How to Set a Beautiful Summer Table

Vintage ironstone, blue dishes, gold flatware, greenery and rustic wood elements come together to create a semi-formal summer tablescape, with a pop of pink for a little unexpected fun.
vintage dishes, gold flatware, and textured napkin holders

Do you enjoy putting together tablescapes? Or do you find them challenging? I'll admit that setting a pretty table used to be really hard for me until
I figured out the key to simple yet stunning tablescapes...mix and match! When everything matches too much, it looks too formal and stuffy. Use vintage mixed with new pieces, light mixed with dark, a variety of textures and shades and patterns, are all you need to pull together tables that are unique and beautiful!

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Welcome to the June edition of Pinterest Challenge, hosted by the fabulous Cindy over at County Road 407. If you're coming over from First Day of Home, welcome! We are a group of decor-loving bloggers who take on a different challenge each month. You can see how the rest of the group took on this challenge at the end of the post. This month's theme was a dining tablescape.

Pinterest Challenge logo

Karen at Sanctuary Home Decor is masterful at putting together beautiful table settings! This was our inspiration photo for the challenge.

outdoor dining

Isn't this table worthy of a good swoon? From the furniture to the amazing peonies, I could happily just move onto this porch and call it good 😉

But sadly that's not what this challenge is about. Here is the inspiration from Karen's table that I used to decorate my summer table.

Elements to Decorate a Summer Table

1. natural wood 
2. glass bottles
3. something pink
4. something edible
5. candles
6. wood cutting board

We live in Texas...south Texas...where it's mighty hot and humid already. Dining outdoors is not really an option. Plus, we're kinda known for our mosquitoes down here.

So because I wasn't able to set up a table outdoors, I tried to bring some of that feeling inside our dining room. On a side note, I'm seriously considering painting our hutch white...what do you think?

dining room with black hutch

1. Natural Wood

I love the light wood and rustic feel of Karen's dining table and chairs. On my own table, I used a small dough bowl filled with teacups, and I splurged (for me!) on these new chargers that have that natural, rustic wood look. They're nice and chunky too, which is very different from the other chargers I own.

chunky rustic wood chargers

vintage blue transferware teacups in wood dough bowl

2. Glass Bottles

I really love Karen's centerpiece of glass bottles filled with peonies. It is simple but stunning. I don't have anything currently blooming in my yard, so chose to use candles in the place of flowers. I set them in my white milk glass vases for a pretty centerpiece that is still simple. Designer tip: If the hole of the vase is larger than the taper candle, simply wrap about an inch of the end in some white tissue paper until it holds steady. So many of us own these vintage vases, and now you can use them as candleholders too!

milk glass vases used as candleholders

In lieu of the flowers, I did two things. First, I added both real and faux greenery to my table in white and terracotta pots. The terracotta pots are new, I just rubbed a little bit of dark furniture paste on them to quickly age them. I did this with smaller, dollar store pots as well. These ones have a candle topped with a little moss. Some inexpensive rock filler keeps the candles from falling over. This is just a little way to bring some of the outdoors in for this summery table scape.

rustic aged terracotta pots

3. Something Pink

The second thing I did in lieu of those beautiful pink peonies on Karen's table was to add a little something pink to my table. I found this pink lemonade in the glass bottles at Aldi, and I think they add a little unexpected pop of color to my table.
pink lemonade in glass bottles

4. Something Edible

While Karen used a loaf of bread on her summer table, I chose to use fruit. A pretty pear, sitting in a milk glass parfait cup at each place setting, makes this table feel just a tad more formal. This is about as formal as it gets over here!

summer table setting with vintage dishes

I recently inherited a large box of vintage blue Currier and Ives dishes from my in-laws. I love that Mr DIY remembers using these dishes when he was little!
vintage dishes

5. Candles

I've already showed you how I used the white taper candles on my table. You might notice that a few of them have lots of drips on them. I like that look, and it was simple to do. I simply lit a white votive and when the wax started to melt I tipped it over so it dripped down the sides of my tapers. I just realized that I took all of my photos and forgot to light the candles 😕 so I quickly remedied that (although the pears are missing in these photos...they were yummy!)

candlelight on summer decorated table

white taper candles in milk glass
Something about lit candles makes every table feel just a little extra special, doesn't it?

