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ROMANTIC FRENCH COUNTRY SUMMER TABLE | How to Set your Table like a PRO

We all love to entertain any time of year, but there is something special about gathering friends and family in the long, relaxed days of summer.

Today, I’ve teamed up with some inspiring ladies to bring you lots of summer entertaining ideas hosted by Lory of Designthusiasm. If you are new here, welcome! If you’ve come over from Ann of onsuttonplace, thank you so much for stopping here. I know you were inspired, Ann has such great style!

I love sharing tips for living a beautiful life, creating a home that expresses your own style, and most of all, I love to share my enthusiasm about antiques and their secret past lives.

Those of you who know me, know that I love nothing more than styling a beautiful table. But lately I’ve been receiving some emails and messages on IG from you asking for some tips to make it easier and less stressful.

Table-setting can be a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be! These days we’re not bound by stuffy rules, we can take liberties that our grandmothers or even mothers wouldn’t have thought to do.

We can set our tables the way we design our homes, putting the emphasis on our own personal style, using quirky, storied pieces that have meaning to us. We can add a bit of whimsy, add layers, and make our tables a feast for the eyes and soul.

Whether you are having a few of your best friends over to celebrate the weekend, or hosting an elaborate five-course dinner, here are my best tips to help you set your fabulous, romantic French Country style tables like a pro.

 

Deciding the overall ambience you want your event to have will determine what details you’ll want to weave into your overall setting. Formal or casual? From your menu to your centerpieces, the colors you use, and the napkins you use and how you place it all on the table, it all stems from this first decision.

Most hosts or hostesses plan a more casual table setting for a casual meal. Me? I like to mix it up! I love using antique fine china, or these gorgeous hand painted plates with their stunning designs for a more casual meal.  Fine china will work for any occasion, it just depends on how you style it.

 

I am over the moon in love with these hand made, hand painted plates that emulate Delft.  Made entirely by hand in Oxford, England, by Deborah Sears, each one of these is an original work of art.  Aren’t they gorgeous?! I couldn’t believe it when I found a set. They were the inspiration for this table setting.

The beautiful hand-painted patterns Paladian and English Gardens evoke the spirit of 17th and 18th century England, I couldn’t wait to plan a table around these!

For this table, I used one of our new Grey Linen Tablecloths to ground the table. The color and texture of the linen makes the plates look amazing.  {below is a photograph of the luxurious ruffle…snapped before the table was set}

Underneath each plate I folded my favorite pink ruffled linen napkins from PomPom at Home. {sad to say, they are discontinued, I have just 4 sets left for sale on the shop site}

 

 

Even in a simpler table setting, you can make each guest place feel special.  There are so many fun, thoughtful details you can add; easy small touches that let your guests know this is more than a thrown together evening of food.

Place cards, while seemingly a little old-fashioned, are a thoughtful way to let your guests know you are excited they are joining you.  If you are handy with a calligraphy pen, a personally written card is beautiful, but if you are not {like me} just print cards out on your computer and printer, there are plenty of pretty fonts to choose from.

One of my very favorite tricks that cost pennies but adds a fabulous touch of  WOW to your table is to take a photograph of the dishes, then use a graphic program to print out little name cards, and a menu. Easy! Our guests never fail to exclaim over them.

 

Little sprigs of greenery or a blossom on every plate is a stunning, simple way to bring drama to your setting.

Flowers. Fresh flowers in a free flowing arrangement always add beauty to any of your tables. You can mix in a little “faux” here and there, but there is nothing like fresh, real flowers to bring all out luxury to your table top.

These? 2 bunches of roses, one bunch of mini-carnations, one bunch of pink something else {forgot-sorry! and of course I threw away the wrapping} and 2 bunches of seeded eucalyptus branches from Trader Joe’s. Total: $22.00.I added in a small hydrangea blossom from the garden that snapped off in the wind. Nothing to break the bank, so that you have money left in your budget for that fabulous bottle of champagne.

TIP: Choose colors that are close to each other to create a luxurious, high end look.

A little whimsy and fun. I placed pink and white taffy candies in antique Venetian goblets with a touch of gold on the table. JUST. FOR. FUN. Because, who doesn’t like fun?

