Summer Series, Fun Alfresco Dining

December 01, 2015
Summer Series, Fun Alfresco Dining

Outdoor entertaining and table settings should be relaxed and fun, a kind of causal elegance lending essences from nature and the environment that surrounds you. We have come up with our top five tips for outdoor entertaining that will leave you relaxing the day away in the summer sunshine.

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1. Choose A Theme To Suit Your Evening

Be clear on what style it is you're wanting to achieve. This will most likely be determined by the theme and guests that are coming to your soiree. Are you catering for a casual, informal or very formal affair? This will all help shape the evening's aesthetics.

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Start by determining what kind of experience you wish to create for you and your guests. Will you be creating a lavish outdoor soiree? Are you after something a little more relaxed? Deciding which theme suits the event you are catering for will make styling and choosing cuisine more efficient. We chose a simplistic, colourful, outdoor BBQ style setting perfect for the Australian festive season with its fun colours and relaxed table setting.

Don’t be afraid to mix things up a little at your warm weather soiree! Be brave. Embrace mixing cutlery and crockery, it’s the perfect way to add a little bit of character to your outdoor table.

2. How To Choose The Right Colour Palette

Start neutral and work from there by layering complimentary bold colours. Don't be afraid to experiment as you can always edit the look afterwards if you're not entirely satisfied with the style.

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Your colour palette will start to form once you're clear on your theme and style. You're outdoors - so be bold, adventurous and vibrant! We selected a range of colours and tones with the Eco-Impact tableware products from The Phoenix & The Turtle. These colours really popped against the predominately lush green backyard foliage of this beautiful inner-city home.

Bright tones are perfect for year round alfresco dining, keeping that summer vibe rolling. However, we added some miss-matched Hoth Outdoor Dining Chairs from Destination 3000, these are great for balancing the bold outdoor décor in a subtle and charming way. We chose austere hues of greys, whites and creams to further the theme of disordered colour palettes and enhance the paterrn of our table runner.

3. Textures Are Key

Outdoor table styling should be inspired by the textures that exist in your environment. Look to the garden for inspiration and you'll soon find yourself having created an amazingly inviting style.

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Outdoor alfresco dining is essentially about the layering and stacking of textures and objects. You're outdoors, you don't need to be strict on table arrangements; your guests expect that societal norms will be more relaxed in an outdoor setting.

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Start with a beautiful weathered outdoor table and begin layering from there. Add a table cloth or table runner, natural woven place mats, we chose Armadillo & Co willow weave place mats from The Phoenix & The Turtle. The matte textures from the Eco Impact tableware and Marble Basic platter from The Phoenix & The Turtle are perfect for balancing the thick woven textures already present on the table.

4. Alfresco Dining Lighting Essentials

Easily overlooked and an important necessity! Don't be caught in the dark. Make sure you have the right kind of mood lighting for your event. Be sure to take into consideration the light from surrounding properties as this can really impact the mood and feel of the evening.

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To avoid unsightly neon lights ruining your atmosphere, we suggest purchasing and installing lanterns, candles and fairy lights. To mix things up and continue that summer vibe well into the evening we chose amusing Cacti Candles by Sunny Life from Coco & Crème Living to complete our summer entertaining style.

5. Be Bold and Creative

Throw away your nerves and commit to your creative side, be adventurous and have fun! Dinner parties are for entertaining so take on the task in a lighthearted manner and enjoy yourself along the way.

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The most important thing to remember when styling a table setting for alfresco dining is to be creative and have fun with your space. Whether you are setting a table for a formal affair or styling for something a little more casual, combing a few of these elements will help to achieve the look you desire.

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Be creative and use items you have in an unexpected fashion. Table cloths don’t always suit outdoor dining settings and if it's windy - they can be a nuisance. If your backyard is prone to unexpected shifts in weather, we suggest using an outdoor mat or runner as your table cloth. These mats are designed and made to endure exposure from all weather extremes and are available in many designs and colours; you can find a perfect, durable, table runner that can transform into an outdoor mat as soon as your guests leave.

Unlike being restricted by walls and floors alfresco dining events should be above all fun, embrace the natural surrounds and use what you have in an unexpected manner and surprise your guests with your ingenuity and creativeness.

Many thanks from the House of Home team to the following retailers:

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Design and Styling by Prue Tully (Editor, Interior Designer), Design and Styling by Elizabeth Zotti (Editorial Coordinator) Photography by Andrew Maccoll ( and Graphic Design by Cassandra Digby (Creative Content).