6. Wood Cutting Board

Did you spot the wood cutting board I used on my table? It's actually right there in the center of my table as the base for my centerpiece.

tablescape with vintage and new items

This is a trick I learned from Robyn over at Robyn's French Nest. She is a whiz at decorating tables using items from her stash. So I took a tip from her and layered my centerpiece. I started with my DIY drop cloth table runner. I just love these ruffled edges.

embossed water goblets

I'm planning to make some napkins soon, and will share a tutorial once I get that up (make sure you're following me here if you love getting FREE decor tips, ideas and tutorials!).

On top of my drop cloth runner, I layered a flour sack towel from Target. Next I placed a large wood cutting board on a bit of a diagonal. I used stacks of ironstone dishes to elevate certain items so nothing was on an even plane. This gives interest to the whole table.

The matte gold flatware and the embossed goblets make this table feel a bit more formal, even though it's really totally just has a lot of stuff on it!

matte gold flatware

dining room decor

I hope you got some good tips and ideas and you're feeling a little more confident to decorate a pretty tablescape for your friends or family (or just for yourself!). I could play around all day with my vintage dishes and tableware, I enjoy it so much.


Pin it to remember

tablescape with greenery, rustic wood and vintage items

Please visit Paula at Sweet Pea next, and then visit all the links below! There's so much variety and summer table inspiration to see.

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  1. What a gorgeous table! I adore blue willow china. It instantly makes me feel cooler in the hot summer.

  2. Hi Cindy, I love the candlesticks. I totally get the heat and melted candles. We ended up getting a rainstorm hours after I took my photos. I have soggy cloth napkins! It's looks really pretty. I need to find some candlesticks.

  3. I love your tablescape Cindy! I love how you took all the elements of the inspiration photo and incorporated them into your own tablescape. I love all the different elements and putting pears into the ice cream cups is such a pretty idea!

  4. I always love your mix and match tablescapes, Cindy! And I usually only use my blue and white currier and ives in the winter because of their pictures, but now you've got me thinking it would be fun to do a patriotic table with them. Love how you simply laid the cups in that wood dish; brilliant!

  5. Okay... that candle tissue tip is genius... and I love the terra cotta pots as candle holders, too! I'll be stealing that idea! Those Aldi lemonade bottles will make adorable vases, too! Love your table, my friend!

    1. Thanks so much Julie, glad you found some inspiration!

  6. Your table is gorgeous Cindy! I love the blue and white, it always feels like summer. I ALWAYS forget to light the candles, glad I'm not alone. And the terra cotta pots are the best.

  7. I love your table! And the cups all nestled inside the dough bowl is an adorable idea that I hope to remember. I'm pinning it but you know how that goes. I bet if I ever find and purchase a dough bowl I'll be one step closer. As for painting the hutch, I adore white. Ours is white and the table is black and I'm wanting to paint the table white too. You go first and that will help me decide. ;) Thanks for joining us this month. Loved everything!

    1. Thanks Cindy, and I know what you mean about pinning and forgetting 😉 I just moved my hutch and will forgo painting it for the time being bc I just can't bring myself to think about painting the table and chairs also!

  8. Cindy, I love the way you have created so many interesting layers on your table. It really makes every pretty detail stand out. So creative to use the milk glass vases as candle holders and milk glass cups for the pears too. Truly a gorgeous table. Pinning!

  9. How fun, love your collection of candles and milk glass. Adding candles to the flower pots is so fun too. Gorgeous blue and white tablesetting.

  10. Cindy, I love all the pretty details of your casual/formal table. The contrast between the dressy and the vintage makes it so interesting. The bread bowl is gorgeous. I’ll have to look for the pink lemonade bottles. Love that.

  11. Cindy, everything looks so pretty! I love the blue Currier and Ives dishes. And the pears are a nice touch. The cutting board adds great texture. So gorgeous!

  12. Yes, I think your hutch will look lovely painted white!! Cindy, your table is stunning with all the layers, the fabric textures and the "new" china from your in-laws. A nice present!!! I love the chalkboard in the background, too... <3 I've been thinking of doing that for a while. Might get that done here as we really heat up in July!! (Can you believe how early the heat has come? NOT ready for it...)

    Enjoy your pretty tablesetting,
    Barb :)

  13. Your table is gorgeous, Cindy! I love your wood chargers and your inherited Currier & Ives dishes. Your tip to wrap tissue paper around a candle that is too large is a good one!

  14. There are so many pretty details and elements on your table! I especially love the tip for getting "drips" on the candles. I'll have to try that!

    Niky @ The House on Silverado


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