The 4th of July has come and gone, but there are many more parties to come in the hot summer months. Hot days match up with abundant hot tropical colors like hot pink, outrageous orange, and yummy yellow. So pull out all the stops…but don’t break the bank! Shop end-of-season clearance sales like I do to stock up for next summer!
(Click on any photo, then click again to enlarge/enhance it.)
I am just head over heels with these stretch tablecloths from LinenTablecloth.com. They don’t pay me to say that…I just love these tablecloths! Who wants to mess around with a lot of unnecessary ironing in the hot summer? Not me! That’s why these have become my tablecloth of choice. Just stretch them on, and all the wrinkles go bye-bye. (Oh, how I wish it worked that way with my face and neck!!! 😉 ) They come in 7 different colors and 2 sizes. For me, these are a summer (and anytime!) must-have! (Students and freshman tablescapers: I used white to ground the setting and to play up all the color on the table. Students, you’ll remember we talked about wanting to avoid color saturation.)
I used the trio of hot pink, orange and yellow placemats from Bed, Bath & Beyond to give each place setting a distinctive look. Each guest can pick his or her favorite! Orange-rimmed hot pink melamine plates from Burlington sit atop plain white Corelle dishes at each place setting. A bright yellow napkin folded into a simple triangle is a constant around the table, as are the brilliant orange acrylic flatware and hot pink acrylic tumblers, also from Burlington. (Students, you can successfully mix one or two elements, but be sure to have plenty of “constants” that visually tie the tablescape together.) The fun mesh food covers to keep the pests away are from Z Gallerie. I bought them several years ago but have just this summer had occasion to use them.
This centerpiece relies solely upon color and candlelight. The “runner” is an overlapping repeat of the colorful placemats used at each place setting. Metal lanterns in the theme colors are from Hobby Lobby. (Students, notice the odd number – 5 – used, and recall our discussion about “the Rule of 3” and how odd numbers are easy on the eye.) The rest of the table is sporadically dotted with votives, again using all three colors.
Over the years I have collected a number of paper parasols. These from Hobby Lobby are just plain fun to add color and motion to the space. Notice they are not completely extended as they might otherwise be for other uses. Also notice how they extend the color from the dining table to the perimeter of the dining environment. (I recently spent 2 hours carefully measuring and drilling holes to insert a number of small rubber-coated cup hooks in the overhangs on our back deck. They can stay up year round for displaying whatever I wish out there on a whim! The hooks are the same color as the house, so they just “disappear”!)
I always like the buffet table to complement the dining table in some way. Here, a 90″ x 132″ white tablecloth drops full-length (to stash catering stuff underneath!) and is topped with an 85-in. square fuchsia and a 70-in. square yellow, both from LinenTablecloth.com. (Sorry, folks…the yellow has been recently discontinued. They do, however, have a great new color called “cantaloupe” that would be fabulous in this setting!)
To add to the tropical feel of the space, I created a “palm tree” on the buffet table using a white lacquered bamboo vase purchased at Z Gallerie a few years back. (I weighted it down with pea gravel to keep it from tipping over.) Palm fronds from Michael’s are artfully arranged to create the “tree.” The centerpiece is placed off-center.
When I put a tablescape together, I look through my computerized catalog (read about it HERE) and just type in keywords to find things in various categories in the color(s) I need. Without that catalog, I might have forgotten about this fun orange metal ice bucket. The yellow metal shabby chic bowl adds a little visual texture with its wavy lines. A white melamine chip ‘n dip tray takes on new life to display various tropical fruits on ice.
The beverage center is set up on one end of the buffet table. This display is proof positive that you don’t have to spend a lot of money to create a fun look. The orange and pink plastic tubs from Old Time Pottery were about $3 each. Just fill with ice and insert beverages! The plastic pitchers were about $3 each, too, and are a great way to serve large quantities of your signature cocktail. Put drink garnishments like cherries and lemon slices on a cute melamine tray like this one from my friend, Monica, who recently gifted me with a bunch of these babies. 🙂 Finally, cocktail parasols in a colorful martini glass could make even your daily Metamucil go down easy! (Yes, I speak from experience!) The cocktail parasols mimic those used in the decor as well as dress up the drinks.
So there you have it…a tropical, fun-in-the-sun, casual, easy, budget-friendly dining environment in hot colors that will keep your guests in the partying mood long after the lightning bugs have said goodnight! This tablescape would be perfect for a summertime birthday, rehearsal dinner, bridal shower, bon voyage party, beach party, or just any occasion that calls for f-u-n!