Styling an outdoor Summer Table

Pablo Picasso said he begin with an idea, and then it became something else. Well, that pretty much explains what happened with this pseudo beach themed tablescape with a French Boho vibe. 


When Mrs. Katherine from Katherines Corner invited me to join the One More Time Tablescape Challenge I had no idea just how much of a challenge it would be.  Between misplacing some key elements, like the oyster shells I planned to use and a battle with bees attacking my bum, I can say with certainty that this was indeed a challenge. 


First, before you get a good laugh over the bee's in the bum story,  let's talk about the details of the table top fashion. 

French Country Farmhouse blog | How to create a summer dining tablescape with a tasteful elegant beach theme
Outdoor tablescape for a deck.

  Tips for TABLE COVERINGS & adding COLOR 

Styling a table is all about layering elements; blending soft fabrics, with neutral dishes, adding some texture and including a pop of color here and there until it's perfect. 

•  I started with a  droopy oversized white tablecloth as the base.

• The second layer is nothing fancy or expensive. It's just large piece of organza fabric left over from another project. 

• The third layer is a silky fabric covered in rich summery jewel tone colors. 

Nothing I used here was made for a table. In a future post I will share more of my secret table setting tips that are affordable, even super cheap without looking chintzy kind of cheap. 

Simple tips for setting a dining table... modern white dishes for a romantic beach themed table setting on a deck.

Mix & Match Old With New

The modern curve of the plates remind me of gentle ocean waves but the stark whiteness was a bit to bright in contrast to the twilight of Alaskas skies at 11 p.m. 


I set a few marine blue/green seashells in the center of each plate break to break up the glare. 

In my humble opinion, I think antique flatware with tarnish in all the right places is very beachy. What do you think? 

Ideas for styling a dining table on a summer deck with seashells

 Lets talk Affordable Stemware 

You've seen the stemware before. Do you remember the tablescape from a few months ago where I used a variety of these gorgeous Luigi Bormioli glasses? In case you missed it, check out the early spring tablescape here for more romantic table setting ideas that are still seasonably appropriate. 

The glassware is simply gorgeous and has the most beautiful reflective, luminescent quality to it that makes it sparkle ever so subtly on the tabletop. They are like a piece of jewelry to every table with the simple clean lines yet so beautiful in their own right. I've included an affiliate link. This is one set of glasses that are truly for any occasion, grand or a simple little table set out on a deck. 

Michaelangelo Masterpiece Collection

Outdoor tablescape for a deck.

A few blankets in an old basket are always a needed to ward off the chill of Alaskan air. The little side table is a simple little water station. Off to the side, I set a basket filled with fresh peaches into a favorite plant stand. 

Ideas for styling a dining table on a summer deck with seashells


Setting an outdoor tablescape full of beautiful aqua blue color with touches of purple wildflowers.

 Simple, Elegant, Affordable Dining  Centerpiece 

You're probably wondering what the mounding pile of dainty purple flowers and greenery are? Get in line for an answer. I'd like to know too! All I can tell you is that they grow wild in Anchorage and are climbers. In a way, they remind me of Wisteria.

 A few books stacked give some height to the long stemmed votive candle holder. The vine like flowers are wound around everything hiding all the books from view. 

 That's all there is to the centerpiece. It's super easy to do and completely budget friendly too. But gathering the flowers themselves wasn't exactly what I envisioned as being a relaxing peaceful afternoon of fun. Nope! Not even close!

Drink table idea for outdoor summer dining.

 Bee's in the Bum
Go Ahead... Have a Good Laugh at My Expense

Within a few moments of arriving on the scene to clip a bucket full of these nameless vining wildflowers, I felt a sharp pain in my arse. In fact, I felt several shots of pains similar to a hot needle piercing my skin. 


Then the itching started. 

I began to sweat. 

The burning and itching became simultaneous.

The sweating was getting worse and chills were intermittently sweeping across my whole body.


Sigh..... I knew what it was. Bees! I'm allergic to bees.

. . . the throbbing was getting worse by the second! 

 I tried to fight the urge, but I couldn't resist......

Set and style a beach themed table and decorate your deck with these affordable tips on the blog.

When my hand reached back to rub the tender area it met a weird sensation of wings flapping beneath my long flowing skirt. If you've never felt that feeling, take my word for it, it is an eery creepy feeling!

Trying not to panic but nonetheless totally panicking -in a real classy move- right on a high traffic street, up my skirt came as I smacked my rear-end and hopped around like a crazy person. The only thing I have going for me at this point is I probably looked no different than the guy a week ago who was dancing a sloppy drunken jig while standing on top of large boulders at a gas station.

