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7 Simple Ideas for the Perfect Outdoor Summer Dining Table

Create the perfect outdoor summer dining experience with our 7 simple and stylish tips. From choosing a theme to adding personal touches, transform your table into a summer oasis with fresh hydrangeas, cozy seating, ambient lighting, and more.

When I was growing up I loved when my family would eat dinner outside during the summer.

Setting the table on our patio and enjoying our meal together outdoors felt so special.

I still enjoy dining outside and creating a beautiful table for friends and family makes the experience even more special.

However, I do like to keep my get-togethers simple and affordable.

If you’re reading this blog post then I bet you love to entertain too.

  • You’re looking for easy entertaining ideas.
  • You need budget-friendly table decor tips.
  • You want your guests to feel special.

Don’t worry…I’ve got you covered with simple ideas to create a perfect outdoor dining table setup.

Tricks that will save you money.

And practical tips that anyone can do.

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Welcome to Our Virtual Dinner Party

You may be asking yourself what a virtual dinner or supper club actually is.

Back in 2021, we started this club with our friends Rachel, Jen, and Michele where we share ideas and inspiration for entertaining at home.

Since we live in different parts of the country (Texas, Nebraska, and North Carolina), we can’t get together in person.

Our virtual supper club is the next best thing to being together. One day we hope to be able to do this together in person!

We choose different themes and share beautiful tablescapes, party decor, entertaining ideas, and recipes on our blogs.

And even though we call ourselves a dinner club, we’ve shared ideas for breakfasts, brunches, luncheons, and cocktail parties too.

This month we’re thrilled to welcome back Wendy from WM Design House as our guest host.

Wendy lives in California and shares her love of decorating, gardening, cooking, and crafting on her blog. You have to go check out all the inspiration she creates from her “She Shed”

This month our virtual supper club’s theme is Smoke It which is perfect for summertime!

We’ll be sharing beautiful tablescapes, party ideas, and a delicious Smoke It menu.

And just wait until you see all of our friend’s gorgeous tables at the end of this post!

Check out all of our virtual dinner club tablescapes and menus!

Some of the items used in this post include affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases at no added cost to you. You can read our full affiliate disclosure policy here.

Why Should You Create an Outdoor Dining Table

patio with pergola and string lights with dining table underneath firepit with chairs to far side of outdoor area

There are many reasons to style a tablescape outdoors including hosting a party, casual get-together with friends, or even just dinner with your family.

Did you know that spending time outside can boost your mood and reduce stress?

Here are a few more reasons why you need to create an outdoor tablescape this summer:

  • More space outside to host larger groups
  • Relaxing atmosphere for your guests
  • Connect with nature
  • Family bonding time
  • Enjoy the summer season
  • Casual setting for friends
  • Cooking or grilling outside keeps your kitchen cool

What Creative Themes Can Transform Your Outdoor Dining Table

outdoor dining table set for entertaining with hydrangeas as centerpiece

Choosing a cohesive theme for your dinner party ties everything together.

But don’t overcomplicate it.

You can keep the theme simple and just go with a decor style such as rustic, boho, or coastal.

Or you can choose a color scheme and use that as your theme.

Whatever you decide for your theme try to use items you already own to style your table.

I like to use what I have rather than have the added expense of decorations when hosting a get-together.

Having an entertaining capsule (similar to a wardrobe capsule) helps me entertain without spending a fortune. Click here to see what I include in my entertaining capsule.

For my table, I used a neutral color scheme for the place settings with a pop of color with the floral centerpiece.

I’m all about simple and casual so I used my outdoor teak table and chair set and styled it in an easy breezy summer style.

What Seasonal Flowers Work Best for a Summer Centerpiece

AnnMarie holding mason jar filled with cut hydrangea blooms in front of styled table

Any flowers cut from your garden or yard are the best seasonal flowers for your table centerpiece.

Why? Because they’re free!

I love hydrangea because they will rebloom after cutting if they’re the Endless Summer variety.

Hydrangea are saturated with color. I just love the rich blue!

And the big beautiful blooms are so large you don’t need as many to create a stunning display.

Inexpensive large mason jars are a casual and affordable way to display summer flowers.

Other seasonal flowers to use for a summer centerpiece:

  • Sunflower
  • Daisy
  • Zinnia
  • Dalihla
  • Hibiscus
  • Rose
  • Lavender
  • Peonies

What is the Best Way to Layer Linens for a Beautiful Outdoor Table?

neutral place setting on wood outdoor table with greenery beyond space

Layering tablecloths, runners, and placemats add depth and texture to your outdoor dining table.

