A Moody Tablescape + Tips for Summertime Hosting

I hosted an intimate dinner party last weekend and since y’all seemed to love the tablescape, I wanted to share details on it. This got me thinking about some general hosting tips I keep in mind, no matter the season, so I wanted to list those out as well. P.S. you can find all our dining room furniture details here.

xx Ashley


I generally use the same pieces for tablescapes throughout the year, but of course like to mix in details or textures to make things feel seasonally appropriate. Since this tablescape was hosted in the evening, I kept things moodier, even this time of year, and then mixed in linen napkins and stone to freshen the feel up.

SERVEWARE: Even during summertime, I like this $30 Black + Gold Silverware Set because it feels elegant any time of the year and seems to go with everything. This Black Matte Cutlery Set is also chic and an amazing deal. As for our plates, we’ve used these Williams-Sonoma White Dinner and Salad Plates for years; they’re classic and versatile. I like to place our Wine Glasses on the table before guests arrive so there’s a fresh glass waiting for them if they want wine. Lastly, I am eyeing these Melamine Serving Dishes to add to my collection. TIP: If you want to keep things really relaxed, especially for BBQs or anything like that, you can even just place your cutlery in this Black Cutlery Holder so people can grab what they need.

CENTERPIECE DETAILS: I tend to keep things pretty simple with greenery or florals and have been using this Black Stoneware Pitcher as a vase. If it’s an evening tablescape, candles set the mood and I thought these $18 Stoneware Candle Handlers were unique and gorg.

LINENS: I bought these Linen Taupe Napkins for this dinner party and was really impressed (they come in a ton of colors). I noticed these Gingham and Striped Tea Towels and these Patterned Napkins over at H&M which are affordable and cute for summer.


I love to host and now that the boys are getting a bit more independent, I’m excited for lots of hosting this summer and into the holidays. Here are a few things I always keep in mind:

HANDLE EVERYTHING YOU CAN BEFORE: I think hosting, at least for me, always comes with a bit of anxiety right before guests arrive so I try to do literally everything I can before it’s go time. From prepping a playlist or Spotify station to making anything in advance to trying out my look the day before, anything helps. Also if possible, I *try* to plan to all set 30 minutes early so I can have a drink and take a minute before people arrive.

HAVE SELF-SERVE OPTIONS: Especially with summertime events where hosting tends to feel more casual, I love having self-serve options for guests. Whether I’m hosting 2 people or 20, I will always have appetizers ready to go so that people can nibble as they get there. I love this Wood Board for a cheese board moment and a Sectional Serving Platter for dips and apps. Into this Black Wooden Dish for small apps or nuts as well.

CREATE A BAR MOMENT: This does NOT need to be complicated or fancy. Similar to the appetizers out, I like to have an area where people can serve themselves what they’d like to drink before we sit. I’ll usually open a few bottles of different wines before people arrive so they feel comfortable pouring themselves a glass. And then having some beers and seltzers in a Beverage Tub on ice. Don’t forget to stock your bar area with glasses (we like these Beer Glasses that can double as water glasses and these Outdoor Tumblers if we’re hanging outside. As for water, if I’m feeling extra I’ll make some ‘spa water’ in this Beverage Dispenser because it feels special. If you’re hosting a small crowd, love this $22 Glass Pitcher that’s great for water, tea, or spa water since there’s a lid. EXTRA TIP: We’ve been making these Spicy Cucumber Margaritas this summer and they’re SO good if you want to serve cocktails.

LIGHT CANDLES: I always have a couple scentless candles going around the kitchen so that it sets the mood without interfering with the food. I then like to have a nice smelling candle in the bathroom and then of course, a few citronella candles burning if we’re outside. I have the Candles I Can’t Stop Burning in a blog post, btw.

WEAR SOMETHING EASY: Always! I’ve been that girl in something uncomfortable hosting and it’s just not worth it. For me, it’s usually an easy dress (with sleeves that won’t get caught in the oven or in food) and flats like this outfit or these easy summer dresses.