Thank you to Frances Valentine and Tuckernuck for sponsoring this post.
Even though it’s officially 700 degrees here in Nashville, my family is spending a lot of time outside. As we ease back into entertaining in small groups, I think a lot of us are hosting outdoors for an extra measure of safety. With that in mind, I wanted to share a table I recently designed that hits all the right notes for a summer dinner in the garden: bright colors, melamine dishes, easy decor, and a hint of whimsy. Y’all, this table is so pretty that I promise if you recreate it at home, you’ll be so pleased that you’ll forget how sweaty everyone is at the end of the night! (In retrospect, maybe we should have added fans at each place setting – ha!)
I partnered with Frances Valentine and Tuckernuck to source most of the pieces for this table. Frances Valentine recently launched a selection of home items, and I fell in love with this yellow otomi-print tablecloth and coordinating napkins. The charming pattern sets a fun tone and the embroidery adds a sophisticated touch. Yellow is truly the happiest color. We’re seeing it everywhere and it makes sense because it’s such a mood-booster in these strange times. To maintain a casual vibe, I just knotted the napkins, which also saves you the trouble of sourcing napkin rings.
Frances Valentine’s rattan placemats are the base for my place settings. If you don’t already own rattan placemats, I cannot recommend them enough. They’re classic pieces you’ll use constantly because they work equally well with casual dishes and your grandmother’s china. They’re a great building block for table design, and you know I’m a big believer in using pieces over and over again. For the plates, flatware, and glasses, I turned to Tuckernuck. I recently discovered that they offer a wonderful selection of home and tabletop items. I love anything Juliska and was immediately drawn to these Juliska plates for several reasons. First, the splatter pattern is fabulous and reminds me of summer at the beach and ocean. Second, the plates are melamine, aka ideal for outdoor entertaining. Lastly, I love the color. I wanted something to pop against all of the sunny hues, and there’s something about the primary color pairing of blue and yellow that just works. As I mentioned in my July 4th post, using different colors and textures is key to creating a layered, more interesting table. The tablecloth design is neutral enough to pair with another print, so it all coordinates nicely.
I chose blue Juliska tumblers to echo the plates and create some more balance between the colors on the table. Major bonus: they’re acrylic! I love that so many brands are doing elevated melamine and acrylic pieces these days. Since the rattan chargers introduced a natural-looking element to the overall look, I ran with that and used Juliska’s bamboo flatware to round things out. Bamboo cutlery is another classic: it’s seasonless, goes with everything, and adds interesting texture and dimension.
For flowers, I took Ina Garten’s famous advice and arranged one flower en masse down the table. Simple, clean, and EASY (no floral arranging expertise needed). These are dahlias but sunflowers or yellow roses would look great as well. Sliced lemons enhance the summer vibe and also work for drinks. I like how the wicker and wood detailing on the vases and bowl echo the natural feel of the chargers and flatware. The seagrass vases are from Epergne, one of my favorite home decor and gift stores in Nashville.
I really had a ball planning this photoshoot and love how it all came together. Don’t be afraid of bold color and pattern, especially in the summer. And never underestimate how something beautiful can brighten tough times. It’s impossible to eat dinner at this table and feel your mood lifted a little. When life gives you lemons… cut them up and use them on a fabulous tablescape!