Table Setting Tips for Summer Meals

These table setting tips for summer meals will help you keep things simple, neutral, and natural. Ways to entertain in the summer months without the stress!

dining room with board and batten

When I think of summer meals, the words that come to mind are simple, neutral, and natural. No one wants to spend hours and hours preparing for guests. In my opinion, that takes all the fun out of the gathering before it even begins.

traditional dining room set for summer

So…look over your table setting supplies and get out everything that is neutral in color…and don’t be afraid to combine neutrals. Use anything that is white, ivory, beige, or gray. Then let your imagination soar, and design a table setting that reflects your own personal style.

dining room ready for summer meals

Keep things simple

One of my favorite mantras is “simple is best.” And almost always it’s true. Simple is easier, it’s faster, it’s cheaper, and it can look just as beautiful as something elaborate and expensive. No where is that more true than when you are setting the table for summer meals. Simplify your place settings by using just one plate, and then layer with placemats, runners, or chargers. Add a bit of sparkle with clear crystal goblets or glasses, and keep the flatware to a minimum.

traditional dining room harp back chairs

Keep things neutral

Neutral colors are calm and cool, which are two things we all want in the summer. By setting a neutral table for your summer meals, you are able to make a huge statement with your summer flower centerpiece. Let the neutral color palette of the table settings take a back seat, so your centerpiece can be the star of the show. (More on that later in the post.)

three pitchers on dining room table

Keep things natural

Natural and neutral go hand-in-hand. Adding natural elements to any table setting, but especially a neutral one, can turn boring into beautiful. Just one or two items will do the trick. For this table setting, the wicker placemats and twine around the napkins add texture and interest.

place setting with buffalo check napkin

Use summer blooms and greenery

If you don’t have your own garden blooms, just buy them. When you enter your flower shop, or the flower section at your grocery store, choose what first catches your eye. Trust your instincts and trust your own taste. I find that when I choose the things I truly love, instead of choosing what’s “in,” I am much happier in my space. If you don’t gravitate towards color, make a summer centerpiece from all white blooms. If you are lucky enough to have a blooming garden, take advantage of it!

table setting tips for summer meals

Don’t forget greenery like hostas or ferns. The pop of green from the fern, tied on to the napkin, adds the perfect touch of summer and took just a few minutes. And if you are wondering, I cut the fern fronds from the planters on my front porch.

centerpiece of peonies and roses

All of these table setting tips can be used for indoor dining, as well as dining al fresco. The most important thing is that you, as the host or hostess, have just as much fun as your guests. Entertaining can be work, but it doesn’t have to be. By keeping things simple, neutral, and natural, your summer gatherings will be relaxing and enjoyable.

Shop & Source

*Affiliate links included. Click HERE for my disclosure statement.

table runners | wicker placemats | ivory dinner plate | flatware (similar) | checked napkins | chandelier | board and batten | paint colors | hanging lanterns | botanical prints | dining room rug in beige/ivory | fabric on chairs | wicker fishing creel (similar)

wicker placemat with ivory plate
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  1. 5 stars
    Thank you for the inspiration! Love the simple white/natural with fern accent. Would love to know how your chairs were recovered. Are those oversized towels? Or fabric? Thank you again.

    1. Ann Drake says:

      Hi Jen…I recovered the chairs myself. I used grain sack inspired fabric that’s very wide. Here is my affiliate link to the Etsy shop. She has other lovely fabrics as well. Thank you!

  2. Lory | Designthusiasm says:

    Ann, this is gorgeous! I love the centerpieces and the natural elements and simplicity only enhance the look of the beautiful florals!

  3. Penelope Meade says:

    Just love the plate in the background, with the house number and your lovely prints framed! Your home is so simple & interesting “every place I look”….wish we were neighbors, thank you for your blog.

  4. Your table is lovely and the flowers are beautiful.I love shopping my home and keeping it simple.

  5. Kristen Whitby says:

    This is so lovely, Ann! I love all of the whites and colors against your beautiful wood furniture.

  6. Sheila Irwin says:

    Ann, I love this beautiful but simple summer table! And of course, peonies!! I love peonies, and in white pitchers, they are perfection.

    Happy summer to you!


  7. You gave me a great idea to use my plentiful ferns fronds in arrangements. I also plan to use my ironstone pitchers like you did for a centerpiece. I just need to wait another week or so for my peonies to bloom.

  8. This is just so beautiful Ann and I love how you use such simple elements to create everything that you do!

  9. Thanks for the inspiration. I have 10 guests coming for lunch on Friday and haven’t chosen flowers etc. The weather is so “iffy” that I guess I have to give in and know we will be indoors. I still think I will use a garden theme….but as you said it will be from the florist!