Are you hosting friends and family this 4th of July? Maybe you're looking for a few simple ways to up the patriotic quotient at your shindig? Here's a quick and easy patriotic tablescape I put together, using items I already had on hand around the house. 

After scrounging around in our kitchen cabinets, dining room hutch, and buffet, I realized I have a pretty substantial assortment of red, white, and blue tableware on hand, largely due to having items that complement our red dining room and navy blue outdoor umbrella.

After some thought, I decided upon a tablescape style I like to call "formal al fresco." It's a combination of using nice dinnerware and glassware (no paper napkins, or plastic cups or cutlery here), but it's set for a relaxed outdoor dining experience. I settled on using:

  • Our everyday white square dinner plates from Crate & Barrel
  • Our everyday blue and white transferware plates (free as part of our honeymoon package back in 2002)
  • Our formal flatware, given to us as wedding gifts
  • My favorite red goblets from Crate & Barrel, picked up in an office white elephant gift exchange
  • Our everyday bee glasses for water
  • The formal white and red placemats that I typically use for Christmas
  • Plain white napkins -- well, the ones that Alex hasn't used as paint rags yet!
  • Silver napkin rings, also a wedding gift

I love any excuse to use our wedding gifts, although admittedly I don't use our china as often as I should because it's not dishwasher safe. So I felt this tablescape is a good combination of everyday dishes that aren't too precious, combined with some of our more formal entertaining items.

After shuttling everything outside, I was able to quickly set the table that will set the mood for a festive and fun 4th of July celebration. 

Here's another look a bit closer up. 

Setting a beautiful table isn't about running out and buying all new, holiday-specific items. Instead, be creative with what you already own and think of ways you can reinvent it for different looks, styles, and holidays. I'll let you in on a little secret. If you take a close look, you'll see that the 4th of July setting above is largely the same as the one below I used for Christmas last year.

By moving the party outdoors, changing out the napkins, and introducing blue accents rather than fresh greenery, I can easily transform the look from Christmas chic to 4th of July al fresco. And it cost me absolutely nothing!

Do you have any special tips or tricks that you use to make a gathering feel more festive for any given holiday? Do you have a particular recipe or serving dish that's become a tradition in your home? I'd love to hear all about how you make even the most informal of gatherings special and memorable. 

Are you looking for other 4th of July decorating or entertaining ideas? If so, check out the holidays section of our projects page for cocktails, recipes, exterior decor, and more. 

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I Heart Nap Time
Comments 8


Jill PP
7/2/2012 at 11:28 AM
We have those bee glasses too - love them!

Using our combination of a few table linens and our everyday plates (which are Fiestaware in a variety of colors) it's normally pretty easy for us to set a table for different occasions.

I can't wait to have an outdoor dining space like you guys have - we'll have to build a patio first though :)
I love Fiestaware. It's so happy, plus I never thought of how flexible it is for holiday tables. Brilliant!
7/3/2012 at 10:01 AM
Love your eclectic red, white, and blue table. Happy 4th of July!
Thanks so much, Laurel. You too! :-)
7/6/2012 at 8:20 AM
We grilled out and had watermelon for the 4th, so our table was more the 'paper plates and bottles of beer' version LOL.

I do love those mats and the square white plates, though.

PS, Wendy, you aren't the only one to have sacrificed good linens to the DYI gods. In my case, it was a wonderful cotton bathsheet to the oil change. And the culprit was my son, not my husband. So I feel your pain.
Mmmm. Watermelon and beer. We enjoyed that as well on the 4th! And we actually celebrated at a friend's house, so we didn't end up eating/enjoying the patriotic tablescape in our own back yard.

A bathsheet, eh? I'm starting to think they just can't help themselves. :-)
7/6/2012 at 9:47 AM
Your 4th of July table is fantastic. I love the outdoor space :)
Thanks so much, Kara. So, did you get your 4th of July bunting up this year?
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