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Image / Living / Interiors / Food & Drink

The step-by-step guide to laying a chic summer tablescape


By Holly O'Neill
07th May 2021

Read time: 3 minutes

The step-by-step guide to laying a chic summer tablescape

Tara O'Connor, founder of The Designed Table, on how to lay the ultimate tablescape for hosting at-home this summer.

A tablescape is meant to elevate an entertaining experience. It is a way to show your guests that you care about them and that the meal is special. This does not have to be something that you spend a lot of money on or even any money at all! Some of the prettiest tablescapes I have ever seen have included flowers picked from the garden and everyday dishes. Your homeware will show your style so make sure to impress with your table setting and add an element of theatre to your entertaining this summer.

The first step is to find your inspiration! This can be something around you, a season, the food you are serving or a colour you love. You do not need to go out and buy new things every time you entertain.

First, add your tablecloth, this creates a great foundation and base for your table. If tablecloths are not for you add a runner down the centre. Make sure you iron it smooth, so you have no creases.

I normally decide on flowers first and match them to the tablescape. We are coming into peony season so May is the perfect time for a pretty tablescape. As we return to entertaining at home albeit in limited numbers tablescaping will be returning to a table near you this summer. Your flowers will create your centrepiece as they normally run down the centre of your table.

Always test each seat to make sure you can see your guests and place larger candelabras at the end of the table. We love adding flowers and candles to our tablescape to create a memorable setting for our summer get-togethers.

Keep your table minimalist and do not overcrowd with statues of monkey’s, plants, tall candelabras, or layers of plates you need to remove to serve food. Make sure you can see your guests sitting the other side of the table.

Add depth to your table with placemats. Our jute placemats add a great layer and then we pop a charger or starter plate on top. Wrap a napkin in a napkin ring or tie with a piece of ribbon for the perfect finishing touch to your setting. To create visual interest and add some extra vibrancy and colour, add a side plate that is a different, contrasting print.

Next move on to cutlery and glasses. Zara Tea lights are great for summer entertaining as they work well outside (you never know what the Irish weather will throw at you!). If you are having an evening dinner lighting is key so candlelight really adds atmosphere to your table or solar or led lights if you are dining outside. I love to finish off my tablescape by adding a sprig of rosemary or eucalyptus to each setting.

The Designed Table – a new Irish table linen brand – has teamed up with IMAGE.ie to offer one lucky subscriber a summer tablescape for their house or garden – enter here.

Photography by The Designed Table.