Late August is here and we are realizing how fast this summer has flown by and reminiscing on our past adventures. Rest assured that we can halt our end of summer blues and keep milking every last ounce of sunshine, sunscreen, and rosé. We just experienced a total solar eclipse sweeping through the middle of our country and Labor Day is around the corner to cap the summer off. Celebrating natural phenomenons, holidays, or the season itself allows us to share homes, food, patriotic colors, and galactic elements. These moments together are especially cherished around the table. Whether it is an ocean-weathered wood table, antique table, or a brand new varnished table waiting to gracefully age with every meal, any style table has a story and shares a commonality in hosting togetherness. The way we dress it, accessorize it, or stuff it with chairs and people communicates a special message and feeling. My family has always enjoyed the process of creating an atmosphere for family and friends. Atmosphere is everything! My husband Henry is a self-proclaimed master of creating atmosphere. I guess I will give it to him because he makes setting the mood look easy. And it is easy! Setting an atmosphere does not have to be fussy. Something as simple as candlelight or freshly picked roses can make a casual setting more meaningful. It does not always have to be perfect for your guests to enjoy themselves. Your efforts are always consciously or subconsciously appreciated even with only a couple atmosphere-building steps.
For our family, August hosts time for celebration with my mom’s and my birthday. It is a given that we will celebrate beachside as a family in Carpinteria, California. We set the table on the deck outside where we will squeeze in relatives and friends on the long benches flanking the table. I always enjoy setting the table here because not only do I get to play with color and textures but it also involves using my grandmother’s dishware and accessories. It’s eclectic, beautiful, and borderline un-beachy but, that is what I love about it. The crystal glassware and bamboo silverware along with the Italian water glasses and platters are some of my favorites. All timeless and well loved over the years. So, how do I use all my favorite table accessories for a yummy birthday dinner by the beach? Let’s set the table!
Step 1: Summer Tablecloth
We decided on a blue French Provençal tablecloth however, letting the weathered wood shine is another option. If you decide on no tablecloth, use woven placemats like these to match the beachy aesthetic while adding sophistication.
Step 2: Driftwood Hurricanes
I found these hiding in a closet after restoring our beach house. They are so unique! They are very beachy and add movement and texture to the table. Other options could include table lanterns like these rattan lanterns by Serena & Lily.
Step 3: Flowers & Eclectic Vases
I used a vintage ceramic watering can vase and a simple glass vase to hold my flowers. I like using a variety of style vases because they add character to the setting. I also used yellow flowers to add a pop to the blue-toned tablecloth and napkins. It all works in harmony.
Step 4: Bamboo Silverware & Colorful Napkins
I like my grandmother’s bamboo silverware set because it is classic! If you can’t get your hands on bamboo, go for a different natural texture like wood like these. Have fun with the napkins! I like to use colors and patterns to elevate the setting. It plays with the tablecloth or can be a nice contrast to an ocean-weathered table.
Step 5: Warm Lighting
We used outdoor lanterns and hurricanes to set the mood. I love the movement of a flame and the ambiance of warm lighting surrounding the table.
Happy Labor Day!