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Afternoon Alfresco

Outdoor dining is a joy to be cherished, and it gives you a great opportunity to show your creativity on the tabletop.

  • When dining outdoors, use inexpensive sheets in lieu of a tablecloth for easy care.
  • Set the table with your sterling silver flatware for a touch of luxury in an unexpected venue.
  • Elegant yet perfectly practical for both indoor and outdoor dining, sterling silver flatware is the perfect complement to every meal.
  • Not all place settings need to be the same: Create more interesting mixes by combining several dishes in related colors.
  • Focus place settings with consistent green straw mats while using assorted napkins to offer individual personality to each one.
  • Create an alfresco centerpiece with potted plants and clay pots; inverted pots hold pillar candles of assorted colors and heights.
  • Use scrubbed pots to serve foods like grapes or breadsticks.
  • Add color by day with candles, and then soft light when the sun goes down.
  • Instead of placing people around one table, consider putting them along one side of the table to face a view or face away from a distracting one.

Having place cards puts people where you want them. Here, a green apple adds a nice color accent and coordinates with the garden theme.

  • Colorful napkins are held between the plates and draped toward the chair for a unique look.
  • Sterling flatware adds contrast to the round textured mats.
  • Elegant stemware provides balance to the natural elements in the center of the table.

Let your dinnerware influence your design direction.

  • Here, a leaf like those seen on the plate was used for a name card.
  • Sterling silver flatware adds a bit of luxury to casual dining and elegance for use on special occasions.

Sometimes the best ideas come from the things around you — including the textures and the patterns on your dishes!

  • A simple shell makes a great place card. Note how the texture on the plate coordinates with the forms on the shell and the sterling silver flatware.
  • The name card shell makes a beautiful personalized gift for your guests and a reminder of a wonderful dinner party.

Accent pieces add interest to your entertaining style.

  • A cabbage-leaf salad plate and bowl, bunny salt and pepper shakers and a cookie jar add whimsical uniqueness to this tabletop.
  • Sterling flatware adds a beautiful finishing touch to the table.