Try using a placemat and charge in different textures for interest like this seagrass placemat and wood charger.

Of course, your guests probably don’t need two napkins but together they add depth to the place settings.

A simple beige fringed napkin paired with a striped cotton napkin works well together.

Table linens in cotton or linen fabric are best for summer entertaining.

What Tableware Transforms Outdoor Dining Experience

overhead view of place setting on table with layers of linens

When dining outdoors you may be tempted to reach for disposable tableware to avoid accidents.

And that may be best when hosting a larger group, however, I recommend using regular dishes rather than paper or plastic.

Using traditional indoor tableware outside gives your guests a special surprise as it’s unexpected.

I also advise using neutral-colored plates to allow the food served to be the star of the place setting.

Gold flatware brings a bit of bling and chic style to your table.

What Unique Items Make Your Tablescape Special

handmade wood bead napkin ring with linen cloth napkin on plate

Add personal touches to your dining table that your guests will appreciate.

DIY place cards are a nice addition to each place setting if you’d like to assign seats for your guests.

Handmade napkin rings are another option to bring some of your personality to your tablescape.

These beaded three-loop napkin rings are super easy and affordable to make. Click here for the tutorial.

Simple DIY jute napkin rings are also a fun idea for summer place settings. Check out this article for instructions.

What Seating Tips Can Make Your Dining Area Cozy

beige throw pillow on wood outdoor chair with arms

Provide comfortable seating so your guests want to stay and linger after the meal.

Outdoor teak wood chairs with arms give people a sturdy seat for an evening of fun.

Add throw pillows to the wood chairs to make them even cozier.

These pillow covers are removable so they can be easily washed after your dinner party.

What Lighting Ideas Set the Perfect Mood for Your Summer Table?

votive candle inside small mason jar with gold ring at top on outdoor table

All tablescapes need ambient lighting and what better way to provide it than with candles?

There are many different ways to incorporate candlelight into your outdoor summer table.

Here are a few candle ideas:

  • Lanterns for a rustic vibe
  • Taper candles in candlestick holders for a classic style
  • Jar candles for a casual and cozy mood
  • Votives and tealights are small and versatile to scatter around a table
  • Floating candles are a fun way to light up your space
  • Pillar candles in varying heights add interest

Candles provide a cozy atmosphere for your dining experience.

I added glass-filled votives in small mason jars and placed them around the table for sparkle and mood lighting.

string lights hung on black metal pergola with dining table underneath outside on patio

String lights are another way to give your outdoor dining space ambiance.

A combination of large and small globe lights from AQ Lighting on a black metal pergola is a beautiful backdrop for a summer dinner party.

Click here to see how I hung these string lights.

Additional ideas for string lighting:

  • Hang lights on outdoor structures like gazebos or pergolas
  • String lights from trees in your yard
  • Install posts to string lights from
  • Put lights around a fence or deck railing
  • Hang across patio or deck ceilings
  • Garden structures like arbors and arched look great with lighting

How to Set an Outdoor Summer Dining Table

outdoor table set for six with neutral tableware and cut hydrangeas as centerpiece

If you use our easy and affordable ideas you’ll have everything you need to set up an amazing table for your next party or get-together.

Here is a recap of the 7 steps to create your perfect summer outdoor tablescape:

  1. Choose a theme
  2. Use seasonal flowers
  3. Layer table linens
  4. Select stylish tableware
  5. Add personal touches
  6. Provide comfortable seating
  7. Add ambient lighting

What Questions Do You Have about Creating a Summer Outdoor Dining Table?

Now, we want to hear from you: what are you wondering about?

Leave a comment below.

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wood table under pergola with string lights on patio with greenery surrounding space

Sources: metal pergola | teak table and chair set | linen pillow cover | string lights | seagrass placemat | wood charger | white tableware | gold flatware | striped napkins | fringed linen napkins | large mason jars | small mason jars | votive candles

More Simply2Moms’ Tablescape Ideas:

Check out all of our virtual dinner club tablescapes and menus!

More Summer Smoke It Tablescape Ideas from Our Friends

Be sure to click each of the blog names below the photos to get even more inspiration for your summer table.

If you have any questions or suggestions, contact me or leave a comment!

Pin it to Remember it:

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