Summer Tablescape: How to Create A Simple Smokin Hot Table

Summertime is here and let’s celebrate with a beautiful “Smokin Hot” summer tablescape. 

Today, I am joining the Supper Club girls, and the theme is Smoke It! I’m sure you’ll enjoy the fun and creativity we had with this one. 

Not only did all of the gals create beautiful tablescapes, but we will also be sharing the entire menu with you on Saturday. Check out all their links at the end of this post to see their “Smoke It” tables.

From unique and delicious smoked meats, sides dishes, unbelievable dessert and an amazing smoked cocktail, we have the best dinner planned. Be sure to stop by later in the week. 

Summer tablescape in red and white colors. Two lampshades adorn the table with red and white check, and fruits and vegetables with fresh herb plants decorate the table.

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Summer Tablescape

I love to set a beautiful table with layers of details for my friends and family.  A thoughtfully arranged tablescape can elevate the dining experience by adding visual appeal, showcasing the theme, and making guests feel special. 

Additionally, it encourages conversation, creates photo-worthy moments, and ensures that every detail contributes to a cohesive and enjoyable gathering.


Setting the Scene For Summer Time Dining 


A she shed decked out for the summer, featuring an arch of baskets, sits next to a patio with a vintage table and chairs, perfectly set for a summer luncheon.
  • Backyard, Patio, or Garden: Choose a spacious area that comfortably accommodates guests. A backyard, patio, or garden with ample space for seating and movement will be the perfect backdrop for a backyard BBQ. Be sure to think about the time of the year you are entertaining since we are talking about a perfect summer tablescape, an outdoor space feels fitting. However, it may be too warm to be outside in some areas of the country. 
  • Natural Shade: Trees or umbrellas can provide much-needed shade, protecting guests from the sun and keeping everyone cool.

Seating Arrangements

  • Comfortable Seating: Provide a mix of seating options, such as outdoor sofas, chairs, and benches. Adding cushions and pillows can enhance comfort.
  • Tables: Ensure enough tables for dining and for placing drinks and snacks. A combination of dining tables and smaller side tables works well.


  • Ambient Lighting: String lights, lanterns, twinkle lights and candles create a warm and inviting atmosphere as the sun sets. I draped string lights above the table and added a few garden basket lampshades for a charming touch. I adorned the lampshades with red and white fabric strips to match my theme, creating a cozy and cohesive look. I tore strips of fabric that were three inches wide and tied them to the top of the light fixture. Next, I wove the fabric in between the wires and hot glued the bottom edge. 
  • Functional Lighting: Ensure enough light for guests to see their food and navigate the area safely.
entertaining tips from wendy:

Make sure to prepare your yard for bugs well before your guests arrive to ensure a pleasant evening. Sprinkle granules around the yard and provide bug spray for your guests. I love using Skeeter products; they work fabulously.

“Smokin Hot” Theme for a Summer Tablescape

Create a “Smoking Hot” theme for your summer BBQ tablescape that sizzles with style and flavor.


Serve an array of smoked foods like brisket, chicken, smoked cheese, smoked cocktails and more.


Decorate the table with elements that evoke the essence of smoke: think vintage Coke bottles in a mini BBQ filled with dry ice for a dramatic centerpiece, lanterns and candles to create a warm glow, and rustic wood accents to tie everything together.


Choosing Linens

The vibe of your event will dictate your choice of linens. For my smokin’ hot BBQ, I aimed for a casual and comfortable atmosphere. I opted for a table runner, placemats, and linen napkins to set the perfect tone for my dinner party.

You could use a paper runner for an even more casual and fun BBQ dinner. You could hand-draw place settings and write guests’ names directly on the paper, adding a personalized and playful touch.

Here are a few other ideas to add a special touch:

Try a fun napkin fold, like this pinwheel design from Martha Stewart.

Alternatively, fold a bandana and place it in a mason jar along with some silverware.

