December 11, 2023

3 Tips for Setting the Perfect Summer Table


This article originally appeared on Schoolhouse, a Portland-based company in the Food52 family of brands.

There’s something inherently exciting about hosting friends. And now that warmer weather is finally here, we’re celebrating by sharing our tried-and-true tips for the season of entertaining ahead. Whether you’re hosting a backyard brunch or an at-home happy hour, we’re here to help. Below, we’ve rounded up our top three tips for setting the perfect summer table.

Setting a table with patterned napkins and tablecloths can be a great way to add a pop of color and texture to your dining table. Use bright and cheerful tableware, like plates or linens, to add a playful vibe to your table.

While mixing and matching patterns can be a creative way to add visual interest, it can also be a bit tricky to get just right. We’ve had the most success when we select a color palette to work within—choose two to three main colors that will tie everything together. From there, aim to pair patterns of different scale to create contrast and depth or if you’re feeling particularly bold, choose patterns with a similar style. For example, mix different floral, plaid, or geometric patterns together.

Offering your guests different drinkware options can be a fun and interactive way to let them choose their own adventure and personalize their experience. Offer a variety of beverage options, such as wine, beer, cocktails, and mocktails; if you’re feeling extra adventurous, setup a DIY bar station where guests can mix their own drinks. If you go this route, make sure to provide plenty of ice and garnishes (citrus slices, berries, and herbs) so that your guests can customize drinks to their liking.

Well-designed serving dishes and bowls can help elevate the visual appeal of your food and create a more inviting and welcoming interior atmosphere. It also means that you are investing in pieces that will last for years. High-quality materials like porcelain, ceramic, and glass are resistant to scratching, chipping, and will serve you well in the long run.

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