We all know the best summer days stretch long past sunset and end gathered around a table with all of our favorite people (forgetting our bedtimes). It’s outdoor dinner party season, and this year we’ve got the hots for hosting more than ever. As you gear up for the many gatherings to come, a reminder: Entertaining doesn’t have to be hard or expensive. To prove our point, we sourced the best outdoor dining table décor ideas that are both chic and affordable. Because when it comes to a summer dinner party, it’s all about keeping it simple and fun.
After all, stocking up on a few basic outdoor dinner party essentials paves the way to kick back and enjoy a delicious meal and good company. Whether you’ve had it on the books for weeks or decide to throw together an impromptu feast with your crew, we’ve got everything you need to pull off the perfect outdoor dining situation in style. Instead of fussing over the details, you’ll soak up the good conversation, laughs, and magical energy that makes a summer dinner party so special. So throw on your go-to dress, whip up a pitcher of margaritas, and scroll on for our favorite affordable items to get you through outdoor entertaining season without breaking a sweat.
Feature image by Sara Prince.
23 Outdoor Dining Table Décor Ideas for the Perfect Summer Tablescape
One frequently overlooked item when it comes to outdoor dining is a good food cover. Especially during the summer when the bugs are having a rager, preserve those pretty plates of food you worked so hard to create with a chic bamboo dome like this one.
I’m a mosquito magnet, and there’s nothing worse than bug bites to cramp your style while dining outside. I cannot tell you how relieving it is when a host remembers to have mosquito repellent at the ready. That being said, they’re not all created equal, and Murphy’s Naturals is the best I’ve tried. Their bundles are perfect to protect your patio during mosquito season.
One major entertaining hack is whipping up a big-batch cocktail (I prefer margaritas) so that you don’t have to play bartender all night. Invest in a beverage dispenser like this one so that guests can help themselves, and you can even drop in some citrus wedges and herbs to add to your summer tabletop aesthetic.
Yet another item that you’ll use time and time again. Stock up on handy baskets and trays to carry all of your items back and forth to the table. A basket like this is perfect for loading up all of your tabletop accessories so that you can take everything outside in one trip for a breezy set-up.
When it comes to summer dining, family-style is the way to go. Skip the fancy plating and instead prepare a great main and some solid sides, because food is best enjoyed when passed around the table and shared. All you need are a couple of great serving dishes that will get the job done, and we love this large stoneware serving dish from H&M home.
Stoneware dinner plates never get old. They look gorgeous against a white linen tablecloth, especially when flanked by pale napkins and pretty utensils. Plus, they’re super versatile and can be used both during summer and winter. Score!
Disposable napkins or paper towels can be some of the biggest sources of waste after a dinner party. Invest in a couple of great washable napkins that work for every season. These linen-blend napkins from H&M home go with everything!
Don’t wait for a special occasion to hang up those string lights! They are one of the best ways to bring instant vibes to any outdoor space.
We can’t relate down here in Texas, but I’m aware that some places around the country do get a little chilly at night. Pull out a couple of throw blankets and pillows to add cozy vibes to your table.
I love a wine bottle holder that’s cute but also keeps your bottle chilled. This one can be pre-chilled in the freezer so it’ll keep your rosé crisp all night long.
This post was originally published on May 19, 2021 and has since been updated.