With a summer full of entertainment ahead, we’re looking at ways to make hosting extra special. Luckily, our in-house stylist, Clare Acfield is on hand with these simple but effective ideas to make your alfresco table unforgettable.
WHAT’S YOUR THEME?
Create a real sense of occasion with a theme, this is a great way of guiding your table setting, menu, drinks and beyond. It might be a memorable holiday destination, favourite cuisine or simply your favourite colours. “My go-to’s in summer are yellows, greens and white” says Clare “they always feel fresh and uplifting. For something more timeless, blue is always a brilliant staple.” Whatever your starting point, it’s an excellent way to let your creativity flow.
CREATE A FOCAL POINT
No table is complete without a centrepiece. Once you’ve outlined your theme, think about bringing this to life with decorative touches like flowers and candles – even a decorative terracotta bowl full of citrus fruit is enough to evoke hazy Mediterranean summers.
MAKE IT MEMORABLE
From decorative place settings for dining to intimate cosy, cushion-laden corners, creating zones is a great way of adding polish, but also somewhere to unwind post dining. “Individual settings with linen napkins and favours add polish and glamour” suggests Clare “your guests can’t help but feel considered and special”.
DIM THE LIGHTS
For added ambience beyond the table, think about the surrounding lighting. Fairy lights and festoons hung from trees or a pergola create a soft, twinkling backdrop. For lower levels, consider LED lantern lights that can be moved around to illuminate each zone. And to keep bugs at bay, large citronella candles in terracotta pots are always a worthwhile addition. For lighting that goes the distance, look for long-lasting solar-powered lanterns or freestanding outdoor lamps. Having the option to charge via USB cable helps when you need an added boost too.
THE FINISHING TOUCHES
No one enjoys sweeping broken glass from the patio so invest in good quality tableware that not only looks great, but can go the distance. Clare loves the Kartell al fresco glassware range “it’s beautiful, but most importantly smash-proof’. And finally, harness the power of scent for a truly transportive experience. “Adding pots of softly scented lavender or jasmine can really elevate your outdoor dining,” says Clare. “To me, they smell of summer and lovely, long sunset dinners with family and friends”.