As we quickly head toward spring I can’t help but think of outdoor tables set for friends and family to gather together on warm afternoons and evenings. I have set many outdoor tables over the past 20 years for everything from kid’s birthday parties to anniversary dinners to girl’s night gatherings. Each one is slightly different but they all have similar elements…beautiful linens, an abundance of flowers, and a few special touches to make sure my guests are comfortable. Today I thought I would show you 10 ways to set an outdoor table from super casual to extra special and everything in between. Click on the blue headings for more details about each table.
I loved putting together this fun table setting with my friend Jennifer at SoireeLA and sharing all of the details of HOW TO PLAN A BOHEMIAN BACKYARD DINNER PARTY. We wanted to create a casual and fun vibe that featured bright and beautiful colors in a natural backyard setting. We used a low table and oversized pillows on top of a rug that we brought out of the house. This is by far one of my all-time favorite outdoor table settings!
My two favorite things about this simple lunch table are the vintage linens that I picked up at a local shop and the simple FLOWER ARRANGEMENT MADE FROM GROCERY STORE ROSES and foraged greenery. There is absolutely nothing fancy here but it is charming in its simplicity.
The beauty of this outdoor table setting lies in the contrast between the rustic woods and the bright white flowing table linen. I love to create this type of juxtaposition in an outdoor table where there is an unexpected element or two that make it extra special.
I love the idea of an impromptu alfresco dinner that is simple to put together but big on ambiance. This often happens at our Montana ranch when the weather is cooperating and we rush out at the last minute to enjoy the view.
Wildflowers in a water pitcher are the perfect centerpiece for this casual table setting.
When the weather is cooperating I love nothing more than to gather together with friends at a table that looks like it should be in a dining room but is sitting on the grass in the middle of the garden. With a flowing table linen and a beautiful centerpiece flanked by china and crystal this table would be equally at home inside or out.
You may have noticed that many of the outdoor tables that I set have statement floral centerpieces. I often use flowers to add color to a neutral base palette. This table was no exception.
I started with very neutral linens, plates and chargers and added color with flowers and napkins.
A few months ago I had a couple of friends over for a wine and cheese girl’s night in our backyard. It was an idyllic setting made even more beautiful by the over the table centerpiece and lights I added to this alfresco table setting. A simple basket filled with cheese and fruit and a couple good bottles of wine were all that was needed to have a magical evening!
On warm summer nights there is no where I would rather have a meal with friends and family than on our porch at the ranch. I often forage for greenery and wildflowers in the woods to create a natural centerpiece and I keep the place settings simple and easy to make it comfortable for everyone.
While there may not be a table here, this is one of my favorite ways to dine outdoors. I love a good picnic and often add some special touches like fresh flowers and “real” plates, glasses and silverware.
I can’t think of much that I enjoy more than a delicious breakfast on a beautifully set outdoor table. This is one of my all-time favorites with the brightly colored table runner and a pitcher filled with fresh cut peonies.
I hope these 10 ways to set an outdoor table got you inspired to take some of your gatherings outdoors when the weather warms up. Our family has made a lot of memories sitting in the garden, in the woods, by the pond or simply on the patio sharing laughter and good food!