Simple Living // How to style a summer feast with friends…

With the weather behaving itself these past few days here in the UK, it’s time to think about throwing a little summer soiree for friends this Bank Holiday Monday.  It can be as simple or as grand an affair as you like, from candelabras and champagne flutes or a pared back scheme with rough hewn table top and sharing plates of salads.

I love summer for entertaining, everything seems to much better with a touch of sunshine and fresh flowers.  If the weather is glorious why not drag the table outside and sit in the garden.

Here are a few tips on how to style your table, whatever the occasion…

how to dress a summer table littlegreenshed blog

1. Palette

Choose one or two colours and stick to them. For me, Summer is all about soft pastels, peachy pinks and leafy greens.  Pick colours that you feel evoke the mood you are after.  Gold cutlery and peachy peonies work well together.

2. Set the scene

Have a go at making your own invitations and place cards – they don’t have to be perfect but creating something personal and in theme will really set the tone for your celebration. Adding matching menus or other stationery pieces is even better!

3. Re-purpose

Look around the house for items you might be able to incorporate, whether it be furniture or décor. Candles placed in glass bottles are a cheap and easy way to bring light and drama to the table.

4. Texture

Think about layering texture on your table.  A worn slubby linen table cloth, with wobbly ceramic plates and silver cutlery works well.  As does crisp white on white.  Think about how textures can make you feel once seating at the table, and how you want your guests to feel.

5. Scent

Flowers.  Every table needs flowers.  For an informal affair why not fill jam cars and tin boxes with roses, peonies and herbs for a scent explosion.  If you are taking your table outside, where will it be positioned, next to a scented honeysuckle or near the herb garden.

6. Lighting

Lots of candles or even some string festoon lighting really adds to the ambience of your feast. At this time of year there’s no shortage of beautiful (and affordable) lighting options which are easy to hang and look great.  Remember to light the whole space, not just the table.  If outside try hanging lanterns in the trees or jam jars with candles on the pathway to the house.

 7. Crockery

Use what you have.  It doesn’t matter if its mismatched, in fact I think it looks better.  But again, stick to a palette that works.  Don’t throw in your kids lunch plate into the mix, try to have similar plates, on a loose colour spectrum.

8. Food

Cook simple hearty dishes, that are crowd pleasers, but require little preparation.  Salads, hummus, rustic bread and iced sorbets are my favourite.  Play with the seasonal flavours of the summer.  Invest in some good cook books – my favourites are Anna Jones & Claire Thomson.

Have fun!  There is nothing better than bringing friends and family together.


Image taken at our Sisterhood Summer Retreat last year –

table styling by Hannah Bullivant & Erin Tresize-Wallace.