I’m a big fan of Guelph’s new downtown dining district! It’s such a great idea to boost moral and the economy, in a responsible way. On a nice warm night, it has such a European feel. It took me right back to my childhood vacations in France and Spain. But for those of us who love to host, or are not ready to venture into the crowds yet, I’m sharing a few helpful tips to help take your outdoor dining space to the next level!
Just under 2 months of summer left! Can you believe it? I’ve no doubt the last few months have been a blur for many people and if you’re anything like me, entertaining outdoors with family and friends, is your favourite way to unwind and escape.
You can create a fabulous outdoor space, that will help you squeeze every last minute of enjoyment out of this summer, no matter your budget!
Whether your style preference is…
1. ‘SIT’ THE SCENE
Are you the host that loves to sit, sip and chat around the table for hours, long after dessert has been served and the dishes have been cleared? Or do you prefer to politely move your guests to a sitting area after dinner?
Planning how your evenings typically unfold, will determine the best choice of seating for you and your guests.
If you go to a restaurant and the food is amazing, the service is great but the chair was really uncomfortable, you remember it, right? I certainly do. My husband laughs and says it’s only because of my job and maybe he’s right! 😉 but giving your guests a thoughtfully selected chair, will definitely add to their experience.
There are a variety of ways to create a comfortable seat or bench. The photos above give you some great ideas for each style.
2. CREATIVE CONTRASTS
If you’re starting from scratch with new furniture, don’t be afraid to mix and match your table and chairs.
Invest in a statement table, that will last the ages, and let it be the centre of attention (no pun intended! 😉 ) A lot of patio furniture suppliers will encourage you to buy matching sets, but let your adventurous side out and mix it up! It will be worth the searching.
If you already have your table and chairs and are looking to accessorize, try blending a variety of textures i.e. wood, ceramic, glass, mixed metals, greenery, wicker, etc, that are cohesive with your style. Remember the magic rule of odd numbers when purchasing decor – in groups or rows of 1, 3 or 5.
I guarantee the varied mix of decor will spark some great conversation over dinner and you’ll feel like a decorating queen!
3. IT ALL IN THE DETAILS
From the centre piece to the little sprig of rosemary tucked in the napkin, every little detail makes a difference. You don’t have to go overboard, a couple of touches in the table setting says you’ve thought of everything and your guests are in for a great night!
However, if the occasion calls for a big spread, you can have a lot of fun with layering.
Here’s the typical order I use, if I’m going all out: (in order from bottom to top) Placemat, charger, dinner plate, salad and/or side plate, bowl, napkin and small decor piece. (Sometimes I lay the napkin flat underneath the bowl and place the decor piece inside the bowl or beside the plate)
Pro Tip: If you can, take a little fresh greenery or florals from your garden to include in the centrepiece to give it a little personal touch.
4. LIGHT UP THE NIGHT
Ensure you can take the fun long into the night with a great outdoor lighting plan.
The industrial bulb string lights are certainly on trend this year and look so cozy but there are also some great battery-powered or solar outdoor lighting options out there too. One of my favourites so far is this rattan light from Article.
I personally love a natural candlelight look. It requires a little extra effort to light but I love the eclectic look you can create with a mix of lanterns styles.
Happy Hosting! 🙂