Thursday 21 June 2018

When life gives you LEMONS...

...make lemonade! Irish summer weather can't be trusted, so check out the dining trends that work both inside and outside

Picture: Ikea
Picture: Ikea
Picture: Dunelm
Picture: John Lewis
Picture: Laura Ashley
Picture: Marks & Spencer
Picture: Harvey Norman

Caroline Foran

Al fresco dining in the Irish 'summer'? Look, we're not going to sugar-coat it. When this most fickle season decides to grace us with its presence, even if it only stays for a few hours before storming off again in a huff, leaving the rain and wind and cold behind, we have to make the most of it.

And it's still relatively early days too; who knows, by August we might be dining outdoors more than we dine indoors (wishful thinking?). Though the forecast looks good for tomorrow and Monday, the thing is, you don't really need to be outside this bank holiday weekend to create a summery spread. Whether we're blessed with a series of mini heat waves, meaning we can swing those doors open, or whether we're trying to fake it 'til we make it, it's time now to consider your summer dining decor updates; the dining trends to embrace this season that work both indoors and outdoors.

Coloured glass

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Picture: Laura Ashley
 

Summer is the perfect time to embrace coloured glass on your dining table, whereas in winter, it can feel a bit twee. As your glassware picks up the natural light that extends long into the evening, your dining table will need little else if it's a simple, low-key update you're looking for. Coloured glass lends itself to bright, sunny days. Minimalists will gravitate towards greens, blues and even browns - don't underestimate the effect of a sun-dappled brown glass bottle with flowers on your table - while the more adventurous among us will go all out with hot pinks and vibrant oranges.

Whatever colour palette you choose, try to pick it up elsewhere in a soft furnishing, such as a scatter cushion or a set of napkins. And remember, your glassware includes everything from tumblers to jugs and vases to candle holders. It can be as soft an introduction to colour as the green M&S (below).

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Picture: Marks & Spencer

Palm springs paradise

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Picture: Dunelm
 

Those who crave something bold and brilliant - the ultimate antidote to long, grey and sometimes white days - will be spoiled for choice among the tropical and botanical inspired collections across the high street. While white plates dominate year round, why not consider something with a vibrant leaf print (above) for the shortest season (sorry) of the year? Botanicals can still be quite pared back, should you stick to greens. Ultimately, if you're willing to try something tropical, be sure to have fun with it. Be cheeky with your choices (such as these flamingo glasses from Next, right). To nail the tropical trend, worry not about colour clashing or merging patterns. Anything goes as far as this trend is concerned, as long as there's a kaleidoscope of colour; the ideal style for a summer party. Indulge your wild side and don't play it safe.

Breezy blues

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Picture: John Lewis
 

For a more sophisticated, lazy take on the summer season, or for those who feel queasy at the thought of too much colour at any one time, blues are back in a big way. With simple blue edging on plates and cups, lighter blue glassware and chic navy and white linens, you won't even notice whether the skies themselves are blue or not. Be sure to mix up the shades so that you have depth where possible. Incorporating small amounts of turquoise will add more of a summery pop, while plenty of white neutrals will keep your dining table fresh. For a Hamptons, beachside aesthetic, include plenty of subtle stripes. And to offset the blues, add natural greenery where possible.

Greenery as scenery

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Picture: Harvey Norman
 

If you're happy with your table decor as it is, consider the addition of natural greenery (or artificial, depending on your interest in keeping plants alive). Buy succulents and cacti of varying sizes and dot them across the table (being sure not to stick your fingers in them). Greenery adds intense colour and energy to a table - or any room - without dominating. Because it's natural, it doesn't draw your attention. Rather, it complements and enhances whatever it's next to. So if you like your whites and your woods and your clear glass, perhaps greenery is all you need this season. What's more, if you prefer greenery to coloured plants, but you want a small bit of colour, choose coloured plant pots (above). The green plants will balance their brightness.

Don't cover your blushes

Another colour trend dominating across decor this summer is a soft, blush pink. It's subtle and calming if you're the type to find vibrant colours more draining than energising. A romantic take on the summer, add blush accents across plates, bowls, servers, or with candles, table cloths or glassware. Keep things sophisticated by mixing in warm metallics such as gold or copper. This is a colour that will also be wonderfully offset by natural wood - consider a serving platter on top of a blush linen runner. This is as soft a way as you'll find to inject some colour into your summer dining and it's also one that can easily carry over into, dare I say it, the colder months of the year.

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