3 ways to lay a summer table
Summer’s on its way and with it comes the chance to reschedule parties, catch up on lost time with loved ones and enjoy everything the British season has to offer.
It’s no surprise, after a year of lockdown, that people are planning on pulling out all the stops with entertaining this summer; planning fantastic spreads, show-stopping cocktails and garden transformations.
Laying a picture-perfect table is a key part of a special tea, dinner or big party. Tablescaping can set the scene, put people at ease and help them enter into the party spirit.
As ever, we’re here to help, with everything you need to lay a summer table. Browse our summer collection here, or read on for ideas on how to lay a beautiful table for a ‘seaside’ afternoon tea, floral feast or Mediterranean soiree...
How to lay a table for a floral feast
Bring Chelsea Flower Show to your own house or garden with a floral-themed feast. Of course fresh cut flowers need to be the centrepiece here, so get that right first then work around it. Use our finest summer blooms such as sweet peas and roses as your starting point by arranging them into jars and vases of various heights. Sweet peas look their best cut short and gathered into simple glass jars such as these, while roses can be long stem, and placed into elegant vases which add height to your table but are dainty enough not to get in the way of your guests seeing each other across the table.
Again, a pristine white tablecloth will add sophistication while letting the flowers sing, and you can use any stretch of pretty fabric as a table runner. Or simply place a botanical leaves and flower garland across the middle of your table, weaving it around the vases, and adding string lights and little tea light candles along the way. Tall candlesticks look stunning in this set-up too, with tapered candles in contrast shades very popular this year. Neutrally-scented candles work best with fresh flowers in small settings, so there isn’t too much of a fragrance clash.
Our Truly Scumptious tableware range works from day to night, with its timeless floral illustrations in a rich colour palette. Mix and match your own white dinner plates with these floral plates as side dishes, pepping things up with these cute cocktail napkins, and a cut rose adorned with ribbon for each table setting. Finish by serving grazing plates topped with edible flowers (these platters are perfect) and delight all the senses in the process.
How to lay a table for a seaside-themed afternoon tea
Show your friends how much you’ve missed them by arranging a seaside-escape afternoon tea. Start things off with an immaculate white linen tablecloth (we sell both round and rectangular) and break it up with a fabric table runner in this charming hand-painted coastal design. Scalloped-edge napkins in cream will complement pristine blue reef paper plates, while each setting needs a tea cup, water glass and champagne flute (these acrylic champagne glasses in mint have a pleasing marine-like quality).
Now for the fun bit: scatter your table with seashells and little rattan fish, and dot about some short white floral stems in cheery Breton-stripe vases (jasmine or roses both smell divine). This scallop shell wreath can either be hung on your front door to greet guests, or works nicely laid flat around a hefty church candle as a table centrepiece. Pop place cards on pretty pieces of driftwood or tie them to napkins using earthy natural cord or pastel blue ribbon.
For extra lovely details, why not use these wooden party sticks with shells to serve salted olives or king prawns and this blue-dipped wooden cutlery to fit the theme? Just beachy!
How to lay a table for a Mediterranean soiree
In this set-up we swap florals for herbs and foliage, and pastels for citrus brights to create a holiday at home inspired by late dinners by the Med.
For instant atmosphere, lay down this terracotta and sky blue outdoor rug under the table then this boho chic table cover on top. Line up cork or woven place mats across the middle of your table for a neutral runner, then alternate silverware such as candlesticks, wine coasters and salad servers with pots of fresh basil and olive tree stems in mini vases. You can also use basil leaves and olive sprigs to decorate salad platters and cheese boards, to tie in the theme and make everything look and smell amazing. Use Amalfi lemons (leaves intact) to hold your place names and to add an extra pop of colour to the table.
It works to mix up silver dishes (these are reusable) with punchy party plates and combine any pretty glassware you have (in bright colours, ideally) with acrylic embossed wine glasses and this boho bright pitcher for water or cocktails.
As the light starts to fade, a solar lantern like this one will start to twinkle, casting a beautiful shadow across your table or decking, and setting the scene for card games or holiday memories. Now all we need is balmy weather!
For more Party Pieces summer inspo, read our tips for putting together the ultimate picnic and our guide to staycation in style