Almost as soon as the weather gets warm we want to start eating outside. At first, while there’s still a slight chill in the air, that might just mean taking our sandwich into the garden and sitting in the sunshine for a few moments before getting back to work. Or stealing away to soak up the golden evening light by the river with a thermos of tea and some dark chocolate. But as the temperatures rise we’ll be taking every opportunity to have proper meals outdoors. We’re already dreaming of lazy weekend family lunches, BBQ parties with friends and midsummer dinner parties by moon and candlelight. And, of course, there will be great food and pretty table linens to help celebrate the coming of summer.
Here are four easy ways to style your summer table:
Slow weekend breakfast for two
For a slow, romantic weekend breakfast for two choose table linens in soft, dusky pinks. We’ve paired our stonewashed Rosa tablecloth and napkins with vintage crockery and sleek silver cutlery to create a simple but charming table setting. Any flowers will work here, gathered loosely in a jar for an informal centrepiece, or you could use hydrangea heads in a similar pinky tone. Serve warm croissants, granola with berries and Greek yoghurt and some top quality coffee for the perfect start to your day.
Family lunch party
If you’re hosting a family lunch you want a table spread that can withstand a few spills and splatters, but that also feels special. Luckily linen washes brilliantly so it’s a great choice when you need something hardworking and not too precious. Subtle pastel tones, like this spring green, are lovely for this time of year, and look great alongside fresh whites. This mint green speaks of new growth, of seedlings pushing up through the soil and the gentle turning of the leaves. The contrast in colours adds interest and texture, and will hide any minor spillages. Using linen placemats is a clever way to further protect your tablecloth, and adds another layer of interest to your table layout.
Simple supper with friends
We’ve teamed two of our striped ranges here in a muted grey and a gorgeous blue that evokes sunny skies and tranquil seas. Add candles, something bubbly to drink and a large dish of delicious food to share. We’ve been cooking lots of wonderful dishes from this cookbook recently, and it has useful ideas for easy meals that you cook in one roasting tin. This means less washing up, and you can stick the food in the oven and then spend time with your friends while it cooks, rather than having to dash in and out of the kitchen all the time.
Formal dinner party
If you’re hosting a more formal dinner party this table setting looks lovely. White is always classy and linen gives things a softer, more relaxed vibe than crisp cottons. Using linen napkins in the same tone or colour brings a feeling of uniformity and pulled-togetherness. Matching plates and gleaming cutlery add style and sparkle. We’ve added some bold hydrangea heads for a splash of colour, but small vases of seasonal wildflowers or sprays of cow parsley would also work beautifully.
All we need now is some sunshine and consistently warm days to coax everyone outdoors! What’s your favourite al fresco mealtime?