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Setting the Mood

Posted by Cyndi Scholz
outdoor dining

How to keep it simple.

In the last two installments of the Designer Lounge we’ve talked about creating an inviting outdoor space with colour and outdoor fabrics. This time we will tackle “setting the mood”.

The guests have arrived and are looking forward to spending a great evening with you. The candles are lit, the throws are placed within easy reach for later in the evening and the bench, cubes or table you use for setting drinks and food is ready for their wares. Even here presentation is a fun aspect to incorporate.

Keeping it simple doesn’t mean we have to do it the retro way with a bag of chips thrown in the lettuce green Tupperware bowl with the French onion dip on the side. The trend to “keeping it simple” can be a charcuterie of pickles and olives, sliced meats, and maybe figs served on a cross – cut piece of log or a length of 2 X 10 fir board. Add dips, sauces and compotes in small interesting containers like random teacups. Or for fun, place dollops of the dips on a length of a French bread board and center the board down the middle of the serving area for all to reach.

For your guests’ plates, there is a great variety of non-glass dinnerware available at most retailers in cool, fun styles or Thrift stores are a great place to ferret these pieces and are very affordable. If the teacups are being used for sauces and compotes, use their saucers for the appetizer plates. They take up very little room on small surfaces making it easy for your guests to set them down. Have cutlery at the ready in containers, jars or even in a clay beer stein or your grandmother’s sugar bowl. Serve wine in “family style” wine glasses so no stemware is knocked over while reaching is an obvious benefit.

Keep candlelight above food to light from overhead as well as low in contained votives or jars so as the evening progresses and the light fades, the table is still visible in the glow. Using pint mason jars is an easy going, simple votive container while a decorative punched tin container casts an interesting pattern. Putting water at different heights allow for varying light levels if using floating candles. Coarse salt is a great method for keeping a votive candle in place. The salt provides a white light that allows some filtering, and can easily be washed down the sink, cleaning the jar nicely in the process. The same idea can be used to hang jars from tree branches, wrought iron pieces or hooks on posts and walls for more ambient lighting.

Set up the ipad or phone into the speaker dock loaded with plenty of smooth jazz or lazy blues and you are ready to enjoy a relaxing evening.

Submitted by:

Cyndi Scholz
Interior decorator and Owner of  Project Homeworks

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