Nothing says “summer” quite like a cookout. Naturally summertime is a more casual entertaining season compared to our Christmastime counterpart, but that’s not to say you have to sacrifice style when it comes to setting the perfect cookout table. Here are some inspirational ideas to help you create an impressive outdoor tablescape.
Peruse your linen closet or seasonal decor stash for unconventional table “linens.” Rather than roll out your classic picnic tablecloth, opt to cover your cookout table with beach towels. This inspiration is especially great if setting a kids’ table; for an added fun-factor, use towels adorned with their favorite themes or characters. If you entertain in celebration of a summer holiday, it’s easy and inexpensive to create a patriotic tablescape. For example, leave your table runner tucked away indoors and instead use something more fitting for the occasion such as red, white and blue bunting and swap out your paper napkins for bandanas.
When dining outdoors we often autopilot to using plasticware and paper goods. While this is a family-friendly and easy cleanup option, next time you hostess consider putting your kitchen’s glassware and china to work. Doing so helps to dress up the more casual pieces such as folding tables and chairs, picnic benches and vinyl tablecloths. If you’re not entirely keen on bringing the “good stuff” outdoors, scoop up some sturdy, reusable plasticware that resembles fine china or opt for patterned paper plates and napkins. To complete setting the perfect cookout table, aim to color coordinate your place settings with other tabletop items such as table linens and centerpieces.
Centerpieces and accents
Top off your cookout table with a homemade centerpiece or repurpose some of your indoor and outdoor accessories. Use unique containers easily found around your home as flower vases, such as empty wine bottles or tin cans. Condiment jars and seasoning canisters also make for excellent and theme appropriate options. Scoop up some loose stems for your local grocery store, or snip a few from your garden, and voila! Hosting a pool party? Play with the idea of sand pails and shovels instead of a traditional floral centerpiece. Last but not least, accentuate your tablescape with some lights, candles or lanterns. Fill the “holes” on your dining table with votives or small lanterns or strew battery-operated Christmas light strands down the center of your table to enhance that post-sunset ambiance. Incorporating this last layer of tabletop decor will be the icing to the perfect cookout table cake.
Before you welcome guests over for your next summer soiree, take an inventory of items around your home that can double dip as potential table decor or scour the seasonal section at your local discount retailer. Setting the perfect cookout table can add a festive flair and elevate your guests’ experience. For additional outdoor entertaining inspiration, visit our board on Pinterest.