These summer tablescaping tips are my top 3 for creating an inviting space, indoors or out

Curating a pretty but relaxed space that fits into its surroundings is vital for successful summer tablescaping

Summer tablescaping ideas in three rooms
(Image credit: Birdie Fortescue)

With summer well and truly here, we are thrilled to be dining al fresco and to be hosting friends and family outdoors. 

Summer is the perfect time to experiment and have fun with tablescaping, whether you’re looking to ‘dress up’ your table for a dinner party, or are simply looking for small summer table decor ideas to elevate your everyday dining experience. 

Here are a few of my entertaining garden ideas and summer tablescaping tips.

1. Style your table to complement the space

Dining table with blue and red colour scheme and rattan chairs

(Image credit: Birdie Fortescue)

I always like to dress a dining table to sit in harmony with its surroundings, whether this be in a dining room or outdoor dining space

With our gardens in full bloom, my top tip would be to use your natural surroundings as inspiration for your summer tablescape, using natural materials, flowers and foliage as much as possible. 

dining table with green geometric tablecloth and pink flower bouquet

(Image credit: Birdie Fortescue)

Opt for single stems in small bud vases along the center of a table or larger, more abundant arrangements as a statement centerpiece – I love to use hydrangeas mixed with lots of textured foliage from my garden. 

Natural materials such as jute, rattan and bamboo are hardwearing and perfect for everyday outdoor dining – they will also add textural interest and give your tablescape a stunning rustic finish. Incorporating these natural elements will bring the outdoors in if you are dining inside, and enhance your experience if you are dining al fresco

2. Curate an uncurated look

Wooden table with green wicker chairs

(Image credit: Birdie Fortescue)

My favorite summer decor ideas are those which mix and match styles and prints for an overall eclectic and laid-back look. 

I love to layer pattern and texture in my tablelinens and use stacks of mismatched ceramics and glassware, always using color as a visual thread for overall balance and harmony. As a general rule, stick to one or two core colors and introduce a third accent color occasionally. 

white dinner plates with green leaf design and matching serviette

(Image credit: Birdie Fortescue)

To soften a pattern-heavy scheme, opt for textured placemats and napkin rings – jute and rattan work particularly well and are ideal for al fresco dining. If you prefer a more pared-back approach to summer tablescaping, style your tableware on a bare wooden table and use candlesticks and small vases of green foliage to bring the scheme to life. 

Make sure that your table is a reflection of your style and an extension of your home – use pieces that are special to you and don’t worry too much about things looking overly coordinated.

3. Use candlelight

candle lit dining table with rattan chairs

(Image credit: Birdie Fortescue)

There is nothing more inviting and special than a candlelit dinner with friends and family, particularly on a summer evening in the garden. I always like to complete a dining table with candlesticks of varying heights and colors, interspersed with vases of flowers. For something more understated, opt for a hurricane lamp in the center of your table. The warm glow from the candles will create a wonderful atmosphere and make your dinner guests feel relaxed and at home. 

Green and bamboo rattan garden table setting

(Image credit: Birdie Fortescue)
Birdie Fortescue
Contributing Editor

Birdie’s creative journey started when she worked at Percy Bass, an interiors shop and design service on Walton Street.  Birdie then went on to join Imogen Taylor’s team at Sibyl Colefax & John Fowler’s old premises in Mayfair. Many buying trips later and with a decorative antiques course from the V&A Museum under her belt, Birdie decided to set up her own antiques business. Establishing the business in Norfolk in 2014, Birdie initially focused on sourcing homeware from Scandinavia, pieces that weren’t easily found in the UK, before creating her own designs. Birdie writes for Homes & Gardens about interior design.