Easy Ways to Dress Up the Summer Table

Some simple summer centerpieces and decorating ideas, like perky sunflowers and personalized place cards, can elevate a low-key meal and make it feel fabulous.

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Photo By: Melanie Grizzel ©2012, Cooking Channel, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

©She-N-He.com

Photo By: Melanie Grizzel ©2012, Cooking Channel, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Simple, Stylish Solutions

Summer is the season of leisurely dinner parties, dining alfresco and plenty of last-minute entertaining. The longer days and warmer weather make us want to linger on the patio with friends (and give our kids "five more minutes!" in the pool). But the laid-back vibe of the season doesn’t mean you can't have a fantastic-looking table, too. These easy tips will help you turn your next event –– or any summer meal –– into a gathering you'll remember.

Fruit at the Forefront

Create an easy centerpiece with fresh seasonal fruit. An urn-shaped vase filled with oranges or a simple white bowl of fresh yellow lemons can instantly brighten any table.

Plates With Personality

Make an everyday dinner feel special by adding a simple white place card to each guest's place setting. Dress it up even more by adding a single fresh flower to each plate. 

 

Tabletop Sunshine

Celebrate summer with a row of cheerful sunflowers down the middle of your table. 

Picnic Ring Roulette

Dress up a plain picnic table by using mismatched vintage napkins in silver napkin rings.

A Flight of Fancy

Break out the good stuff! Even if you seldom host events that require formal china, crystal and silver, you can use just one of these elements to make an everyday table feel special. For example, your grandmother's antique silver can look great alongside your everyday dishwasher-friendly plates and glasses.

Specialty Sipware

Invest in specialty glasses to go with your favorite drink! Whether it's a set of handblown margarita glasses or silver (or silver-plated) mint julep cups, guests will enjoy sipping specialty drinks from their intended barware.

Homespun Menus

Create a custom menu card to give a casual gathering a polished feel. Type and print from your home computer or hand-write a short description of each course to add the gourmet touch to any meal.

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Host the perfect summer celebration with these tips from entertaining expert Camille Styles. With the right game plan, even party prep can be fun and stress-free.