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Take Dinner Outside With These Design-Forward Ideas

From Neutral to Natural, The Best and Brightest in Outdoor Entertaining Design

Elevate your summer design by putting your tablescape first this year. Cool, neutral, and Mediterranean tones are in this season, as is treating your outdoor space as an extension of your kitchen. Consider a revamp and refresh of your linens, plates, flatware, tablecloths, and even table décor (if you haven’t given some thought to additions like outdoor-friendly candlesticks and water-resistant lighting, now is definitely the time). Read on for a look at what’s en vogue this year in outdoor dining design. 

Linen napkins

To dress things up without making your table look fussy, turn toward linen, a natural material that offers neutral tones, a bit of a rustic wrinkle, and the unadorned feel of the outdoors. Linen tablecloths and napkins pair perfectly with patio and screened porch dining, and linen napkins lend themselves particularly well to rustic bunching (think quick folds in a set of Spiral Wood Napkin Rings from West Elm, available in both natural and dark wood stains, and sold in a set of four). 

At Il Buco’s Vita, in Amagansett, the brand Arcolaio produces high-quality linen table dressings, like the striped tablecloth, which comes in two different colors (clementine and navy; navy and stone) and two different sizes (180 x 180 cm; 160 x 270 cm). Shoppers can also find matching Arcolaio napkins at Il Buco Vita. The Arcolaio weaving mill, in Abruzzo, Italy, has been producing bespoke goods since the late 1950s. 

Move on from plastic with Food52’s gorgeous outdoor dinnerware. The online brand carries Tarhong’s Planta Organic Outdoor dinnerware, a plant-based material made, in large part, from bamboo powder and corn starch. The 18-piece set, which comes with dinner plates, salad plates, and cereal bowls, is available in matte black, terra cotta, and dune. The brand also produces high-quality — and design-forward — acrylic outdoor drinkware. Short tumblers, tall tumblers, and goblets, all available in sets of six, are available in sage and green and are both patio- and dishwasher-safe.

Invest in an outdoor-only set of flatware that will help turn heads. Pottery Barn’s Faux Bamboo 12-piece flatware set embraces natural elements and matches the effortless décor of the Hamptons escape. The brand’s line of outdoor candle holders — the Careyes Handcrafted Outdoor Woven Lantern, the Artisan Ceramic Hurricane, and the Remi Solar Lantern, which can be suspended above the table and comes in two different colors, for instance — add a little bit of whimsy to the outdoor table. 

Casual tablecloth

Finally, make a bold — and weather-resistant — statement with Tina Frey’s resin collection, sold at Southampton’s Homenature. Resin is the new melamine, and this water-repellent material is in this year. The designer’s neutral-toned, BPA-free resin Champagne and ice buckets, ice scoops, and large entertaining buckets are perfect for entertaining in style. Resin coasters and charcuterie trays are a casual and cool addition to any indoor-outdoor space. And the Resin Fleur Tray Collection (the round trays come in yellow, cherry-red, and aquamarine) add a pop of color to any outdoor bar, making your outdoor space a reflection of your interior design. This year, make your outdoor dining area a décor priority.