School may be back in session but summer isn’t quite over yet – at least not when it comes to setting the table. As much as I look forward to the rich color palette and heavy textures that come with autumn, I am still very much in the summer mindset when setting the table. There’s a “come as you are” vibe to a summer dinner party, and that lends itself to the table setting, too. It takes form in light materials and textures (think: cotton linens and loads of rattan) along with a mash up of color and bold patterns. As for the dinner plates themselves, well, there’s no need to go casual there. Pull out the fine china. As I always say, why save it for a special occasion?
Below, a few of my favorite elements for setting a dreamy summer table.
Don’t save your fine china for special occasions only. Every meal is a special occasion, as far as I’m concerned. Pull out the good stuff! Herend’s “Chinese Bouquet” pattern is one of my all-time favorites. It comes in nearly every color under the sun and while I do truly love each and every one, I’m partial to the pink and the green. Tip: Mix up the colors for the dessert plates. Select four different colors and order three dessert plates in each one. It will make for such a happy and festive final touch.
There are a million choices these days when it comes to raffia placemats – and (almost) all of them are good! I stand by this set from Tory Burch as one of the very best. I bought these years ago and despite having gone through plenty of wear and tear (including a house move or two!), they still look like new. They always add just right texture to my table.
Glassware is an easy place to inject color to tabletop collection. Cocktails are meant to be festive, after all, and should be served accordingly. Opt for a colored glass you can use for happy hour, but that you can also work into a tablescape. (P.S. I never stick to the rules when it comes to glassware. I sometimes use water glasses for wine and cocktail glasses for the water. It’s all about the right mix.)
I think bamboo flatware is a must. It works with nearly any setting – formal or informal – and adds a textural element that is often a much-needed finishing touch. This particular set is the best bang-for-your-buck buy out there. You can snag a 20-piece set (service for four!) for under $50. I bought sets in bulk so I could have on hand for large dinner parties.