Decorating & Design

December 23, 2008

Summer Table Decoration

Easy solutions for dressing up your table with clean, sheer tablecloths, bright colours and textured neutrals.

Summery tabletops are a breeze to create. Since we tend to pare down our furnishings, fabrics and layers in the warmer months, spare and simple tables are perfect for summer dining.

Clean colours

Airy, neutral palettes are often the popular choice for summer table colour schemes. White and off-white are perfect companions, especially when combined with nature-inspired colours or linen fabrics for achieving an inviting, clean look. For a whimsical white summer table, use sheer white fabric for a tablecloth. Let the tablecloth drape just to the ground and top with a glass vase filled with lush greens. Dress up a casual bistro table with a gauzy white tablecloth, pretty china and a vase of flowers from your garden. For a more minimalist looking table, opt for no tablecloth at all and place a grouping of chunky white pillar candles in the centre, atop a bamboo runner or placemat.

Simple accents

Natural placemats and chargers made of wicker or bamboo make attractive, textured additions to white plates on a casual summer table. Bundle cutlery or napkins with raffia as an extra touch. Line hurricane vases or lanterns along the middle of the table for simple yet stunning centrepieces.

Splashes of bright colours

For a more colourful summer table, use the garden as your source. Pair blooms in juicy oranges or vivid reds with clear dinnerware to make the tabletop burst with colour. Or use cabana striped place mats, solid linen napkins and white plates for contrast. Place fresh flowers in bud vases along the centre of the table or use a wire bowl filled with colourful fruit as an eye-catching centrepiece. Add bursts of colour to an all-white table by using different coloured chair cushions or tie fabric or inexpensive sarongs around chair backs for an extra splash of colour.

Table runners

Transform a favourite lightweight scarf, sarong or leftover fabric into a summery table runner. Just fold the edges and iron the scarf or sarong or “hem” the fabric with iron tape and lay the runner along the length of the table, allowing it to drape about 6-8” over the edges. For a current look, “weave” runners by draping one along the length and one or two along the width (depending on the number of table settings). This creates an interesting version of a tablecloth, but also acts as individual placemats.


White pillar candles set in sand are perfect for clear hurricane vases. Place pretty seashells on the sand around the candle, and sprinkle a few more on the table around the hurricanes for an airy, seaside centrepiece.


For a personal touch, add whimsical placecard holders to your tabletop. Make your own folded tent cards or look for summer-inspired holders at various retailers.