The Best Tablescaping Tips for Summer

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The Best Tablescaping Tips for Summer

Summer is the ultimate season of outdoor BBQs and poolside dining. Whether you’re working with a tiny balcony or a spacious backyard, setting the scene by tablescaping is key for the ultimate outdoor dining experience—and you can even do it on a budget. From hanging string lights to floral tablecloths to moody candles, setting the table goes far beyond glassware and plates. Thankfully, we’ve rounded up some of the most fool-proof tips and tricks so you can create the ideal ambience for your next outdoor dinner party or gathering.

Use a Tablecloth

Tablecloths are the foundation of every great tablescape. It sets the tone, color scheme and style of everything that goes on top of it. If you’re hosting a more casual get-together or dinner, consider going for a classic red and white checkered cloth. If you’re looking for something more elegant, you may want to opt for a more understated tablecloth that has a solid white base with delicate colored florals. While a tablecloth isn’t always necessary, it does add a more elevated touch to an event. Tablecloths can also be used to protect from spills and stains that might damage the actual table, especially if it’s wood or white. Thrift stores are a great place to shop for affordable tablecloths if you don’t have one at home.

Add Place Mats for an Interesting Visual Touch

Place mats might seem old-fashioned and outdated, but they can add a thoughtful, creative element to any tablescaping situation. Depending on what kind of tablecloth you’ve chosen, place mats are able to enhance the overall style of your table while also providing a sense of space for each guest. If you’re going for a Mediterranean vibe for summertime, woven placemats can work with almost any color scheme and tend to be pretty durable after many uses. However, making your placemats from unused fabric or cloth is a fun and budget-friendly activity.

Choose Fun Glassware 

Maximalism is in, and the more glasses you have, the better. From water glasses to wine glasses, having each kind of glass available and ready to use is both convenient and stylish. If you’re serving wine at your dinner party, consider placing a decanter in the middle of the table. Not only will this result in an aerated glass of vino, but it can also provide an elegant addition to the tablescape. Don’t have matching glassware? Mixing and matching cups and glasses offers a whimsical summery vibe.

Think About Plateware

Outdoor BBQs and poolside parties are known for relying on paper or plastic plates for serving, which is perfect if you’re trying to make cleanup as easy as possible. If you want to take things to the next level, though, actual flatware makes a huge difference in the aesthetic and style of your tablescape. Thankfully, you can always keep things simple with plain white plates and bowls. If you’re already mixing and matching your glasses, consider doing the same with your plateware. Though it may seem a bit chaotic, this eclectic look can actually work really well, especially when you use colors that complement one another. 

Remember Your Silverware

If you want to save money, your best bet is to use the silverware you already have: It gets the job done, and there’s no waste. But if you want to make sure everything matches, you can invest in some nicer-quality plastic flatware (some of which even come in silver and gold tones to look like real metal silverware). Looking for something more sustainable? You may want to look into disposable wooden or bamboo utensils.  

Use Flowers as Your Centerpiece 

Nothing says “summer dining” like flowers. There is perhaps no better or more beloved centerpiece, and the options are virtually endless. From bright yellow sunflowers to elegant white roses, flowers bring an effortless sense of beauty to any atmosphere. Of course, you can always pick up a bouquet from your local grocery store or flower shop, but if you’re on a budget, consider picking wildflowers to use in your tablescaping. Don’t forget to put them in a vase in the center of the table.

Set the Mood with Lighting 

Lighting is one of the most difficult aspects of outdoor tablescaping. If you have the space, hang string lights for a whimsical scene that also provides a solid amount of light above the table. Candles are also a great way to enhance the ambience while also increasing visibility with no electricity required. However, be sure to use unscented candles so you don’t attract bugs or distract from the flavor of the food.

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