The sun’s out and the temperature is warming up, so it’s time to have your friends and family round for a much-needed get together. So where to start with your outdoor dining ideas? By styling your table, of course.
This is an element that can be really fun to do and make your garden get together into more of an occasion. Whether you want to create a table scene that’s an extension of your interior style, or pick a theme that’s a bolder and brighter version of what you’d normally choose, there are plenty of stunning ways to make your outdoor dining area the focal point of your space.
Need some inspiration for your garden table styling? Take your pick from our 9 favorite looks for this summer.
1. English country garden
Oh-so-pretty, this quintessential country garden table setting is easy to recreate as part of your garden decor ideas. You could bring your table and chairs outside from your kitchen, and all you need is a lovely piece of lace to use as a tablecloth. For a budget-friendly option, Ikea’s Alvine curtains (opens in new tab) are perfect for this.
Fill a couple of jam jars with some scented stocks or sweet peas and add three candlesticks to your table – odd numbers are always best. Crystal-style glasses go well with a lace tablecloth as they add a touch of glamour that will finish off the look perfectly.
2. Woodland-inspired gathering
If you're a fan of our wildlife garden ideas and want to create a pretty woodland-inspired setting to suit your space, this is the look for you. Use black tableware for a dramatic feel, while a turmeric-colored velvet ribbon teamed with a sprig of foliage will make perfect napkin ties for each place setting.
It's all about bringing in plenty of greenery too, so forage what you can from your garden. Honeysuckle and elderflower are two that will look fabulous, or buy some eucalyptus from your local florist. Weave it between the glasses and use pillar candles of various heights and widths to add a gentle glowing light as the sun goes down.
3. A blue and green scheme
Pastel blue and green make a joyful color combination for a summery table. Use a white linen tablecloth as a base and pick napkins in a natural linen shade.
Instead of flowers, use pots of herbs, succulents and small plants to create a display down the middle of the table. Keeping them at the same height create a cohesive look, while different colored pots will add interest and texture. Pop in a few candlesticks and use colored glass tumblers as a finishing touch.
You can find out how to grow succulents in our guide.
4. Modern rustic
Authentic and full of character, rustic garden ideas are all about combining natural textures. Think wood grains, handcrafted wicker table mats and trays, irregular shaped speckled crockery and simple ribbed glassware.
No tablecloth needed for this trend, it’s all about seeing the aged wooden tabletop. Team it with a modern wood and marble bread board and timeless stainless-steel cutlery. Add in a posy or two of herbs, such as mint displayed in glasses, for some added color and scent.
You can browse the best outdoor dinnerware sets to achieve this rustic look, with shatterproof options perfect for hosting in the summer.
5. Boho style
Friends coming over for an impromptu lunch? Gather some dried stems, enamel tableware and embossed glassware for your bohemian garden ideas.
This look is casual yet inviting, and ideal for throwing together at moment's (or two) notice. And if it goes on until the evening, our favorite festoon light ideas will add to the atmosphere.
6. Summer brights
Love a bit of color? Why not opt for some beautiful brights for your table this summer. Coral, turquoise, blush pink and sky blue are a winning combination and they look great when teamed with gold cutlery.
For maximum impact for your garden color schemes, mix and match shades. The bolder the better with this vibrant look! This scheme would look great with some bold florals too, such as a printed table runner or napkins.
Fill a jug with some freshly cut blooms from the garden and place it in the middle for a further injection of color.
7. Relaxed Mediterranean
The rural charm of Provencal-style interiors can be used outside too for Mediterranean garden ideas. Think natural materials and lots of natural textures. Items such as earthenware jugs and bowls, fresh flowers and herbs, aged furniture, and metal and wood slatted chairs will all result in a delightfully relaxed feel.
The color palette is muted for this look, with shades of sand, pale blue, lavender and off-whites. Look for tactile tableware and team it with vintage cutlery with ivory handles. Linen napkins and burnished gold candle holders will add an extra layer of texture.
8. Tropical shades
Want to ensure your outdoor space has a fun vibe? Throw together some vibrant accessories in tropical hues and you're off to a good start. This bright and cheery table is full of the joys of summer – pink faux sheepskins (for those cooler evenings), lime, yellow and cerise candle sticks, colored cutlery handles and pale pink tableware.
You could even invest in a length of palm leaf fabric to use as a runner and napkins. Place a bright posy of flowers at each end for added color and texture and it will be guest-ready in no time.
9. Classic neutrals
The timeless charm of classic linen in neutral tones and pretty vintage glassware never dates, so this look will have enduring appeal, whether you live in the countryside or prefer more modern garden ideas for your space.
If your outdoor furniture has seen better days and you've not had the time to give it a refresh this year, adding a beautiful linen tablecloth will instantly lift the look of your space.
Opt for tableware in similar neutral tones for an elegant look, and add a touch of glamour with etched glassware. Why not search out vintage designs from your local thrift store to give your outdoor table a more unique look?
Sophie has been an interior stylist and journalist for over 20 years and has worked for many of the main interior magazines during that time, both in-house and as a freelancer. On the side, as well as being the News Editor for indie magazine, 91, she trained to be a florist last year and recently launched The Prettiest Posy (opens in new tab) where she curates beautiful flowers for weddings and events.
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