Creating the Perfect Tablescape for Your End-of-Summer Soirée

  • 08/29/19

Whether It's a Light Brunch or a Multi-course Meal, Give Your Party a Proper Place for Guests to Eat, Drink, and Be Merry

Summer in the Hamptons is a time for gathering.

A few days away with family, a handful of lazy weekends amongst friends, or celebrating a festive holiday or two—summer’s warm air and cool breezes beckon us to come together.

When it's your turn to host—for lunch, dinner, or that perfect Sunday brunch—you take great care to ensure everything is just right.

Food, perfectly prepared.

Beverages, refreshing and delicious.

Music and atmosphere, elegant and airy.

But what about your table?

To keep up with the positive, festive vibes you've worked so hard to create, you’ll want to provide your guests with the ideal place to enjoy themselves. A spot where the food tastes better, the drinks go down smoother, and conversations last well into the night.

Relaxed or refined, outside or in, here are five tips for giving your summer tablescape that quintessential mix of warmth and cool summer chic.

Don't Shy Away From Themes

A colorful tropical oasis for dinner.

A traditional, blue-tinged brunch.

Perhaps a southern lunch fiesta.

Themes are a great way to curate the look of your table and make the design process both fun and easy. An essential factor when it comes to creating your theme, especially if you're working in a smaller space, is to keep it understated. Too much of a good thing results in a table that is both crowded and loud.

Keep the Conversation Clear and Your Guests Comfy

Speaking of loud, you don't want guests shouting over or through your table decor. Use centerpieces that fall below eye level so everyone can maintain eye contact and carry on conversations without distraction.

An extension of this tip includes ensuring your guests’ comfort by keeping the immediate area around their plates clear—you want a tablescape that is attractive and pleasing, not intrusive.

Food as Decoration

When it comes to creating a summer tablescape, you may first consider what flowers you want to use. Yes, it's hard to argue against using florals to decorate your dining space—or any space, for the matter—but there are some surprising alternatives.

Displays
made up of apples, berries, or citrus fruit like oranges, lemons, and limes will up the color factor of your table and give it a unique texture and depth. Apply a similar technique to food pairings or presentation—use colorful nuts and grains as a garnish or select hors d'oeuvres that are both colorful and tasty.

Don't Neglect Your Surroundings

Even though this article is about your table, don't overlook the other pieces that frame the dining experience. Bench seating is easily livened up (and made more comfortable) with theme-specific pillows. Drape wooden chairs with tulle or employ tiebacks to add a flash of color. Adding lighting accents will also help illuminate the mood.

Using a buffet or beverage cart to handle food and drink? Don't leave them out of the design— they’re the perfect spot for more dramatic (and taller) displays than the dining table.

Get Creative and a Bit Whimsical

A centerpiece of spare driftwood lined with lanterns and starfish.

Mismatched placements.

Place cards made from leaves or stones or butcher paper as a tablecloth.

We let our guard down during the summer and try not to take things too seriously. Your table should mirror this mantra with creative flourishes of whimsy that make people smile or, better yet, start a conversation.

Even if yours is a formal nighttime affair, lively additions like bright pink napkins against a sea of muted grays will give your meal an extra pop of fun.

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