed

Let the kids lounge on the ground and then easily roll this throwbed up when the movie’s done.
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Sweet Seating: Sling Chair

Kick back and relax during the film in this sling chair, and grab the matching ottoman ($79) to put your feet up.
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Get Cozy: Tie-Dyed Cushion

Add this cushion to your wicker chair, or onto the throwbed as a pillow.
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Get Cozy: Cotton Blankets

Even though it’s summer, the night could still turn pretty cool as the movie continues. Have a few lightweight blankets like these to grab in case it gets breezy.
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Get Cozy: Indigo Throw

We love the macramé fringe on this throw, and it’s another perfect blanket to have on hand for cooler evenings.
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Extra Fun: Canvas Games

Waiting for the movie to start? Pull out this canvas roll-up game while the popcorn pops.
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Extra Fun: Embellished Tumbler

Enjoy a well-insulated drink in a tumbler that can handle the elements while remaining extremely stylish.
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Extra Fun: Personal Popcorn

Give everyone their own personal bowls of popcorn with these elevated enamelware bowls.