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Tips for successful outdoor dining

Honor Kennedy Honor Kennedy
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It’s been a long, chilly winter for us northern hemisphere dwellers, but there’s brilliant news on the horizon—the sun is finally about to plunge free from the blankets of thick cloud and murk and spring is on the doorstep. While it’s been cosy, in no time we’ll rejoice at being able to bust free from the confinements of our warm, heated homes and out onto the patios and terraces—especially come mealtime. Outdoor dining is coming back folks, so we best get our affairs in order. Time to prepare those disused outdoor balconies, yards and other various nooks and get the home set for some outdoor dining. It has been so long since we have been outdoors, that we have forgotten that we’ve even got an outdoor dining area to begin with! 

Where to start? Fret not, for Homify is here with the goods—take a stroll through these wonderful examples of outdoor dining to come, and absorb some tips on how best to prepare your outdoor areas for the best of spring dining to come.

Make sure you have enough room

There is nothing worse than organising an outdoor dining event and discovering that you don’t have enough seating or space for all of your guests. Ensure numbers are counted and you have pre-prepared the area for dining. If in doubt, have an extra chair and place setting on hand, just in case an unexpected guest should show up unannounced.

Spectacular centrepiece

 Terrace by The Orange Lane
The Orange Lane

A house in Karjat

The Orange Lane

Time to make a statement, add that extra wow-factor, and ensure your dining experience is one to remember—statement centrepieces are an excellent way to brighten your dinner table, enhance your space and add a theme to your outside banqueting event. Try incorporating something seasonally appropriate, wild flowers for spring, holly or berries for winter, bright blooms for summer, or colourful leaves for autumn. For that added touch, consider matching your linen to the colour of your centrepiece, your dining table will be stylish, sophisticated and uber-elegant.

Provide enough shade

 Terrace by Kemp Sails LTD
Kemp Sails LTD

Various Shade Ideas

Kemp Sails LTD

One of the easiest mistakes to make when dining outdoors is forgetting to ensure guests have enough shade to hide underneath. In spring and autumn often you can get away with the bright streaming sun, but as the warmer months draw closer, it is imperative you ensure your table is set well underneath some shade and away from the burning sunlight. Try installing some shade in the form of sails or standalone umbrellas; they will prevent your food from spoiling and your guests from wincing while they enjoy their meal outdoors.

Floral arrangements

Don’t forget to accessorise! Floral arrangements are the most common way to brighten your table and infuse a sense of nature into your outdoor setting. Think outside the box and incorporate some interesting foliage and blooms into your space for a sense of beauty, elegance and class. This example shows several options when it comes to adorning your outdoor area; pick vintage birdcages, white ceramic pots and delicate lace plant holders for an interesting and stylish way to display your greenery.

Romantic dinner for two?

Everybody loves a romantic dinner for two, so why not head outdoors and enjoy the cool breeze, the sound of the crickets and the beautiful scenery. Find a comfortable spot to set up your table or picnic blanket and remember to incorporate all the trimmings—crockery, cutlery, snacks and a fine bottle of red will infuse a sense of whimsicality and elegant frivolity to your evening. If however it is too cold outside, consider a romantic balcony or winter garden such as shown in this example. Just add soft timber balcony furniture, luxurious loveseat for two, lavender and a good helping of tasty hors d’oeuvres and fine wine.

Coordinate your tableware

 Dining room by AllÓRA

Hand block printed linen tablecloth


Finally, the icing on the cake, the tableware—remember that your tableware will dictate the tone of your dining experience. If you choose light bright colours, your table will be sunny and lively, should you opt for some darker tones, the mood will be deeper and duskier.

For some more dining inspiration, check out the following ideabooks:

How to host a high tea

Dining room tables

 Houses by Casas inHAUS

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