10 Ways to Set An Outdoor Table

| |

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.

Beautiful Bohemian Style

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!

Simple Lunch On The Porch

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.

Romance In The Woods

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.

A Simple Gathering On The Porch

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.

Backyard Dinner Party

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.

A Beautiful Spring Table

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.

Wine and Cheese Girl’s Night

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!

Casual Outdoor Dining At The Ranch

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.

The Ultimate Picnic

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.

Breakfast On The Porch

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!

Pin the image below to your Pinterest account to come back to this post later!

Similar Posts


  1. Beautiful table settings. I have two tables on my patio and both have umbrellas in the middle—very challenging for table arrangements! I would love any ideas. Thank you!

    1. Hi Barbara- Those umbrellas are practical but make table arrangements a little difficult. I have often used a grouping of smaller vases in this scenario. They can be mason jars or a variety of bottles or any collection you might have. Just use the same type of flowers for each small arrangement and place them randomly in the center with a few candles and your table will look beautiful. Placemats are a great alternative to linens in this situation. Hope that helps!

  2. These table settings are beautiful and I am truly inspired. I look forward to opening up your lovely blog on Sunday mornings. It really starts the new week on a positive note. By the way, I noticed that some of the arrangements are large and wondered where to place the arrangements after people sit down in order to see each other? I have always wondered what the right thing is to do. I tend to shy away from making large arrangements for that reason. Thanks.

    1. Thanks so much Lynette! I really appreciate your kind note. I usually just move the flowers to a side table while we are eating. I love the impact of an oversized arrangement but as you said, it is not always practical, so I just move it!😊

  3. Hi Karen,
    These tables are stunning, not only in their simplicity but in their spot-on seasonal beauty.
    I’ve somehow been dropped from the email notifications I used to receive for your blog posts. I hope this starts me up again with your always inspiring posts.
    Karen B.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *