Easy Summer Tablescape Ideas

Summer is the perfect time to set a pretty table! Summer tablescapes can be laid back and simple or fancy and full of summer bounty. Here are lots of ideas and tips for setting a memorable summer tablescape.

Ready to set a pretty summer tablescape? Summer is the best time of the year to entertain and setting a fabulous summer tablescape goes a long way in creating a relaxed and special mood! Setting a great table does not mean a lot of work! It means being smart and playing up what summer is all about! Here are a few tips to help you set the perfect summer table for your next get-together!

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Tablescaping is one of my favorite things to talk about and create! And summer tablescapes are uniquely amazing! They can be so so easy and casual and they can also be a dinner dance under the stars and everything in between!

I just want to challenge you to set summer tables that bring you joy and speak to your inner designer!

Here are 8 tips to help you set the most amazing summer tables!

PARTY AROUND A SUMMER THEME

PICNIC BASET WITH AMERICAN FLAGS AND MASON JARS WITH LEMONADE

Choose a summer theme for a tablescape! It’s amped up the fun factor!!!

How about a “beach party”? Or a “dip in the pool” tablescape? Wouldn’t “fresh from the garden” or “strawberry time” themes work great too?

A theme really helps give you something to celebrate. Strawberries or the beach or a summer color palette. Choosing a theme is really a jumping off point to set a table! It becomes easier to set a table that is cohesive and it is just more fun!!!

Have fun with a summer tablescape and celebrate the season!

A BIG WHITE BOWL OF ARTICHOKES ON A SUMMER OUTDOOR TABLE

Here are some summery themes for a tablescape…

  • fruit like strawberries, lemons, watermelons, peaches, and any in-season fruit
  • vegetables like artichokes, tomatoes, peppers, and any in-season vegetables
  • beachy items like sand (brown sugar), starfish, colors of surf and sand, crabs, shells, crustaceans, and other beach items
  • alfresco dining elements like lots of garden flowers, fabulous plasticware, and more!
  • flowers themselves can be the most amazing theme to set a summer table around
  • anything patriotic, red, white, blue, stars, stripes, flags
  • picnic themes using picnic baskets, wrapped sandwiches, salad in Chinese take-out boxes, and lemonade in mason jars
  • al low country boil- my personal summer favorite

SET AN EASY TABLE

Summer is all about easy and less fuss! Keep “easy” as your mantra!!! My very favorite way to tablescape in the summer is to use white dishes and lots of white and natural accents.

How about using brown paper in place of a tablecloth?

USE GREAT TEXTILES

BLACK AND WHITE NAPKIN IN A GREEN NAPKIN RING

Summer means easy breezy fabrics! I love using cotton prints for tablecloths and napkins! Sandwich a folded napkins between dishes for an informal summery look!

Did you know that a sheet can make a fabulous summer tablecloth? Just remember to keep all textiles lightweight and easy to care for. No one wants to be ironing in the summer!

And use paper products. There are so many beautiful summery paper designs that will make your table sing!

Here are some fun ideas for using textiles and paperware on your table…

  • Put brown paper down on a table when serving messy summer foods. And use lots of paper towels!
  • Giftwrap in a summer pattern can be used instead of a table runner
  • Use bar towels instead of napkins. They are big and can be rolled to make a fun presentation
  • Use coordinating paper products and napkins.
  • Use a fun napkin as a placemat
  • But a couple yards of great summery fabric and use it instead of a real tablecloth ( the black paid “tablecloth” above is really a swath of fabric!
  • Opt for a great table runner instead of a tablecloth! And use rattan placemats for a casual look.
  • A cotton blanket makes a great askew tablecloth!
  • Bandanas make the cutest summer stand-in for a napkin!
A RED AND WHITE BANDANA AS A NAPKIN ON A SUMMER TABLE

You might like these fun napkin folds for summer…

POCKET NAPKIN FOLD

THREE EASY SUMMER NAPKIN FOLDS

CREATE A GARDEN VARIETY CENTERPIECE

BEAUTIFUL PINK PEONIES ON A SUMMER TABLE

Outdoors or inside flowers are most often the stars of a summer tablescape! There are so many options to choose from!

For me, setting a pretty summer table is all about the organics!!!!

GARDEN FLOWERS ON A SUMMER TABLE

Head to the garden and pick a big bunch of flowers! Or pilfer your container gardens! Forgo the fancy vases and opt for a pretty pitcher, mason jar, pot or even a row of little milk bottles going down the center of the table!

Use a stack of pretty plates to make a riser for your pitcher flowers. Think about using greens and herbs if you don’t have flowers!

Snip wildflowers from the roadside or tendrils from a bush. Almost any plant or tree can be put in a mason jar, a milk bottle, or something casual and sweet!

A SMALL WHITE MILK BOTTLE FILLED WITH GARDEN FLOWERS

Whatever you choose to use, just make it fun and summery!

CREATE AN EASY MENU

A GORGEOUS RHUBARB GALETTE ON A CUTTING BOARD

The last thing we all want to do is to be a slave in the kitchen when the temperature soars!!! Think about making food that is light and can be eaten cold or at room temperature. And ANYTHING you can make ahead is a summer winner!

