How to create a cosy outdoor cinema: using things you already own

An outdoor cinema is easy to create – no matter what size your garden, or balcony may be – and it's a perfect Bank Holiday evening activity too!

Ikea outdoor cinema
(Image credit: Ikea)

If you are missing that outdoor cinema you went to last summer, you know the one with the fairy lights and the prosecco and the cosy blankets and the larger than life versions of Zac Efron and Hugh Jackman dancing and singing in front of you? Then fear not, because we have you covered with this easy way to create that same outdoor cinema set up at home (Zac and Hugh included if you want), using stuff you probably already have hanging around the house. 

Technically, for an outdoor cinema all you really need is a sheet, or a white wall and an outdoor projector, but we think it's the extras that make it all the more special. So keep scrolling to find out how to build a DIY outdoor cinema, and if you need one of the best outdoor projectors we have a buying guide for you to check out. 

Outdoor cinema with bedding and canopy from Ikea

(Image credit: Ikea/Simon Fritzell)

You will need:

Step one: set up the projector

It's best to do this first because it might determine where you can set up your outdoor cinema. You will have to have it connected to a video source so do that first so you can work out how far away from the source you can have it. Pop it on a side table and a stool and then you can move on to sorting out your screen. 

Step two: rig up your sheet

Obviously, if you have a blank white wall in your garden you can skip this step because you will be projecting straight onto that. If you are using a sheet,  we think the least damaging way to get it up is to peg it to a washing line – you could try using a very strong masking tape to tape it to a wall too. 

Turn on your projector now and check it's straight and the picture is central. 

Outdoor cinema with bedding and canopy from Ikea

(Image credit: Ikea/Simon Fritzell)

Step three: get decorating 

So with the essentials sorted now comes the fun bit, making it look like the most Instagrammable thing you have ever created in your life. Basically that means string up A TON of fairy lights, the more the better. We love the look of festoon lights and you could also add some lanterns to create even more of a lovely glow. And if you are feeling really extra, bring out you duvet and hang up a net canopy to create am almost outdoor bedroom. Dreamy!

Make sure your garden furniture is extra comfy by adding plenty of cushions and roll out an outdoor rug to create an even more outdoor living room feel. Pop some blankets in baskets and over the back of your furniture, and if you want to get really cosy add a fire pit or a chiminea. You could even toast some marshmallows – kids and adults alike would love it!

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