Use burlap as a table runner, or create small pouches to hold your utensils and wrap them with twine.

entertaining tips from wendy:

How to Cut Burlap Placemats Perfectly straight

  1. Measure and Mark:
    • Lay the burlap fabric flat on a clean, smooth surface.
    • Measure and mark the spot where you want to cut using a fabric marker or chalk.
  2. Identify the Thread:
    • Locate a thread along the line where you want to make your cut. This can be done by gently pulling at the fabric near your mark to see where the threads are.
  3. Pull the Thread:
    • Use a needle or a seam ripper to lift and pull the thread from the edge of the burlap. Continue pulling gently, and the thread will start to gather the fabric along the line.
  4. Remove the Thread:
    • Pull the thread all the way out from edge to edge. This will create a clear, straight line where the fabric has gathered and then flattened out.
  5. Cut Along the Line:
    • Use sharp fabric scissors to cut along the gap left by the removed thread. This ensures a straight and even cut.

By pulling a thread, you create a guide that makes cutting burlap straight and easy, preventing fraying and ensuring a clean edge.

Tableware and Utensils

A place setting on my garden table which includes a glavanized charger plate, a red dinner plate, a white salad plate. Red silverware and a milk glass goblet.

Selecting the right plates, glasses, and cutlery is crucial for maintaining your theme. For my traditional red and white picnic colors, I chose a casual galvanized silver charger plate, a red dinner plate, and a white salad plate. I used red cutlery paired with silver accents to complement my color scheme and design.

Since my table had a lot going on, I opted not to use napkin rings. Instead, I laid the flatware on the napkins next to the plates. 

Centerpiece Ideas

As you know, I love creating beautiful centerpieces, so deciding on the decor for this table was not easy. There are many options, such as fresh fruit, seasonal flowers, herbs, faux lemons, and more. However, since our theme was “smokin’ hot,” I wanted to avoid traditional floral centerpieces.

A terra cotta pot of radishes helps to decorate a summer tablescape with other vegetables. and decor.
A bowl of lettuce and tomatoes decorate the table in addition to the other centerpiece.

Instead, I used vintage Coke bottles arranged in a small BBQ with dry ice for a smoky effect, making it the star of the show. Additionally, I included an assortment of lettuce, tomatoes, olive topiaries, and various herb plants. This time of year is perfect for using small vegetable plants potted in mason jars or rustic terra cotta pots.

  • Watermelon Vases
    • Hollow out watermelons as vases for fresh flowers or fruit skewers.
  • BBQ Sauce Display
    • Arrange an assortment of BBQ sauces in different shapes and sizes, using small buckets or crates for height and interest.
  • Mason Jar Candles
    • Fill mason jars with candles and surround them with pebbles, sand, or colorful beans for a rustic yet chic look.
  • Corn on the Cob Bouquets
    • Stand ears of corn on end in a large vase or bucket, interspersed with surrounding greenery for a natural, farm-to-table feel.
  • Skewered Vegetables
    • Create decorative skewers with colorful vegetables and fruits arranged in a tall vase or container.
  • Glass Bottles
    • Use old wine bottles or glass Coke bottles as vases for simple floral arrangements.

Adding Decorative Elements to an Outdoor Summer Tablescape

There are countless creative items you can use as table decor. Start by looking around your home to see what you already have that matches your color palette and theme.

A farm table set for a smokin' hot summer tablescape. Red and white check light fixtures hang over a table of herbs and plants in terra cotta pots. Red and white check placemats, red and white dishes, and fun place cards sit in forks.
Potted herbs sitting on a summer tablescape for a smoking BBQ theme.

For my Smokin’ BBQ theme, I wanted to incorporate elements from the garden. I used clay pots with pepper plants, petunias, basil, radishes, and lettuce alongside my centerpiece.

Vary the height of the items on your table to create visual interest. This technique makes a beautiful statement and is pleasing to the eye.

For my place cards, I used small clay pots. Place a styrofoam ball inside each pot, inserted a fork into the ball, and attached a handwritten name card to the fork. I then hot-glued some moss on top of the pot.

