So, this week temperatures have been positively wintery. But last week we had a tantalising glimpse of summer: meals eaten outdoors whenever we could, slow afternoons after school sitting in parks until everyone got too hungry, long walks and lots of clean washing blowing dry in the sunny breeze. In the hope of conjuring up more sunshine and evoking the spirit of summer, here is some inspiration for a beautiful summer table setting.
We've set these tables outside, but the table linens and flowers would work just as well indoors. The key to a summer table is to keep the colour palette light and fresh, and to bring flowers and greenery in where you can. We love to snatch handfuls of cow parsley from hedges and the wild bits of the garden, and forage for lilac and early-flowering blooms that give a casual, wild beauty to the table. A simple posy of fresh flowers can brighten up pretty much any dull day, and will bring a splash of summer to your mealtimes.
Natural and simple
For this simple, pretty table setting we used our stonewashed linen tablecloth and linen napkins in Natural. Using two napkins like this, one under the plate draping down and the other folded on the plate, adds depth and texture to a table setting. We used hydrangea heads to brighten up the table, and kept the cutlery and tableware plain and neutral. Perfect for a summer breakfast or lunch with friends and family al fresco.
Striped table linen
For a bit of colour but still keeping things muted and understated, our striped linen tablecloth makes a stunning backdrop for any meal. The top quality linen gives a lovely drape, adding a fluid, relaxed feel. We've used single-colour linen napkins as a contrast here, and added dainty sprigs of flowers for an elegant finish. Tea lights in simple jars are perfect for outdoors as they are sheltered from the wind, and the candlelight picks out the gold trim on the plates we've used. Small details like these create a polished yet unstuffy feel.
Our Rosa range is ideal for Spring and Summer with its gentle, dusky, floral shade. For this summer table setting we've kept things stylish by using just one colour, and added pink flowers to emphasise the tones in the table linen. Pink-trimmed tableware creates a lovely unified elegance, but you could use rustic stoneware in soft creams, greys or white, or even a complementary gold trim. This would be a gorgeous table setting for lunch with the girls, or for a special birthday celebration.
General tips for a summer table
Summer is all about slowing down when you can, spending time outside with friends and family. Keep the food simple and fresh: salads, bread, plates of prosciutto and cheese, tarts and bowls of fresh fruit are all perfect for sharing. Ask guests to bring a dish if you are pushed for time. For drinks make sure you've plenty of ice, and if you want an alcoholic drink try some of the delightful artisanal botanical gins and tonics that are on trend at the moment. Decent linen napkins are essential - not only are they ecologically friendly they are far nicer to look at than paper towels. Paying attention to the details like this will give your meal that effortless yet well thought-out feel. Outdoor seating can be less than luxurious, so you might want to invest in a few cushions to bring outside. Linen cushion covers are great for summer as they are soft to touch and wash brilliantly, meaning you don't need to worry about spills.