Stylish Outdoor Dining Ideas

WORDS:: CHYKA KEEBAUGH

PHOTOS:: LISA ATKINSON


ANY EXCUSE TO HEAD OUTDOORS FOR A BEAUTIFUL LUNCH OR DINNER WITH FAMILY OR FRIENDS AND I'M THERE!


As we head into autumn and feel the last rays of summer, eating outdoors is something we should all be doing! Before we are banished to the indoors, let’s breath in that fresh air and turn dinner (or lunchtime, or even breakfast!) into more of an occasion by simply stepping away from the dining table.

Sometimes all I need is a beautiful tablecloth to inspire me...It can be that simple. Grab enough crockery and cutlery, a drink to keep you at your seat and centrepiece to tie it all together and your table is set. A Mexican feast deserves to be outdoors and I loved styling up my parent's backyard recently for a little fiesta. Using vibrant colours always makes people smile and when you pair that with some delicious food that can be passed around and you have the perfect combination. All you need is colour, colour, colour – Ole! 

Now this style of table is completely silly but was an absolute treat to pull together! The inspiration came from a party we were putting together in Noosa that required some cool crab shack themed accessories. I loved the theme so much I wanted to recreate it at home.

The vibrancy in the red tones jump off the table, so instead of cluttering it with detail, I have gone simple and let the colour do the talking. I have used children’s plastic sand buckets from the local $2 shop to hold my cheap and cheerful daffodils (I also got all my crustaceans from there as well!). Adding the yellow spades was a little touch I couldn’t resist to complete the look. I love the pop of colour and the simplicity in the styling - I know it doesn’t make sense to have a spade on the table, but who cares? It's all about having fun and it just works!

Want to create a dining experience with a bit of kick? As soon as I saw this collection of chillies I knew what had to be done! I wanted an outdoor setting with lots of luscious reds, a combination of bold patterns and a row of lush chilli plants. Creating a simple meal like a fabulous Chilli Con Carne that can be shared amongst a group of friends, sits so well on this table.

I love the colour of these bright red chillies, so naturally, the colour scheme had reflect this colouration. The cloth had to be red and white check - you know I love a clash of patterns, so including the bandannas as a napkin brings a little country feel to the setting. The red glasses etched with a floral motif also clashes in design but ties into the colour palette.

I made a simple tablecloth fabric from a few metres of large gingham fabric from Spotlight stores, cutlery from Pottery Barn and fresh chilli blackboard tags a bargain purchase from my local $2 shop. Having a wooden mini chopping board breaks up the red and brings some texture to the table, this as well as the baskets used for holding the plants are by Provincial Home Living.