I am so honored to have been published in Victoria Magazine’s summer issue.  If you haven’t seen it, it’s a glorious issue filled with inspiration! Not just that, they also featured my Five Secrets for Creating a Summer Tablescape on their website {with antiques!}


Five Secrets for Creating a Summer Tablescape


“Tabletops donned with breezy linens, fragrant blossoms, and cherished antiques are the site of countless cheerful summer moments. Under the tutelage of FrenchGardenHouse curator Lidy Baars, we explore ways for bringing joy to outdoor gatherings. In this exclusive feature, we share her top five tips on using time-swept pieces in your alfresco entertaining spaces.”


Five Secrets for Creating a Summer Tablescape


So exciting! I thought I would do my own blog post for you too.


Five Secrets for Creating a Summer Tablescape.


Your table should bring a bit of wow factor to the occasion, so bring on your inherited silver, mix it with some really crazy fun plates you bought on vacation one year, and add a few personal quirky antiques.  Adding one of a kind antiques to your table will add a wow factor, and also give guests something to talk about.

This is one of my most visited table top posts from last summer.  I layered this outdoor table with an antique French sheet, and used contemporary enameled plates and added French antique pieces for a fun accent. The new linen baguette bag is a great touch and keeps the bread warm and fresh for a while outdoors!




Five Secrets for Creating a Summer Tablescape
Red Enameled Dinner Plates | French Linen Bardot Napkins | Checked Country Bowls | Country Check Red Plates

French Baker’s Bread Basket | comparable French Bottle Carrier | Linen French Bread Bag


Just have fun with your tables. You can use little antique silver baby cups to hold your floral arrangements, use a small silver teapot to serve sauce for a fruit dessert, and think outside the box as much as possible. You want the occasion to be memorable and magical!



When you entertain outdoors, the garden is a colorful backdrop. There’s less need for decorating your table with “extras” when you are outdoors. Use Mother Nature as your decorating and styling assistant! When you entertain in summer, use your most colorful linens, or dishes that have bolder colors to mimic the garden flowers. Our French tablecloths in bright cheery color are especially great for outdoor entertaining, and they make a wonderful back drop for antique ironstone!


Summer Entertaining French Style


Five Secrets for Creating a Summer Tablescape


summer edit

French Avignon Menton Tablecloth | Antique French Sterling Salad Servers | Antique Limoges Sauce Server



More than anything, the most important thing to keep in mind when collecting treasured finds for your tabletops is that they should be something that you love. Anything is a candidate for a great table setting: it could be the material, the shape, the color, or even a memory attached to something that endears a certain treasure to your heart.  If it is costly, and others value it, but you don’t love it, pass it up. Life is too short to surround yourself with things that you don’t find beautiful, and that don’t bring you joy!

Blue always reminds me of my Mom, who adored blue and white. So setting a table outdoors in the garden always reminds me of her – especially when I use blue and white antiques! This French huge ironstone pitcher has a wonderful blue and white floral design, and it is large enough to hold some of the garden’s best blooms. Next time, I might serve ice cold sweet tea or lemonade in it…pretty much everything is multi-faceted around here!

The antique basket holds wine this time, but next time it may just as likely hold long French breads, or rolled up napkins. See what I mean?


The Promise of spring


The Promise of spring


summer guide
Avignon French Tablecloth | Enameled White Salad Plates | Chunky Linen Napkins

Five Secrets for Creating a Summer Tablescape

French Willow Market Basket | French Poubelle de Table | Antique French Ironstone Pitcher



Your antique beauties shouldn’t be gathering dust in a closet, fine antiques and quality things are meant to celebrate life’s moments with family and friends. All your special pieces deserve their day in the sun and can add so much charm to your space when actually utilized rather than hidden away for safekeeping. Honestly, I can’t tell you how sad I kind of am when I am able to purchase sets of dishes or exceptional linens for the shop from a family who “never used them.”


Live with your antiques! Share your antiques. That spot on your beautiful French patchwork tablecloth from when one of your little people threw over a glass of red juice? It may fade over time, but it will always be a reminder of how darling that little person was at that age. What can take the place of that?! This table was originally for Valentine’s Day, but will work just as well as a summer table, inside, if it’s too hot. The flowered plates, antique “vase” and flowers in summery bold colors are so cheerful!




Five Secrets for Creating a Summer Tablescape
Antique Gold Embossed Dinner Plates | comparable French Bottle Carrier | comparable Antique Wine Holder



If you’ve read me for a while, you KNOW I’m a huge fan of this! Use unusual antiques to corral napkins or to display your food. It creates a more relaxed feeling and brings that fun factor to any gathering. Adding one-of-a-kind objects to your table as a conversation starter is a great way to use your antiques. Think out of the box, use antiques in practical and unexpected ways!

For this buffet, I moved our large table to the wall, and displayed a collection of antique French jars in antique Dutch flower crates. The ironstone sugar pot holds cutlery, once I made the food and the guests arrived, the antique French white ironstone tureens were filled with salad, platters held cheese and meats, baguettes, and fruit. I even press my antique jelly molds into service as serving pieces to hold wedges of lemon, or blue berries. Anything is game for a table!




19th Century Ironstone Server | Vintage French Canning Jar | Provence Gold Candle & Bee Match Set

Aside from these Five Secrets for Creating a Summer Tablescape, when preparing my own table for company, I try to concentrate on the guests coming and what I think they would love. It doesn’t take much to make guests feel special, it can be anything from a napkin tied with a piece of garden twine and a flower tucked on top of a napkin on each plate, to a simple place card with your guest’s name written on it. All these easy things show that you have prepared to have a good time with guests.  A party or dinner is a success if you look down your table and see your guests laughing together and having a good time!


Five Secrets for Creating a Summer Tablescap


It’s important to celebrate life’s little and big moments, don’t hesitate to entertain. You may, or may not, have a collection of beautiful tabletop pieces at your fingertips, but it’s YOU that your guests come to see, not your table setting. Enjoy every moment with the people you love!




Shop for the best in French Antiques, furniture with the patina of age, vintage accessories to delight you and your family & friends, and French Country utilitarian pieces. Treasures that make your home fresh, beautiful, inspirational and above all uniquely yours. Visit our shop FrenchGardenHouse.com