In certain areas of Anchorage, sights like this are a frequent occurrence. So.... at least I have that going for me as I seemed to loss my pride and modesty along with the oyster shells and.  there's the fact that people didn't really notice me bearing my backside and spanking myself. Nonetheless, it's still a little embarrassing when a friend who actually owns the gas station pulls up and asked what I was doing just then. Geez. 

The bee's went straight for the tender spots, nestled into the nooks and crannies of my bum and got me good with FOUR stings! Yep! That's right! Nasty little suckers! The stings swelled up to about 5-6 inches across, rising high on my skin forming enormous red whelps and hurt for days despite prescription hydrocortisone and ridiculous amounts of Benadryl. I almost bought an inflatable donut cushion to sit on.

Evidently, pastel colors attract bee's. I didn't know that then but I do now. The next time I go on a wildflower picking adventure, if there is a next time, I won't be wearing pale shades of any color! I just might wrap myself in netting like bee keepers do but we'll see what the future holds. 

Styling an evening dinner table outdoors on a large deck. Tips for creating this look are on the blog

It's never a dull moment around here. If I'm not accidentally catching something on fire or giving myself third degree scalding burns, dropping chef knives on my foot and getting stitches in between my toes,  I'm getting stung by Bumble Bees. Pray for me. I need it. Ha ha. 

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  1. Looks absolutely gorgeous! Love all the blue! Sorry about the bees…the things we go through for decorating!!!

  2. A beautiful table with quite the tale! The blue glasses look great photographed during the blue hour! Hope your bum feels better!

    1. The stemware is actually clear. It’s picking up the colors around them in such a pretty way that it gives them a blueish hue. I am infaturated with Luigi Bormioli glassware. I didn’t know the glass would do that but I’m loving the effect. I can’t wait to use a different color scheme.

  3. Oh goodness, looking at your elegant table I would have never imagined the story that went along with it! Oh the lengths we will go to set a pretty table! Hope all is well now, your draping is beautiful andI love the light in your photos

    1. Oh my goodness the tales we all have about our adventures in decorating could probably be turned into a book. Ha ha. Thank you so much for the compliment and well wishes. I’m doing so much better now.

  4. Oh, my gosh, four stings in the bum! At that point, I would’ve fled the scene asap. Hats off to you for hanging in there. The unknown flowers are beautiful and just right for this table.
    I’ve been lucky enough to find some flatware with tarnish in all the right places and they really enhance a table setting. The little extras like the blankets and basket of peaches are the little details that enhance the entire setting. It’s beautiful and I hope you’ve recovered from the bee stings.

  5. You are hilarious! What a funny post, oh you poor dear! I totally understand. I can’t stand anything that crawls underfoot unless it’s babies, lol. I’m also just about the same if a spider happens to light anywhere on my person. EEEk.
    Olivia, your table is stunning. All those beautiful hints of blue really speak to my heart. Such beautiful photography, as well…something I still need to work on!

    1. Creepy crawly things must die is my motto! The only spiders I allow to live are Daddy Long Legs because they eat all the other nasty ones. Up here we have Brown Recluses to worry about. About the only thing that I can stand in a crawling stance are babies too. Ha ha!!!

      Thank you so much for stopping by. I’m so happy you liked the blues and photos. This is the first time I’ve ever branched out to try a darker still of photography. I was hoping, praying and crossing my fingers it wouldn’t be a bust. I second guessed myself so many times and sent the photos to Larissa and asked everyone I could think of if they looked “too dark”. So, it really makes my happy that you liked them. Just keep practicing and trying different settings. You will see a huge difference from month to month and even year to year. If I can ever help, just shoot me a message and I will certainly try to help you. I don’t know a whole heck of a lot but I know enough to help guide people.

  6. Your photography is exquisite. Not to mention the tablescape itself. I love the soft pastel colors. Shooting at twilight was the optimal choice.
    🙂 gwingal

    1. Whew I’m so glad you like it. Shooting at this time was a huge leap for me. I second guessed myself through the entire process, getting by on a wing and a prayer that they would turn out like what I saw in my mind. Even as I attached them to this post I felt apprehensive and like I might have gotten just a bit to big for my britches. Ha ha. It makes feel more confident now that others are liking the photos.

  7. you set a lovely table my friend. Oh my goodness the bee stings, the floral dress the burns the toe…eek..its time for a little meditation and of course you are in my nightly prayers always. Thank you for participating in the challenge my friend xo

  8. O.k. I hate to say it, but the bee stings were worth it! Your tablescape is so gorgeous! I love the soft romantic feeling you have created! Your tips on how to create a romantic table are great too! Thank you so much for inviting me to take part! I hope your bum feels better soon! Keep an eye on it as a lady I know was stung and needed antibiotics a week later. xoxo