Printed Menu. This makes any casual setting instantly thoughtful. It also gives your guests a hint at what’s coming further in the evening, so that they know if they want to save room for dessert, or not.

Don’t clutter up your tabletop so there isn’t room to “breathe”, you want there to be space for eyes to rest, and for adding a basket of bread, butter, or a dish of fruit for your guests to enjoy.

Just because you are using fine china, real napkins and flowers, don’t fall into the trap of the expected.  You want to create an atmosphere for your guests to feel relaxed, not scared to ruin your table settings!  {read= this means don’t use your gold encrusted museum-quality plates for a dinner party without placing a clear glass plate on the top, so your guests feel like it’s ok to use their knife}

Even your formal table settings should have a casual, relaxed feeling. Focus on keeping things simple, using plates, glassware and flatware that your guests will be comfortable using.  While these plates are hand painted and of true luxury quality, the grey glasses are ones that I picked up for less than $2.00 a few years back. I love tables that use this high/low mix!

Adding unexpected touches like your name cards, your menu printed out, a silly quote, or a dinner party favor that is whimsical will elevate your table above the expected.  The whole idea is to spend time with your friends and family enjoying each other’s company and having your laughter ring around the table.

Don’t second-guess or overthink your table setting. If setting a table overwhelms you, it will show as stress to your guests. Having a good time is the whole reason you are preparing your table for your event or meal.

For this dinner party, I pulled up one of our French benches, topped it with a faux fur {shhh…one of the kids dropped a chocolate on it, and I haven’t had time to wash the cover yet} which is not only comfortable but hides a multitude of sins – see chocolate secret, above.

It just happens that these dishes have a matching platter, so I used it for serving a summer salad.

And served these little pink ice cream desserts on a scalloped plate. This is not often my usual when setting tables at FrenchGardenHouse.  Usually, it’s a mix match of everything I love.

Not everything has to match, ever! Just have fun with your setting, light a few candles and enjoy the evening.

 

 

A relaxed hostess is the best gift you can give guests.  Have fun. The evening is ready for dinnertime chatting, catching up, and making memories.

I put together a small source list, since so many of you always ask.

 photo French-country-grey-tableclotht.jpg| photo Sears-hand-painted-delft-platter.jpg|  photo Charlie-pink-ruffle-napkin-1.jpg | photo Untitled_1.jpg

I hope you enjoyed this summer table setting post and make sure to go to my friend Lory at Designthusiasm. I know you will leave inspired!

Designthusiasm

Garden party decorations | Tabletop tips for summer entertaining - designthusiasm.com

Citrine Living

outdoor-blue-and-white-tablescape-ginder-jars-and-lantern

Bless’er House

patriotic tablescape

StoneGable

StoneGable

On Sutton Place

outdoor dining al fresco crystal goblet

French Garden House

Romantic-French-Country-Summer-Table-setting

Monday’s Posts

Monday summer

Shabbyfufu | Randi Garrett Design | Maison de Cinq | My Soulful Home | Zevy Joy

Tuesday’s Posts

Summer Blog Tour Tuesday

Life on Virginia Street | Town and Country Living | Celebrating Everyday Life
So Much Better With Age | Decor Gold Designs | French Country Cottage

Wednesday’s Posts

Designthusiasm | Citrine Living | Bless’er House
StoneGable | On Sutton Place | French Garden House

Thursday’s Posts

Becky Cunningham | The Wood Grain Cottage | Eleven Gables

THANK YOU FOR JOINING ME TODAY! PLEASE JOIN ME FOR EVERY POST BY SIGNING UP TO RECEIVE FRENCHGARDENHOUSE IN YOUR EMAIL INBOX. 

30 Responses to ROMANTIC FRENCH COUNTRY SUMMER TABLE | How to Set your Table like a PRO

  1. Thank you Susan. We are following you over there in France with our own heat wave, so I fear they won’t last long. But I adore these colors!

  2. Lidy, what a gorgeous and luxurious table! I love what you did here and your tips are so useful! Those handpainted plates are spectacular!!

