Dining on the back porch, for those of you lucky enough to have one, is an easy way to transition to the outside, because it’s just on the other side of the back door.
Here a welcoming environment has been created using a modest vintage table, chairs and sideboard painted a perky aqua. Afternoon tea, or an intimate dinner for four, would be a delightful outdoor experience in this cozy corner.
The table setting is quite formal, which I love, but I’d be just as comfortable with a very colorful and casual tablecloth and dinnerware.
By the way, do you know the difference between a porch and a patio? Porches are mostly built of wood, are elevated off the ground, traditionally have a roof and are attached to the house. Patios are usually built of stone or concrete, sit at ground level, don’t have a regular roof and can be attached to the house or not.
Speaking of hospitality, if you’re like me and love to dine outdoors but don’t like sitting in direct sun, shade is an important factor. On this patio in sunny Santa Fe, New Mexico, a shade sail provides a cool sanctuary.
Learn more about this outdoor dining room
Umbrellas, awnings, arbors and strategically planted trees are all great friends of folks like me who prefer shelter over swelter.
Careful attention should be given to the comfort of garage sale chairs. Paint can always remedy a bad finish, but comfort is intrinsic and important for hospitality, so make sure the chairs have a comfy seat. Some flowers and a perky tablecloth complete the transformation.
Read more about this carport
And how romantic that an arbor like this isn’t necessarily attached to the house? Maybe it’s out on the “back 40,” down a winding trail and beside a pond … or even 20 feet from the back door but screened by trees or foliage (I’m picturing climbing roses). Somehow that distance and privacy add a bit of mystery and adventure.
Note: If your table is in particularly rough shape, you can put an old sheet under your delicate tablecloth to keep it from harm.
Notice how the tablecloth, pillow, placemats and dishes all work together to create a very smart, tailored look. The flowers, ferns and lanterns soften the edge a bit and beautifully keep everything from being too matchy.
Of course, most of us aren’t going to have a great, hulking fireplace like the one shown here, but there are smaller, portable ones available that would provide a similar warmth and atmosphere.
Do you like to dine outside? We’d love to see a photo of your al fresco table!
More: Get It Done: Clean and Prep the Patio