For me there is something really magical about gathering family and friends around the table, sharing food and stories on a warm summers evening. So now that summer is here and alfresco dining and entertaining is in full swing, I thought I would share a few simple ideas for elevating your summer tablescapes.
We ALL know I love our striped tablecloths, completely inspired by Matilda Goad's bright yellow one.
A tablecloth, statement or plain, is a perfect base for a great tablescape and it can really change the mood.
I would always recommend getting one that is colourfast so it doesn't fade in the sun, and one that washes well so you can pop it in the machine after use.
My olive striped one is getting a lot of use, inside and out and I don't even have to iron it - bonus! But I also have a few others that I rotate that help set a different mood, even when using the same table and serveware.
I always think less is more in the summer when it comes to table centrepieces, especially if you need space for lots of summer sharing dishes.
Here are a few of my favourite, low cost things to do;
Use pots of herbs from your kitchen. They add colour and scent.
If you only have herbs in outside pots or planted in beds, cut some sprigs and pop them in a glass or jar. I particularly like to use rosemary as it's fragrant and I like the needle-like leaves.
Want to go more rustic? Simply layer your foliage down the middle of the table and then add candles or others decorative accessories as you like.
Candles and tealights set a relaxed mood, I use a variety of holders/ vessels from tealights popped in old candle jars, to pillar candles stood on vintage plates and tapered candles in empty bottles. Scatter them along the table and vary your heights to create more interest and draw the eye.
Pop some lemons and limes in between your vases, pots and candles to add a pop of colour. Or if you like a more beachy look then pebbles are a great way to add some interest.
Cut fresh flowers and foliage from the garden or buy a small bouquet and divide it between bud vases, glasses and jars. You only need a few sprigs in each. Arrange them along the table.
Mix Up Your Tableware and Serveware
There's something about summer that makes me want to use ALL my platters, dishes, plates. Mix the old with the new, the classic with the modern. It all adds to the charm.
I love to;
Use vintage plates and platters to serve my salads and side dishes. The shapes and colours provide interest and a playfulness to the table.
Mix up my glassware, so that there is nothing too matchy-matchy, which is good as let's face it glassware is the one thing we often break so having a full set is near on impossible! Cut glass and etched wine glasses of different heights paired with shorter water glasses look great.
Go for natural material placemats that are big enough to take a plate and glass, whilst giving me a border. A 38cm diameter is perfect. The natural elements bring warmth and a connection to the outside.
Use cake stands for dessert, a little height adds to the drama and makes it more of a spectacle. I love our toppu tray's for this, they bring some modernity and fun to the table.
Add wooden boards for serving meats and cheeses, adding more warmth and texture.
A pallet will do
You don't need to have a dining table and chairs to enjoy alfresco dining or to create a lovely magical setting. Gather some old pallets, which you can often pick up free, and make your own table by putting them in a line either 1 or 2 pallet tall at most. Blankets and cushions on the floor provide a comfortable seat. There is something really informal and magical about this way of gathering together.
TIP - Be sure you cover the pallets to avoid splinters and if the slats are wide you may want to add a sheet of wood to create a more solid table top so things don't topple over.
So there you have it, a few ways to set your summer tables or even make your own. Here's to a summer of making gorgeous memories!