It remains to be seen whether the British summer is going to play ball and treat us all to hot days and balmy nights but nonetheless, we’re ready to set the table and socialise. So you can stop tapping refresh on your weather app, we’ve pulled together our favourite indoor entertaining inspiration.
Whether rain means al fresco eating’s a washout, or you simply don’t have the luxury of outdoor space, with these indoor dining tips and ideas the outlook’s sunny regardless.
Set the tone with seating
It’s summertime and the living is supposed to be easy so give your guests the cues they need to kick back. Benches and stools aren’t just great space savers, they’re also more informal than chairs. People don’t mind getting cosy at a party and benches can accommodate more people.
When you’re not using them tuck them away or repurpose them around the home. You can stow storage baskets under benches in the hallway or use the stools as lamp tables or simple bedside tables in a guest room.
Mixing and matching your seating also sends a signal that things aren’t stuffy; rustic oak, solid mango wood, painted pieces and woven finishes all bring something different to the party and create a laid-back feel in this scheme.
If you want an eclectic feel but haven’t got time to source individual chairs from vintage fairs or markets, we suggest recreating the mismatched look by buying a few pairs of chairs in different designs. Doubling up on each style which will make it feel more curated than if every chair’s different.
As well as choosing different chair styles, you can use crockery and glassware to make things feel relaxed. Pick a variety of shades, patterns and textures to make every place setting slightly different, stick to a unifying colour if you want to avoid it looking too cluttered or chaotic.
Going to town on decorating the table isn’t just for Christmas, embrace summer’s carefree vibe and inject some fun into your party prep.
Trim some leaves from a monstera or a palm, pop them between a couple of sheets of newspaper and leave them under a heavy stack of books. After a week or two, they will be flat and ready to add a touch of tropical to your table.
Casual seating nooks are a great way to zone another space in your home for guests to chill out. A large upholstered footstool in a corner and piles of cosy cushions create a chill out space. Rather than hanging a clock or oversize print on the wall, for a more informal feel, try leaning them on the floor.
Using outdoor ideas inside
If you don’t have a garden or it’s too wet to hang out on the patio, you can cheat your way to that outdoor feeling.
Flowers needn’t be an expense. At this time of year, the hedgerows are full of rich pickings. Long stems of cow parsley look sculptural in a tall vase or you can dot surfaces with small bunches of blooms in jam jars.
Bunting is just as effective inside and is an affordable, re-usable way to brighten up a space. It’s super easy to create a version of it yourself by tying narrow strips of brightly coloured fabric in intervals along a length of twine and hanging them from the ceiling or walls.
Festoon lighting also works inside but, if you’re enjoying the excuse for some crafts and get satisfaction from upcycling, you can make a collection of tin can lanterns. Simply fill empty cans with water and pop them in the freezer until they are frozen solid. Then use a marker pen to create a pattern of dots which you can then drill to create holes. Once the ice has melted, the tins look really effective clustered together and filled with tea lights.
DIY drinks station
Bar carts are all the rage but if you haven’t tracked one down, you can use a sideboard or a counter top to create a bar area where people can top up a jug of Pimms or mix a mojito. With guests able to help themselves it frees you up to enjoy the party. Dress the top with some flowers, candles and pretty glassware, an ice bucket, a cocktail shaker, chopping board and a bowl of fruit and you’re all set… cocktail umbrellas and cherries optional.
Feeling inspired but not sure what dining table is for you? Take a look at our tips to help you pick the right dining set for your home.