Tips for Creating a Casual Outdoor Summer Table

I absolutely love a good meal at a beautifully set table.  I love the way it makes you want to linger and savor every bite.  I love how the conversation continues well past the time that the plates are empty.  I love the connection with friends and family that is created when you share a home cooked meal.  

Our summer is all about time with friends and family on our ranch, so there is a lot of cooking in the kitchen together (and lots of dishes!)  We often have casual meals out on the porch and enjoy the warm summer evenings.

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Since I don't want to make a big production of setting the table, I have come up with some simple ways to make a table look inviting while still keeping it casual and easy.  This has become my "Signature Summer Table" and I wanted to share the elements I love with you all.

WILLOW PLACEMATS

I love these simple willow placemats.  They are perfect for any season, and make a big statement without being too fussy.  I love the way they add texture and a neutral color, but work with any color palette.

TABLE RUNNER

To add a pretty, patterned element, I often pair these placemats with a table runner.  In this case, I used a piece of vintage fabric I found at the flea market and sewed together to make a wide table cover.  This one looks a bit like a faded bandana, which is perfectly suited to a ranch meal on the porch.

WILDFLOWERS

Unlike the more formal tables I sometimes set, our casual summer table often has a mass of foraged wildflowers from the meadow.  Whatever is in season and blooming works for me.  I put these flowers in a vintage coffee pot and they make the perfect centerpiece for this outdoor table.

WHITE PLATES

You may already know that I am a fan of white plates.  I have several sets that I mix and match on all kinds of tables.  In this case I used a simple dinner plate with a dot pattern and a salad plate with a pretty dot and emblem pattern. I love they way these brighten the table and work with any color palette.

You can read more about MY FAVORITE WHITE PLATES by clicking HERE.

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GINGHAM NAPKINS

These gingham napkins are the perfect casual napkin for lunch or dinner. They add a whimsical element to the table and keep the overall style fun and easy.  I used a simple galvanized napkin ring to keep the look rustic and simple.

BIRCHWOOD CANDLE HOLDERS

The final element that I love on a casual table is these birchwood candle holders.  I think they add the perfect rustic element, especially for an outdoor, country table setting.  They hold small tealights that add ta beautiful glow as the sun sets.

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I will repeat this look throughout the summer.  I may change out  the napkins, table runner or flowers, but the overall style will stay the same.  Simple, casual and rustic...I hope this inspires you to create a signature summer table that you will be able to use again and again.

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Below are links to most of my favorite summer tabletop products.  I have sourced similar items if the exact product is no longer available. 

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The above sources are affiliate links.