Summer table decor ideas – 10 beautiful ways to dine in style

Celebrate summer with summer table decor ideas – these are perfect for parties and special occasions indoors or al fresco

Summer table decor ideas
(Image credit: Future)

Whether you are planning a friends and family get-together in the near future, or a special occasion deeper into the summer, you'll no doubt be serving some good food. And the best way to make the celebration swing? To ensure your summer table decor ideas are simply beautiful. 

Below, we have gathered our favorite tablescapes, inspired by the best summer decor ideas, the prettiest garden party ideas, and the latest interior design trends we love. 

'This summer, all the stylish summer table decor ideas will be a bounty of color, pattern and, of course, blooms,' says Homes & Gardens' Editor in Chief Lucy Searle. 'It's a match made in heaven.'

So, if you are looking for outdoor dining ideas that focus on the table setting alone, search no further...

Summer table decor ideas

Composing the perfect combination of summer table decor ideas isn't that different to the tablescaping tricks we employ year-round and during festive occasions to make guests feel welcome and to create a focal point for celebrations: rely on beautiful china, an eye-catching centerpiece, colorful table linen, and pretty name cards. 

1. Choose charming chintz for traditional appeal

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(Image credit: Birdie Fortescue)

Take your indoor style out into the garden for a gorgeously inviting lunch. Pretty in pink, these delightful colorful armchairs by Birdie Fortescue (opens in new tab) invite you to linger comfortably over a long, lazy lunch on a sunny day. Green accents complement the garden setting while a decorative, frilled floral tablecloth, also by Birdie, adds a feminine touch.

2. Add a personal touch

pretty decorative place setting with layers of colourful pattern

(Image credit: Emma Lee / Twig Hutchinson)

When it comes to laying the table for a gathering with friends, including a bespoke element can make all the difference. Here, patterned layers in a pretty palette are elevated with the addition of hand-drawn name-cards from Scribble & Daub (opens in new tab).

3. Go for laid-back luxury

summery garden table dressed for lunch with pink linen tablecloth

(Image credit: Emma Lee)

Combine contemporary furniture, such as these chairs from Fermob (opens in new tab), with washed linen tablecloth and napkins to create a relaxed but chic setting. These pastel linens are from Rowen & Wren (opens in new tab). Small posies of flowers in stoneware ceramic vases stay true to the casual mood. 

4. Use an eye-catching statement pattern

Cabana image Do not use

(Image credit: Guido Taroni / Cabanamagazine.com)

Bold really can be beautiful, as shown by this vibrant setting featuring a collection of tableware from Cabana (opens in new tab). Here, the pop of yellow in the midst of reds and greens offers a lovely surprise. This level of drama means you don’t need to go big on flowers or other table decor.

5. Choose rustic simplicity surrounded by greenery

summer garden entertaining under a pergola with floral centrepiece

(Image credit: Mark Bolton)

If you're looking for outdoor birthday party ideas, this couldn't be simpler. And there is little more delightful than lunch on a warm summer's day beneath the dappled shade of a pergola covered with vines. And here understated everyday tableware is brought to life and given a celebratory feel with the simple decorative addition of colorful fresh roses placed down the centre of the table. 

6. Get the feels for a French fancy

bespoke handpainted tablecloth in chocolate brown with pink accessories for summer entertaining tabletop

(Image credit: Emma Lee / Twig Hutchinson)

There is something wonderfully original about this combination. Taking inspiration from French restaurant La Colombe d’Or (opens in new tab), this tablescape sees a hand-painted paper tablecloth and name-cards by Chiara Perano (opens in new tab) mixed with pretty pink tumblers, bamboo napkins, and frilly napkins by Amuse La Bouche (opens in new tab) serve as the setting for some wonderful summer lunch recipes.

7. Choose simplicity with natural materials

summer tabletop place setting with relaxed tied linen napkin

(Image credit: Emma Lee / Ali Brown)

Sometimes the simplest of touches is all that it takes. For an effortlessly natural-feeling place setting, simply tie a linen napkin into a loose knot, add a piece of seasonal fruit or foliage picked from the garden and a handwritten namecard to indicate who sits where. A crisp white linen cloth ensures the table feels dressed and ready to go. 

8. Conjure up an elegant affair

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(Image credit: Summerill & Bishop)

Creating a summer flower arrangement is a must for a celebratory feel. Green and white table linen is the chicest of palettes for a summer lunch party in the garden. The delicately patterned linen tablecloth and napkins with delicate floral design, from Summerill & Bishop (opens in new tab), feel at home in the natural surroundings, whilst the white ceramics add a crisp, elegant edge. Candles ensure the gathering may comfortably stray past dusk.

9. Choose a patriotic combination

blue and white tablesetting with patterned cloth and colourful accessories

(Image credit: Jan Baldwin / Katrin Cargill)

If you're looking for a patriotic color scheme, perhaps July 4th decorations, this combination is a lovely twist on the norm.

A decorative mix of pattern on pattern in tonal shades sets the scene for a jovial feast. This striking zigzag Wickewood (opens in new tab) tablecloth works wonderfully with the Cabana wicker place mats and napkins. Another decorative note is introduced with the marbled plates from Designers Guild (opens in new tab).

10. Go for greenhouse chic

garden entertaining table laid for lunch with green accessories and fresh foliage centrepiece

(Image credit: Emma Lee / Ali Brown)

As a sustainable alternative to a floral centerpiece, consider a row of homegrown aromatic herbs and potted greenery running down the table. Small cuttings can be gifted to your guests as part of their place setting. Worn vintage zinc chairs complete the look.

How can I decorate my summer table?

The simplest way to decorate a summer table is with a pretty tablecloth, china that complements it and a pretty table centerpiece. The centerpiece itself doesn't need to be complicated: simple, small vases of flowers cut from your own borders can be enough to give the space the celebratory, summery feel you desire. If you are decorating a summer table for a late lunch, putting candles on the table, or to hand, will help you seamlessly move from lunch to late lounging.

Emma Thomas

Emma Thomas is the Style Editor at Homes & Gardens and Livingetc magazines, looking after the decorating features. Before joining Homes & Gardens in 2014, Emma worked for over 25 years mainly as a freelance interior stylist and art director producing photo shoots for many editorial titles and commercial clients, including Elle Decoration, Livingetc (she worked on the launch issue back in 1998!), Habitat and The White Company, to name but a few. As well as overseeing and art directing the original photography we produce, Emma also leads on many of the decorating and design ideas and features you see in print and online.