Table Settings: Summer Inspiration Series

vintage beach picnic

Today marks the end to our lovely Summer Table Setting series. And we bid adieu with another lovely table-less summer setting from Eren San Pedro of Vintage Chica. It's always a nice time for a beach picnic, especially one this pretty.

Special thanks to all of our creative contributors. This series is amazing beyond my wildest dreams for it! See more of Eren's setting and all the wonderful previously featured summer table setting tips and ideas after the jump.


summer beach picnic dinnerware
"In the summer, we often pick up and go to the beach on a whim, so our picnic basket stays packed with mismatched vintage melamine dishes (found at thrift stores or on eBay). If you think paper products are easier, there are many options for biodegradable paper products
these days.

"Vintage sheets in pretty pastels work perfectly as ground level tablecloths since the sand shakes off of them so easily. Our centerpieces quickly become found seashells and seaglass the boys collect from the surf. Our seaside tablescape is not complete without a few lanterns, lit as the sun sets -- allowing our crab-catching fun to continue well after dark."

Previously featured Summer Table Settings:

Tracy's Summer Tables: Two Stories

tabletop coffee paper

summer table setting outdoors candle

A shot of one's everyday tabletop can serve as a memory. A memory, during busier family times, that once you did indulge in a quiet cup of coffee all alone -- and a reminder that you will again. So in love with this peaceful summer table shot by Tracy Bartley of jumilla stories.

"My first tabletop is my summer mornings post-kid-drop-off at half-day summer camp. My cup of coffee and the empty berry bowl, both by Manitoba potters whose names I am afraid I don't have. "Wiebe" and "Deb" are the only clues. I tend to pick up pieces whenever I go home. The napkin is from Manitoba too. From Value Village in Winnipeg. It reminds me of my grandmother who was often seen stitching on gingham.

The second table setting is out in our backyard where most of our summer meals take place. The vintage tablecloth and the dishes were passed on to us by my mother-in-law. The dishes are Winfield Pottery. She began collecting them one piece at a time before she married. I love the fact that these dishes travelled from the Winfield factory in Santa Monica, California to Detroit where she lived and then back again when she moved her young family back to California in the 70s. The food cover is from IKEA, a few summers back. And the rocks from SoCal beaches. The vase and napkins are from our neighbourhood Goodwill.

tray green beans meal

tray food meal setting

The perfect summer table setting doesn't always have to include a table. See for yourself. It's a tray full of summer's splendor from Anna Micklin of the baker's daughter.

"Hands down, the best thing about summer eating is taking meals outside. For low-fuss dinners, I grab a tray and make an impromptu spread. Trays are the handiest outdoor dining tool; they cut down trips from the kitchen to the lawn and they supply a built-in tabletop, perfect to eat off of and to decorate.

"I find my trays second-hand or from local gift shops around Seattle. I prefer simple, versatile ones so I can dress them up with colorful napkins, flowers picked from my garden, and always summer drinks garnished with mint or fruit or whatever inspires me.

"At my home, we plop down on the front stoop and enjoy a long evening outside."


pie dishes

pie dishes

A special summer table setting just for fresh berry pie? Well, of course. Summer pies are something to celebrate, and Sarah Hannigan of cloth.paper.string (with her daughter on floral arranging) makes a lovely setting for enjoying every bite.

"Our summer table is about simplicity -- unless there is pie. Regardless of the type of fresh-picked berries baked inside, I always use this recipe for the pastry.

"For this table setting, I set vintage Jean Dubost flatware and Taylor Smith Taylor dessert plates. The pie is in an Emile Henry pie plate, and clover is collected in a crude hand-blown glass vase from a friend's first days blowing glass at Tesuque Glassworks in Santa Fe, New Mexico -- it's the perfect heft for a preschooler to independently arrange the clovers she picked from the backyard."



masked tea party

How delightful would it be to throw a Masked Tea Party, as shown in this pretty summer table from Merrilee Liddiard of mer mag. What fun!

"Whether indoors or outdoors, summer is always a great time for a tea party! And why not spice it up and make it a masquerade as well!? Just use some of your favorite patterned paper and ribbons to create masks and then gather together a mismatching of your favorite china. Mask statues for centerpieces and create your own tea labels from your paper selection. Now all you need are delectable, delicious goodies, your favorite tea, and friends, and a summer masquerade tea party you have!"


vintage tablecloth dinner table meal

dinner table

From the vintage Pyrex serving pieces to the homemade potholders, this summer table from Erin Harris of House on Hill Road represents a collection of much-loved things. Simple, beautiful, and nothing can make an family meal feel more precious.

"Many of the items we use on our table daily are bits we have collected over the years. I adore vintage linens and this Cath Kidson tablecloth, while new, has a great look and such soft colors. We have white dishes and I often choose green accents because it's my favorite color. The green glasses are actually recycled wine bottles from The Green Glass Company - double green! The vintage Pyrex bowls and containers are part of a larger collection. They are durable and good looking so we use them to hold veggies and sides at almost every meal. I made the potholders with fabric scraps and, more often than not, they do double duty as trivets for hot dishes.

