Written by Paisley Tedder

How to create a gorgeous summer table set up

Transform your garden into the perfect location for an outdoor soiree with these tableware ideas from interior experts.

Image: Bridgman

Interior designer Benji Lewis from Zoom That Room shares his tricks for designing the an inviting table scheme for your garden to take the pressure off you this summer. From having the perfect centrepiece to mixing styles in the right way, Benji will put your mind at ease.

Read on for everything you need to know to take your barbecues to the next level.

Make an effort

It may seem obvious, but if your guests can tell you’ve gone the extra mile for them it will make all the difference to their enjoyment of the occasion. While the outdoor setting isn’t always a preference, particularly when you’re huddled round a fire pit or underneath a gazebo to shelter from the unpredictable British weather, that doesn’t mean your guests won’t enjoy themselves. Benji explains: “Even if the backdrop has an unconventional feel, the fact that you dress your table sets a scene and shows that you care about the time your guests will spend with you.”

Image: Nisi Living

Order these stylish serving plates from Nisi Living

Mix up your styles

Playing it safe is popular, especially when the soiree is outside. This might make sense with regards to logistical coverings and the food itself, but take risks with your decor as this can transform the setting from plain and simple to friendly and fun. Benji shares: “Whilst a starched white tablecloth and matched napkins is undoubtedly terribly smart, choosing mismatched table linen and colourful tableware suggests a friendly and informal atmosphere. Adding coloured glasses and using antique pieces in the setting will look great, too – don’t be afraid to try something new.

Image: Walton & Co

Order this sorbet table runner from Walton & Co

Plants over flowers

A bouquet might be the centrepiece pick of choice, but Benji thinks potted plants are the way forward: “A combination of potted plants randomly positioned on a table is charming and understated.” Opt for plants which have a delicious scent as well as looking pretty, such as jasmine or geranium to give off a lemony smell. Lavender can be wonderfully summery, and lemons can offer a vibrant addition to the table, suggesting freshness whilst also being handy if you’re serving gin and tonic!

Read more: 7 stylish planting ideas

Don’t forget about the tabletop

Adding thoughtful accessories such as napkin rings, coasters, decanters and stylish cutlery demonstrate that you’ve gone the extra mile. It’s also a great opportunity to add more of your personal style into the table setup. Benji tells us: “Rather than just using standard ‘supermarket own’ cutlery, think about buying antique sets of flatware such as French 1920s, this gives it a more personal feel fit for an occasion.”

Image: Bonadea

Browse the full range of Bonadea table accessories

Raise the bar

If you’re lucky enough to have a purpose built bar for the occasion in your garden, make sure your presentation is on point. “Think ice buckets with tongs, lemons at the ready and a huge selection of glasses such as highballs, lowballs, champagne flutes and wine glasses, you want to be ready whatever your guests are after.” Benji explains.

Even if you’re not serving from your own bar, you can still make sure you have a selection of good quality glasses to hand. We recommend these xxxxxx

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