Set a Perfectly Pretty Outdoor Table

Al fresco entertaining is more popular than ever, so it’s time to give your outdoor dining “room” the same attention as its indoor counterpart. Here are some of my favorite tips for creating a relaxed, elegant table in the fresh air of your own backyard.


Be Bright

Most outdoor furniture is made of wood. There’s nothing wrong with wood outside, of course, but it’s pretty plain and can look drab after a few seasons. Give an old dining set new life by painting it a bright color. Who says picnic tables have to be red? Paint it bright pink. Or leafy green. Or sky blue. Be sure to buy weather-resistant paint and sealer so it lasts. Can’t commit? Try bright accent pillows on each chair, a pretty tablecloth from inside or an outdoor rug.

Pop with Pattern

Pattern is a fun way to give your table personality. I love melamine plates for outdoor entertaining. They’re lightweight, break-resistant and available in lots of great designs like bold ikats, classic stripes or feminine florals. Choose one or try mixing two complementary patterns – the trick is to choose two patterns with one color in common. Or pick up patterned cloth napkins and mix them in with your existing solids for a refresh.

Go Au Natural

Potted plants, flowers and herbs are a lovely and economical way to decorate the table. Wrap plastic pots from your local garden store in pretty fabric and secure with a rubber band or a decorative ribbon. Reuse them at your next get together (change the fabric!) or give to guests to take home. Inexpensive little bud vases filled with wildflowers and herbs are also a nice favor and look pretty on the table. Polished or painted stones keep linens from flying away while adding an elegant touch.

Focus on Flatware

Plastic utensils might be easier to throw out but they’re not exactly chic. (Or great for the environment). Keep a set of outdoor silverware. It’s so easy and inexpensive to find at flea markets. Store a mismatched set in your outdoor drawer and add to it when you find great pieces here and there. Before you know it, you’ll have a one-of-a-kind set!

Shine On

Good lighting on the table gives your party a relaxed vibe and will make guests linger longer in the space. Place TIKI Brand Clean Burn™ Tabletop Firepieces on the table and fill them with Clean Burn Torch Fuel for a warm glow without the smoky mess. When you’re not hindered by soot and smoke, you can lean in more and connect with others around the table. Group a few together on a repurposed decorative mirror and use as a centerpiece (or on a food buffet). Adding metallic touches to the table with serving trays and napkin rings will also help to amplify the warm glow.


Power Down

No one likes to be sitting at a dinner party when half of the guests are staring at their phones instead of engaging in the conversation. Keep a small tray or basket on your table where guests can leave their cell phone if they’d like. You’ll be surprised at the conversations that arise when everyone is truly unplugged.

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