Tips for Creating a Casual Outdoor Summer Table

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I absolutely love a good meal at a beautifully set table.  I love the way it makes you want to linger and savor every bite.  I love how the conversation continues well past the time that the plates are empty.  I love the connection with friends and family that is created when you share a home cooked meal. Today, I wanted to share a few tips for creating a casual outdoor summer table that you can share with those you love.

Our summer is all about time with friends and family on our ranch, so there is a lot of cooking in the kitchen together (and lots of dishes!) We often have casual meals out on the porch and enjoy the warm summer evenings.

Since I don’t want to make a big production of setting the table, I have come up with some simple ways to make a table look inviting while still keeping it casual and easy.  This has become my “Signature Summer Table” and I wanted to share the elements I love with you all.


I love these simple willow placemats. They are perfect for any season, and make a big statement without being too fussy. I love the way they add texture and a neutral color, but work with any color palette.


To add a pretty, patterned element, I often pair these placemats with a table runner. In this case, I used a piece of vintage fabric I found at the flea market and sewed together to make a wide table cover. This one looks a bit like a faded bandana, which is perfectly suited to a ranch meal on the porch.


Unlike the more formal tables I sometimes set, our casual summer table often has a mass of foraged wildflowers from the meadow.  Whatever is in season and blooming works for me.  I put these flowers in a vintage coffee pot and they make the perfect centerpiece for this outdoor table.


You may already know that I am a fan of white plates. I have several sets that I mix and match on all kinds of tables. In this case I used a simple dinner plate with a dot pattern and a salad plate with a pretty dot and emblem pattern. I love they way these brighten the table and work with any color palette. You can read more about MY FAVORITE WHITE PLATES by clicking HERE.


These gingham napkins are the perfect casual napkin for lunch or dinner. They add a whimsical element to the table and keep the overall style fun and easy. I used a simple galvanized napkin ring to keep the look rustic and simple.


The final element that I love on a casual table is these birchwood candle holders. I think they add the perfect rustic element, especially for an outdoor, country table setting. They hold small tealights that add a beautiful glow as the sun sets.

I will repeat this casual outdoor table throughout the summer. I may change out  the napkins, table runner or flowers, but the overall style will stay the same.  Simple, casual and rustic…I hope this inspires you to create a signature summer table that you will be able to use again and again.

Below are affiliate links to most of my favorite summer tabletop products.  I have sourced similar items if the exact product is no longer available. 

Have a wonderful day!

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