Make the most of your outside space this summer. From garden parties and elegant dinners to everyday picnics, barbecues or even afternoon tea, embrace the sunshine and create an inviting atmosphere that will welcome family and friends to enjoy the outdoors with you.

Tara O’Connor offers her step-by-step guide to creating the perfect garden tablescape…

  • A tablescape is meant to elevate the entertaining experience. It is a way to show your guests that you care about them and the meal is special. This does not have to be something you spend a lot of money on – or even any money at all! Some of the prettiest tablescapes I have ever seen have included flowers picked from the garden and everyday dishes. Your homeware will show your style so make sure to impress with your table setting and add an element of theatre to your entertaining this summer.
  • The first step is to find your inspiration. This can be something around you, seasonal elements, the food you are serving or a colour you love. You do not need to go out and buy new things every time you entertain. I personally look to the garden or nearby parks and green spaces to see what I can find that will add a little lift to my table.
  • If you don’t have a garden table, don’t worry. I love to bring my kitchen table outside and dress it up for summer entertaining.

  • First add your tablecloth – this creates a great foundation and base for your table.
    If tablecloths are not for you, add a runner down the centre. Make sure you iron it smooth, so you have no creases. We have made it easy to shop for a summer tablescape with our Tablescapes in a Box so you have a summer tabletop in one click.
  • If you’re looking to inject fresh colours to your table for summer, try combining greens and blues or pinks and reds for a colour scheme that will really sing. My new Jaipur floral block print collection comes in two colourways – light green and light blue – that work well separately or together and was inspired by the beautiful city gardens and sites of Jaipur so it’s ideal for an elegant garden setting. Or try my new check collection in a vibrant pink, red and white gingham print finished with a red or pink trimmed jute placemat and pink or red napkin for a whimsical tablescape made for summer celebrations.
  • I normally decide on flowers first and match them to the tablescape. There are so many seasonal flowers around us so explore your natural surrounds and see what you can discover. Your flowers will create your centrepiece, as they normally run down the centre of the table. Always test each seat to make sure you can see your guests and place larger candelabras at the end of the table. I also love adding little pots of spring bulbs in flower to tables this time of year, and lots of tea lights.

  • Add depth to your tablescape with placemats. Then add a charger plate for more formal occasions for another layer. Wrap a napkin in a napkin ring or tie with a piece of ribbon for the perfect finishing touch. To create visual interest and add some extra vibrancy and colour, add a side plate in a different and contrasting print.
  • Next move on to cutlery and glasses. There is great coloured glassware available in all high street stores. Tea lights are great for summer entertaining, as they work well outside. If you are having an evening dinner, lighting is key – candlelight really adds atmosphere or invest in some solar or LED lights if you are dining outside. Finish your tablescape with a sprig of rosemary or summer bloom to each setting.
  • Pots of herbs work great on tables in place of flowers, as they can provide an inviting scent.
  • Don’t be afraid to bring out some items from your house to make your area in your garden look comfortable. From chairs to cushions to tall plants, you can create a little oasis in your outdoor space in the right weather.

Finally, I love to pick a space in the garden or a path and set up a picnic-style area. Sunshine always brings such joy so always have a picnic basket for those sunny days.
I make the area comfortable with blankets and cushions from the house and surround the area with upside-down crates and pop some plants and flowers from the garden on them.

The Designed Table has an extensive range of tablecloths, runners, and cotton linen napkins in vibrant colours and elegant prints, complemented by a unique range of table accessories like placemats, candlesticks and napkin rings in a selection of quality materials to suit both formal and casual dining, The Designed Table’s collection is designed to work interchangeably, offering versatility and variation to suit the occasion.

“Everything we launch, from season to season, is intended to be used with items from past collections. We create linen that lasts and can be used time and time again,” says Tara.

Every piece in The Designed Table collection is designed by Tara in Ireland and made in India by certified artisan manufacturers.

The collections are available at

Prices start from €24 for a set of four napkin rings; €40 for a set of four napkins; and from €199 for a tablescape in a box to seat six guests.

Let The Designed Table inspire you to set the scene for a colourful summer gathering that will bring friends and family together.

Follow The Designed Table on Instagram @thedesignedtable

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