Turn the tables on dining outdoors with settings that combine whimsy and sophistication.
Placemats provide an instant upgrade. A natural fiber plays to the outdoor element, while the more formal border reinforces the upscale look. To get that pro polish outdoors, pick up a handful of different blooms in varying shades of one color for a monochromatic look that offers depth of texture. “Synthetic crystal” glasses (also known as melamine) are looking more and more like the real thing. You can get them in virtually any color (including a convincing clear, not pictured) to match your spread. Cheers! $10 each. Enamelware is back! These tin-like staples were ubiquitous in the ’90s, and it’s easy to see why: The durable material makes them perfect for al fresco dining, but the delicate look and feel suggest they’d be equally appropriate in the dining room. $18 each. When entertaining outside, cloth napkins elevate an otherwise picnic-esque setting and stand up better to the breeze than paper. Add a napkin ring with a nautical vibe for a more playful touch. Old Bay napkin holders, set of 4 for $26.
Summer is the season for setting the outdoor table, but there’s more to it than paper plates and—heaven forbid!—plastic tablecloths. We took the design gurus from Syzygy Event Productions to local gift shop and home décor store Dalton Brody (3412 Idaho Ave. NW, 202-244-7197) for an afternoon of summer-inspired tablescape design. The end result—a festive high/low setting with a color palette that nods to the nautical—is the perfect look for your next al fresco dinner party.