Summer is all about dining al fresco. And there is nothing more I love than hosting friends for a casual and laid back summer meal. But with only a small, seven feet by eleven feet inner city balcony, creating an inspiring place to host my dearest required some creativity. Today I’m sharing the tricks I used to create an enchanted inner city outdoor entertaining space for anyone with a small, perhaps uninspired patio or balcony.
First, to create the illusion of more space I stuck to a neutral palette and natural, textural elements.
The beautiful mature trees just off my balcony where the inspiration for the setting – natural and casual with a touch of sophistication.
The addition of tall plants or fir trees, like I used on the sides of my balcony, is a great way to create privacy and intimacy and really played to the enchanted feeling.
My old patio table was transformed with a crisp white tablecloth, an easy and inexpensive fix. Of course, I had to start by measuring a table for linens so I knew what size to get but it was a pretty easy process. I added a burlap and lace runner to add a touch of elegance and panache without being too stuffy. Tying the tablecloth and runner with a rope was a practical solution to keep guests from catching the tablecloth with their chairs, but also helped to create a casual atmosphere, while adding an interesting textural element. A woven jute rug helps to ground the space and plays on the humble yet sophisticated feel I was going for.
Clear ghost chairs help to maintain the illusion of space and tie in beautifully with the feel of the table.
In keeping with the natural and elegant theme, the place settings feature wooden chargers topped with marble slabs. Gold flatware adds a bit of glamour to the setting.
I love sending guests home with a parting gift, and a beautiful earthy succulent was just the thing.
And lastly the finishing touch to any table setting is beautiful florals. To tie in with the color palette and feel of the space, I kept the flowers muted, rustic and a little wild.
The overall effect is a casually elegant space to entertain friends late into a summers night.
Photography: Michelle Johnson