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How to Style a Summer Dinner Party

My approach to summer entertaining is rooted in simplicity. Unlike the holidays, when I’m inclined to pull out all the stops, a summer dinner party feels more relaxed with fresh, seasonal food and casual conversation. This summer, Quinn and I have been traveling to the lake house often, but when we’ve got an open night, I like to invite friends for a spontaneous weeknight meal. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy—just a simple grill out is our usual game plan. I set the table with some pretty linens, arrange flowers in vintage vessels, and let the seasonal menu speak for itself. July can get unbearably hot here in Austin, so I set this summer dinner party indoors, but it would also work al fresco. Just add string lights and citronella candles for ambiance once the sun goes down.

 

Summer table design with french lattice napkins for a modern picnic vibeModern summer table design with elevated picnic inspiration

 

HOW TO STYLE A SUMMER DINNER PARTY

 

My Design Playbook

 

Every table design needs a point of inspiration, and these red french lattice napkins were mine. The pattern gave me modern summer picnic vibes, so I used that idea to guide the rest of the setting. The goal was to incorporate some pattern play, so I sourced this cotton tablecloth with a pretty motif. The placemats brought a touch of softness with a coastal blue binding and subtly waved silhouette to round out the look.

Once the table linens were in place, it was time to focus on plates, flatware, and florals. I used a set of grey plates (similar style) to bring some neutral balance alongside classic stainless flatware. There was already a lot of color and pattern involved, so it was important to keep things simple with the tableware. As a finishing touch, I arranged garden flowers in vintage glass vases as a nod to the elevated picnic inspiration. I even added a colander of fresh cherries for everyone to snack on while dinner cooked on the grill.

 

 

More to Read: 5 Steps to Plan a Styled Shoot

 

Garden flower centerpiece with french lattice napkins for a summer place setting

Summer table design with french lattice napkins for a modern picnic vibe

 

SUMMER DINNER PARTY

Set The Table

 

Tablescape

Napkins

Placemats

Flatware

Plates (similar)

Berry Basket (similar + use code Anastasia15 to save)

Dining Chairs (use code Anastasia15 to save)

Colander (use code Anastasia15 to save)

Glass Flower Vases: Vintage

 

 

Watermelon, feta, avocado and cucumber salad served on a cutting board

 

RECIPE IDEA

 

Watermelon, Cucumber, Avocado, and Feta Salad

 

This quilt-style salad is always a crowd-pleaser when I’m hosting a summer dinner party. It requires no actual cooking, and everything (minus the avocados) can be cut up in advance. I top the salad with lemon juice, sea salt, mint, and balsamic glaze as guests arrive and serve immediately.

 

Ingredients:

  • 1 small watermelon
  • 1 cucumber
  • 1 avocado
  • 1 block of feta
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • sea salt
  • handful of fresh mint
  • balsamic glaze

 

Directions:

– Cube each ingredient into 1/2 inch squares
– Arrange in random order, following a grid
– Generously sprinkle fresh mint
– Squeeze the juice from half a lemon over top
– Top with coarse sea salt
– Drizzle with balsamic glaze

 

Watermelon, feta, avocado and cucumber salad with balsamic glaze

 

 

For more IDCO lifestyle and seasonal content, be sure to check out:

 

 

Table Design & Styling: The Identité Collective | Photography: Madeline Harper

 


 

IDCO Studio is a boutique creative agency specialized in beautiful and unique marketing solutions for interior designers. Focused on branding, web design and Instagram marketing, IDCO Studio is a woman owned and operated team of creatives based in Austin, Texas. The Identité Collective, which began as a business blog quickly grew into a collaborative community focused on providing business strategy and visual inspiration to the interior design community.

Now you can find our shop of resources, templates and custom branding and web design work over at IDCO Studio – leaving The Identité Collective as a permanent resource for our beloved design community.

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