9 Basics to Have on Hand for Dining Alfresco

One of my favorite things about summer is being able to move dinner outdoors. The kids can run around and my husband and I get to enjoy a relaxed meal. Since we do this quite a bit, I have a handful of essentials that I like to bring out every time. We prefer melamine over glass with the kids, and table runners instead of my nice tablecloths. Overall, it’s all about keeping it casual on those hot summer days. Here I’ve pulled together nine basics to have on hand for dining alfresco that I’ve found are very useful when throwing together a nice dinner under the sun…

Cloth Napkins 1 of 9
Pick out a set of cloth napkins you know you can reuse for all your outdoor dinners. Be sure to choose a neutral color palette that you know will go with everything.

Buy them for $24 at West Elm
Favorite Set of Glassware 2 of 9
Whether you're serving wine or juice, pick out glassware that is stylish, but not incredibly delicate. These quilted glasses have a unique look that is sure to be noticed, but are not as fragile as a nice wine glass.

Buy them for $16 at West Elm
Universal Serving Tray + Carving Board 3 of 9
It's always a good idea to consolidate where you can when dining outdoors. A tray like this can be used to carry the veggies, and comes with a removable carving board just in case you need to chop something up at the last minute. The modern look of this tray can work well with pretty much any al fresco dining style.

Buy it for $80 at West Elm
Melamine Salad Bowl and Servers 4 of 9
If you want to minimize the amount of glass on the table, pick up a matching set of melamine bowls for salads and snacks.

Buy it for $9.99 at West Elm
Enamel Dinnerware 5 of 9
I love the idea of having a set of enamel dinnerware because you can use it for dining outdoors and even when you're camping. This is a great option for when kids are at the table too, because it can handle a fair share of spills. This style of enamelware is so classic that you'll be able to reuse it for years.

Buy it for $24 at West Elm
Rattan Picnic Basket 6 of 9
Dine al fresco wherever you go by packing all of your supplies up in a reliable picnic basket you can use all summer long.

Buy it for $99 at Pottery Barn
Classic Pitcher 7 of 9
Pick up a classic pitcher you can count on for all your outdoor dinners. Fill it up with a sweet juice and toss some fruits inside.

Buy it for $24.50 at Pottery Barn
Galvanized Bucket 8 of 9
Fill a galvanized bucket with ice and use it to keep refreshments nice and cool while you're eating outdoors.

Buy it for $59.50 at Pottery Barn
Table Runner 9 of 9
Dining al fresco can get messy, so instead of bringing out a table cloth, break up the table with a simple table runner.

Buy it for $44 at Pottery Barn


Jacinda Boneau is a fabric designer and founding co-editor at Pretty Prudent, the premier design and lifestyle blog providing inspiration and instruction to help anyone create beautiful things, food, and experiences for their friends and family.

Article Posted 2 years Ago

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