  3. Thanks so much, Tamara, I love seeing everyone’s summer tables, your’s is such an inspiration!

  4. Dear Lidy, this is the most beautiful site on the internet!!
    Thank you for always making it so lovely, such a delight.

    Happy summer!

  5. Mary Lois, thank you so much. I hope you are having a beautiful summer, too!

  6. Your table setting is lovely and inviting as always Lidy. So glad I was the lucky winner of your (February?) giveaway and opted for those gorgeous blush napkins! Knowing they’re almost gone, I think I need more! Thanks Lidy!
    Ginger

  7. So happy you got one of the very last sets. I know that you love this color, I do, too!

    Thank you Ginger! I hope you are having a beautiful summer month,

  8. Lidy, this is absolutely stunning! I too am a huge fan of a high/low mix or simply casual elegance and you’ve nailed it perfectly! The table is lovely, the room is beautiful, but those flowers are show-stopping!! Love that you gave the “recipe”… 🙂 Interesting note – before I was a blogger I was a calligrapher and used to do menus and table cards for events! How fun that you’ve used them here. Great job!!

  9. Thank you Lory! Oh, I envy you the calligraphy skills…mine are fairly nonexistent. Thank goodness I know my way around graphic programs fairly well and can still produce something sort of special with those! Thanks again for organizing this tour, it’s so inspiring and great fun!

  10. Lidy, your table is gorgeous! I really appreciate all of the tips! I have a few family heirloom plates that I have never used because I was concerned they might get damaged. Thank you for the clear glass plate tip! I’m excited to pull them out of the pantry! Gorgeous flowers and the linens are perfection! Thank you for sharing. Happy Summer! Toodles, Kathryn @TheDedicatedHouse

  11. Kathryn, thank you, and thanks so much for visiting! The glass plates are a life saver, especially if the plates have that gold hand applied ornamentation, but really this works for any plate you don’t want damaged.

    Happy summer!

  12. Lidy, you knocked this table clear out of the park!! The hand painted dishes are extraordinary. There is always a touch of sweet elegance and casualness as in the taffy in that exquisite goblet. Love the shades of pink awith the dark grey. Thanks for the tips. I can always count on learning from you and so appreciate your sharing your expertise. The table is truly joyful!!!

  13. Very pretty! I love the brown tablecloth…it’s down to earth and the perfect backdrop for your china and roses. I also love the casual look of the napkins. Very inspiring!

    Jane x

  14. Everything is just stunning Lidy…but my favorite things of all are the ruffles. The tablecloth and napkins just stole my heart!

  15. Lidy the tablescape is beautiful. I am really enjoying the tablecloth. I’ve never seen one with ruffles before and that rich grey color really adds to the overall look. It makes the lovely china stand out even more.

  16. Thank you Mary, I love this cloth! In natural or grey, it’s linen, it’s got texture, and it’s got ruffles! It’s amazing!

  17. Hi Kelly! Thank you for your visit, and sweet compliment. Yes, they are strawberry mochi. I had every intention of serving those for dessert after the shoot day, but somehow I ate them all myself. bad. very bad.

  18. I just love reading your posts! Everything is always so beautiful! I’m always anxious to see what you’ve done when I see your email in my inbox!

  19. Thank you so much for that sweet compliment Beverly! Hope you have a happy weekend!

  20. Wow Lidy, this is so stunning! I love every bit of this table, but especially those gorgeous plates! Your table is elegant without being stuffy – and I love the dining chairs so much!

    Wonderful post!

    Sheila

  21. It’s just so gorgeous, Lidy! Those plates are amazing and I LOVE salt water taffy! This whole table is so French. Gorgeous as always.
    Hugs, Jamie

  22. This table is absolutely stunning, Lidy! I love all the tablesettings you create but this one is just a work of art and etherealness. Thank you for always sharing a love of history of the pieces you have and sell in your online shop and for sharing inspirational settings. I learn something new each time I drop by.

    Lovely,
    Barb 🙂

  23. Lidy,
    You always set a beautiful table with extra special touches. I love the idea of using place cards and menu cards made from photos of the table china.

    Judth

  24. Judith, thank you so much! I love those simple, special things that take a few minutes and are practically FREE to elevate any table.

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