As the warm weather arrives, so will the chance to entertain the outdoors – a particularly attractive prospect this year, as the epidemic pulls in but it feels like we have been isolated for a long time.
Whether it’s in the garden, on the deck, or on the small balcony, your dinner party should be remembered by guests. This means thinking beyond the basics and creating a thoughtfully appointed dining space like any indoor dining room.
“When friends come, you want to make them feel special and welcome,” said Cynthia Jamaria, a Toronto-based home and garden stylist and author of “House + Flower.” “One way to do that is to create a beautiful table for them. You can still work on a potato salad, but the table is set and it’s beautiful.
With Mother Nature on your side, you will also be able to create a better space than any other indoor room. “Sometimes, the outdoor room is the most beautiful dining room in the world,” said New York-based event designer David Stark.
We will talk about how to create a decent outdoor dining space for the upcoming summer. We have consulted Zamaria, Mr. Stark and other designers.
Select a location
If you have a relatively large terrace or courtyard, you don’t have to have lunch and dinner together at the same table that you use for day-to-day meals. Consider moving the table to another attractive spot – under a tree canopy, next to flowers in the garden, or next to a pool or water feature.
“Especially after the last two years, people are really looking for the experience,” said New York-based interior designer Becky Shea, who designed a banquet under the willow tree and another on the hill at her home in Catskill. Mountains. “By changing the setting, people can immerse themselves in different environments.”
“It depends on what is blooming and what looks good – then the table goes there,” he said. “We’ve been rolling through the park all summer.”
It is not necessary to have a proper dining table with chairs. If you stick to finger foods, you can use lounge furniture, said Chauncey Boothby, a Rowett, Conn., Interior designer.
Or you can spread the blankets and picnic anywhere, Mr Stark said: “It’s a romantic ideal and perfect on the lawn, under the tree or on the beach.”
“It’s a twist when you’re not using disposable tableware, but using a proper china and glassware to bring a certain elegance to it,” he added.
Consider a concept
You don’t need a theme for dinner, but it can help – perhaps a simple color palette, some kind of flowers or vegetables, or something as simple as celebrating a significant date.
“I start by asking what’s the reason for the entertainment,” said Kim Sebert, a tableware designer in New York. “Is it the Fourth of July, Labor Day, Birthday or something else?”
For the Fourth of July celebration, Mrs. Seibert said she could use a red, white and blue palette, but at a birthday party she aims to reflect a guest of honor interests. “A friend of mine is involved in the Museum of Natural History, where he has a butterfly section, so we made a butterfly theme,” he said. For another party, they designed a table around bird-inspired elements.
Mr. Stark has designed outdoor events focused on lawn games such as badminton and croquet, as well as parties celebrating the season, where he set the table to reclaim the market stand, mixing bell peppers with floral arrangements. Tomatoes in paint sized baskets. “We tend to favor fresh produce, farmers markets and roadside farm stands for the season,” he said. “There are all kinds of visual pleasures that come from it.”
Set the table
Because outdoor dining is more casual than indoor dining, setting the table is an opportunity to have some fun. Place a tablecloth, runner or mats for a fresh, clean surface and build from there.
“It is essential to have a good foundation through textiles,” Mrs Shea said. “Belgian linen is a tried-and-true summer dress with cotton and canvas.”
If she prefers simple tablecloths and napkins over textured solids and stripes, Other designers, such as Boothby and Mr. Divine, use pattern designs for imaginative touches.
Whatever you choose, it doesn’t have to be expensive. “You can just go to the fabric store and buy a nice piece of fabric – be it a seersucker, a flour bag or linen – and you can cut it and get a beautiful fray at the ends,” Ms. Said Zamaria. Inexpensive tea towels are purchased in bulk as fabric napkins.
For dinnerware, flatware and glassware, you may want to go with matching sets, using extra colors and patterns or rustic textures. But some of the designers we interviewed suggested using mismatched materials.
“The collected table is a more interesting table,” said Mrs. Zamaria. “That’s why I like to use mismatched vintage china, my fine stainless silver, etched crystal tumblers and cobalt together furniture. It looks effortless, yet it is too tall.
Insert the center
Finish the table with a decorative center. In the summer, it should be easy: flowers, branches and tall grasses cut from a garden or forest, or purchased from a florist or deli, can create tabletop magic.
The natural tendency is to fill your cuttings in tall vases placed in the center of the table, which works well on the round table. But it is better to go long and short instead. When you set up a rectangular table, try to use a series of small vases placed across the table.
“I usually like to make bud vases – small ones, across the table,” Mrs. Sebert said, “so it doesn’t hinder anyone’s appearance.”
Unlike mismatched dinnerware, small vases do not have to be the same. Try mixing different sizes and heights to create an animated show; If you choose pieces that share a common color or material, they all work together.
If this is an evening event, candles or portable lanterns should be spread throughout the table. Traditional tapered candles may look dramatic, but they are tippy and easily extinguished. If children are involved, or on a windy evening, Votive Candles may be a good choice, as Ms. Preferred to prefer heavier, stemless drinking glasses. Zamaria said: They tend to keep up.
Add something unexpected
A beautiful tablescape invites guests to dine, but what do they find once they sit down?
“I definitely love those who start a conversation,” Ms. Sebert said, adding that it’s usually something unexpected or strange. She sets tables with carved figurines and napkin rings that resemble exotic birds, as well as stripes and polka-dot taper candles found on Etsy.
Ms. Zamaria has redesigned garden shells and chillers and used tree trunks as rustic feces.
Mr. Stark, Jane Shulock’s forthcoming book, “At the Artisan’s Table,” focuses on crafts for the table, sometimes offering a little trompe l’oeil. He has set tables with paper floral arrangements (in collaboration with artist Cory Beth Hogg) and has created space cards that resemble three-dimensional tomatoes.
But your table setting does not have to be as elaborate: a sculptural vase, deliberately unfinished plates and glasses, or a typical pitcher or platter is enough for most people to talk about. After all, guests are there to socialize and enjoy.
Once your outdoor space is ready, don’t forget one of the most important things: hosts should enjoy themselves too.
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