How to Curate an Outdoor Tablescape

April 17, 2024

Is there anything better than dining outdoors? There is something so relaxing and freeing about it, especially after a long winter. Here in Chicago, people take alfresco dining seriously. On a sunny day, restaurant patios fill up moments after they open! While it’s fun to dine out, I love to host friends and family and to have an excuse to craft a beautiful tablescape. Now that Spring is officially here, I can’t wait to start enjoying more time outside. Let me bring you down my recent rabbit hole of outdoor tablescape saves. I promise you’ll leave inspired!


Table Linens

Setting the table doesn’t have to be a chore, it is one of my favorite creative exercises. Tablecloths instantly elevate your dining experience. I’ve found that layering table linens like placemats, napkins, coasters, and table runners gives the table a curated and thoughtful appearance. For outdoor dining, I love incorporating patterns and textures and mixing unexpected combinations. Unlike designing a room, an outdoor tablescape is temporary making it a fun place to experiment with your style and curate for a specific event or group!

Still dreaming of our colorful outdoor tablescape from the 2023 House Beautiful Whole Home!

Organic Centerpieces

Florals, in my opinion, are a non-negotiable for alfresco dining. Having greenery on the table creates a connection to the nature around you and adds color and height to the middle of your table. Flowers speak for themselves, but throwing them in a fun vase will make a statement. Main takeaway: if nothing else, have flowers!


Don’t forget a source of light or you may end up eating in the dark. I love the elegance of candlesticks, especially at dusk. For more causal dining, clusters of tea light votives can create the perfect ambient lighting to keep the conversation flowing. If you want to avoid open flames, look for cordless, discrete lamps.


Outdoor tablescapes and fun glasses go hand in hand. Colored glassware is always a crowd-pleaser. Debuting back in 1930s, manufactures added color to low-quality glass, creating a beautiful, yet inexpensive homeware item that brought joy to many homes during The Depression. Turns out there always been something innately cheerful about owning and drinking from colorful glasses. Today, as design trends are steering away from minimalism, people are embracing color- especially in home decor.

This is where I started to spiral deep into my rabbit hole of inspiration. There are endless beautiful options out there. Try mixing up colors and shapes for a playful, organic look.

I’m obsessed with the unique and versatile Rialto Collection.


And finally, dishes. You are going to use them regardless, so you may as well have fun with them!

I hope we gave you the inspiration you needed to start planning your next outdoor dinner party. Cheers!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Meet Claire

Claire’s creative energy comes from her unique perspective on the world as both a trained interior designer and a passionate yoga teacher. Her affinity for kitchen design, timeless style and eclectic decorating are shared here, along with lots of interior design education and tips. Thanks for being here, please enjoy!

learn more