Nothing on this table is precious or out of the ordinary, but they are special to me. Using them all together makes our everyday kitchen table dinners feel special and I love that."


plaid tablecloth table setting

plaid tablecloth table setting

plaid tablecloth table setting dishes napkins

This simple, homemade summer table setting from Sally Shim of SHIM + SONS makes me so happy. Nothing like some pink, pattern and peonies to bring a smile to my face.

"The bamboo plates, utensils + paper straws are from our local market. I made the tablecloth + napkins using fabric from my stash. Mason jars always come in handy as drinking glasses and vases."


table coffee maker espresso outdoors

flowers table setting

A table setting doesn't get any summery than this one by Mollie Greene of Fresh Milk Delivered Daily. Outdoors, fresh colors, and soft floral and botanical prints, yes, please.

"I chose to buy Fiestaware in many colors. There have been moments that I've wished for all one color, but for the most part, I've found that setting the table with several colors of dishes, vintage or modern drinking glasses, cloth napkins that coordinate, a simple tablecloth, and candles or flowers as seasons (and energy!) permit ties the table together in an informal way that is friendly and even makes the most ordinary dinners feel like a place where you want to sit back, talk and enjoy each other's company.

In the summer, we stay outside as much as possible, and that means we eat outside a good bit, too. Eating in the yard makes for fewer indoor messes, simple meals, sunshine and sometimes fireflies, so why not?"


place setting table

table setting jars silver place setting

This rustic summer table is set on the Brooklyn rooftop of Adriana Velez. Adriana writes about all kinds of delicious food stuff at Dinner4Three and here on The Stir, too.

"We like to keep it simple when we eat on the roof deck -- diner china from Fishs Eddy, jam jar glasses, flowers from the rooftop garden, Danica table linens, and a Sun Jar.

"But for some reason we still use the antique silverware. I guess we like to live dangerously."


table outdoors backyard candlelight

table outdoors backyard candlelight

This elegant and simple summer table by Alicia Alferman of Mayfly reminds us that fancy doesn't have to be difficult.

"Our table settings usually lean toward casual, so it only takes a few extra minutes to make the meal special.

"A white cotton tablecloth, bandannas for napkins, a few cut flowers and sprigs of greenery, and candles in jelly jars. Really it's the candles that make the difference -- and the sun setting right on cue doesn't hurt either."


tomatoes summer table setting plates

jelly jar glasses table

tomato tasting two plates place setting

It's an adorable "tomato tasting for two" on this summer table from Abby Powell Thompson of abby try again.

"In the summer, I love to keep things as simple as possible and avoid the hot oven at all costs. I'm so inspired by all the fresh and different tomatoes here in Austin, and it's fun to have just tomatoes for a meal (and maybe a bit of bread and cheese).

"Just cover the table with brown craft paper -- tomatoes are messy and you can just toss it after. You can find similar yellow gingham plates at The Curiosity Shoppe and similar red gingham napkins at Cherry Checkers. The faux bois steak knives are easy to find at thrift shops. The glasses are Bonne Maman jelly jars, and I used their red gingham tops for names at each place setting. The white serving dish with the tomatoes is from Crate and Barrel."


summer meal table setting

mix and match plates mesh covers

This summer table is set outdoors with mix 'n' match plates on a lovely vintage tablecloth by Rubyellen Bratcher of My Cakies.

"Our favorite cups to drink from are collected mason jars, so much more practical and pretty than regular cups. Adding some striped straws add a bit of fun! We also love to use plates that are all different! My favorite place to snatch up pretty plates is Anthropologie!

"Where we live, there can sometimes be a lot of flies in the summer, so eating outside can get frustrating with the constant shooing away of the yucky buggers. Therefore, it is necessary to have some covers to help protect our food. I found these baskets with mesh covers at World Market.

"Always look at Anthropologie's sale section as you are almost sure to find a plethora of pretty things to eat and drink from!"


china table setting

summer table settings

Handmades, thrift store finds, and family hand-me-downs make up this pretty featured summer table setting from Lori Joy Smith.

"Most of the things seen in these photos were handed down from either my mom or my mother-in-law or thrifted. I made the placemat (based roughly on a pattern from the book Patchwork Style). Nothing is too fancy, but each thing on this table makes me happy and is full of memories."


Frida Kahlo summer fiesta table setting

fiesta table setting

A summer fiesta for two inspired by Frida Kahlo from Jamie Beck of the blog From Me To You.

Jamie used items she already had on hand to create this easy summer fiesta, including sunflower yellow Fiesta plates, brightly curved drinking glasses, a vintage tablecloth with matching napkins, a green vintage pitcher for flowers, an old wine bottle for table water, and a Ball jar candle holder wrapped with paper maché flowers.

She added some bright sunflowers and a personal touch with this DIY napkin ring and hair accessories used as wall art (inspired by the flowers Frida Kahlo liked to wear in her hair).

The Summer Table Settings series, inspired by some of my favorite creative bloggers, will run all month long. Stay tuned for more lovely table decor and tips.

Which summer table setting inspires you most?

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