A BAJA TACO ON A SUMMER TABLE

The SCRUMPTIOUS RHUBARB GALETTE above is so easy to make and can be made with any seasonal fruit!

And BAJA FISH TACOS are the quintessential taste of summer!

HAVE FABULOUS LIBATIONS FOR YOUR SUMMER CELEBRATION

WATER JAR outside on a bar cart

Keep drinks light too! Serve lots of great infused waters, iced tea, and even a fun mixed drink! Use lots of in-season fruits and herbs! Maybe instead of serving hot coffee after dinner, a mocha mint iced coffee would taste so much more refreshing!

Plasticware has come such a long way! The wine glasses below are actually acrylic! When I entertain outdoors I like to have non-breakable glasses!

ROWS OF monnogrammed wine glasses on a bar cart

Make a little drink station. Put your drinks in big jars with ladles or in glass containers with a pour spout. That way guests can help themselves.

PARTY OUTDOORS

outdoor tables done in blue and white

Weather permitting get outside! Enjoy the long evenings! Set a summer table with the great outdoors as your background! Plan to eat outside but have a backup plan if the weather gets too hot or thunderstorms roll in!

When the weather is bad don’t cancel! Eat around your kitchen table. Bring the party and the tablescape inside!

I like to set up stations around my house. A drink station, an appetizer station, a bar, etc. Keep people moving!!!

SET A SUMMER MOOD WITH LIGHTING

BIRDSEED LANTERN ON A SUMMER TABLE

A summer tablescape extends far beyond the table. Create a “mood” for your next soiree as well!

I love to use lanterns on a table outdoors so when the sun starts to go down the glow factor starts to rise! And lanterns keep the wind away from the flame.

Use scentless candles. The aroma should be from all the great food not from a scented candle.

two roped wrapped candle holders with beach enbellishments

Practical and almost as pretty are flickering battery-operated candles.

outdoor table with nubby placemats and plasticware

Here are some other ways to light up the night inside or out…

  • On a still night outside or any night inside hang paper lanterns in trees, pergola, or from the ceiling and use battery-operated tea light inside them
  • Add clear jars of fairy lights to your table. Or spread them out and wind them in and out of a centerpiece
  • Spray paint an old chandelier a fun color and refit it with solar lights and hang it up for a smashing outdoor dining look!
  • Use mason jars with sand or birdseed in the bottom of them to nestle a votive candle in. Use them in mass on a table.
  • Patio party lights are perfect for a warm lit area to dine.
COLORFUL SUMMER TABLE WITH BRIGHT PAPER LANTERNS

Make the MASON JAR BIRDSEED LANTERNS above in less than 10 minutes!

And ROPE WRAPPED CANDLEHOLDERS, also above, are perfect for summer.

MUSIC IS A MUST

Along with the lighting, music sets the mood for summer dining! Pick music that will go with your theme.

If you are having a more formal summer dinner play fabulous classical music! If a casual picnic is more your style play oldie favorites!

Just remember music should be a background sound! Too loud and the conversation suffers.

Here’s our favorite BLUETOOTH SPEAKER. The sound is amazing! It’s so portable, Bluetooth, waterproof, dustproof, and more!!! We take it everywhere and use it for any gathering!

HAVE A LAID BACK SUMMER ATTITUDE!

PRETTY STACK OF RED, WHITE AND BLUE DISHES ON A SUMMER TABLE

Most importantly, have an attitude like summer itself! Laidback and fun! You will have a better time when you are relaxed and enjoying yourself! And it will rub off on your guests!!!

ADD YOUR TWO CENTS

Do you have a tip for summer tablescapes? We would love to hear from you. Leave your fun suggestion or amazing expertise in the comments below!

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14 Comments

  1. Please share your sources for the beautiful white dishes with raised decor edges. They are shown in the Set an Easy Table section and other areas of this post. Thanks you so much!

  2. Yvonne, After a long year plus we finally are able to entertain again.I have had three luncheons this past few weeks and it has been so great to socialize with family and friends again. Wasnt sure I remembered how but followed your rules and kept it simple with a pretty table setting,good food and lots of good conversation. Next week my daughter and some of the grandchildren will be here and we will do an outside picnic with a hot dog bar with all the fixings,watermelon, homemade lemonade and ice cream cones for dessert., Since it will be on flag day a patriotic theme will work just fine. Thanks as always for all your inspiration and great ideas

  3. I also set up a bar outside for easy refills. A big tub of ice holds soft drinks & assorted beers. White wine in a terracotta cooler and red sitting in the shade. A bar cart or even tea trolley is perfect for this. It saves multiple trips inside and folks can help themselves.

  4. Hello! I am new to your site and the thing that caught my attention was your faith writings. I am 81 years old and a widow for many years. I have lost my husband many years ago and a lot of my extended family and also my son. i have two daughters – one lives with me and one lives nearby. Your decorating style is just beautiful. I still enjoy finding some of my things from years past that hold memories and using them. I am very involved in my church and spend a lot of time with bible study and helping the church. I put a small table and some chairs in front of my garage, and sit out there at some point during the day. Before I know it i Have visited with several neighbors! I am tthe halfway point on their walks. It is a great life and your decorating and entertaining are so enjoyable. Thank you!

  5. Just wondering why you use so many plates in a tablescape? I can’t imagine having that many courses!

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