I placed these place card holders into red and white checkered paper sandwich boxes and added marshmallows, graham crackers, and chocolate bars for guests to make S’mores for dessert.

entertaining tips from wendy:

Think outside the box when creating name cards and name card holders. Look around your house and see how creative you can get with what you already have.

​Food Presentation

BBQ is incredibly easy, offering a wide array of delicious food options.

We love to serve tri-tip, ribs, mac and cheese, coleslaw, and cornbread.

A fresh fruit tart makes the perfect addition for dessert. 

You could also try smoked chicken or go with the classic BBQ fare of hamburgers and hot dogs.

Any of these ideas are perfect for kicking off the summer with a special occasion.

entertaining tips from wendy:
  1. Plan your menu ahead.
  2. Be sure to put the rub on the meat the night before.
  3. Put the meat on the Smoker when the meat is cold, right out of the refrigerator.

Wrapping Up

Designing a creative “Smoke It” BBQ tablescape has been a fun and rewarding experience. By incorporating unique elements like vintage Coke bottles, clay pots with fresh herbs and vegetables, and smoky effects, I was able to create a festive and inviting atmosphere. I hope these ideas inspire you to add your own personal touches and creativity to your next BBQ setup, making it a memorable event for all your guests. Happy BBQing!

Now be sure to visit the other girls posts to see their fun and creative tablescapes and then we will be back on Saturday with an entire menu with recipes for you!



Other Tablescapes from WM Design House

If you love this summer garden party tablescape, you might also enjoy some of my other tablescape posts.

9 FREE Dinner Party Printables for the 4th of July

Add a touch of festive flair to your next dinner party with some beautiful (and free!) printables.

4th of July dinner party

Garden Inspired Summer Tablescape

Warm weather entertaining starts with a charming tablescape! Read my expert tips and get decor ideas for creating a beautiful garden party tablescape for your next summer gathering.

A garden-inspired tablescape with DIY peat pot napkin rings.
pin it to remember it graphic
Outdoor summer Tablescape ideas - a table set with red and white decorations with fruit, vegetables and smokin hot bbq meat.

More About Me!


Hello, I’m Wendy – a dedicated homemaker with a deep passion for decorating, gardening, cooking, and crafting. I find joy in harmonizing beautiful elements to fashion a space that is both comfortable and inspiring. I will help you create a beautiful home, one project at a time.

Connect with Wendy

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  1. I always look forward to your outdoor tablescapes Wendy, they are always perfection. You have to tell me, what is your secret to having all of this energy to constantly change everything up all of the time?? Inquiring minds want to know. This is the perfect table setting for upcoming festivities. I’ll be right over… if only I lived closer! Have a Happy 4th my friend.

    1. Wendy McMonigal says:

      Thank you Cara. We love entertaining in our outdoors space. Sometimes I don’t know how everything gets done either, but once I figure out the secret I’ll be sure to let you know! I hope you had a good Fourth!

  2. Wow! Wendy, I think you outdid yourself with this table. It is beyond gorgeous. I’d love to come join your cookout party. I’m so glad you could join us for supper club this month. Pinned!

    1. Wendy McMonigal says:

      Thank you friend. I love your supper club and I am so glad I could join you this month for a fun summer cookout.

  3. Michele - vintage home designs says:

    You outdid yourself Wendy! Your table is adorable and I’m so glad you joined us this month for dinner club!

    1. Wendy McMonigal says:

      Thank you so much Michele. I loved joining you all!

  4. From the lighting to the table settings to the food, this post made me smile with summertime joy! Great post, Wendy!

  5. You always create pretty tables, Wendy! This one is so fun! I love the cokes in the smokin’ grill! Well done!

  6. Nan, Odessa, DE says:

    Wendy, I will be right over! Thanks for sharing.

    My questions: How do I make or ever t buy the wire shade hanging over the bulb? Details, please. I am not crafty.

    Where can I order the red and white sandwich boxes?

    What a lovely setting!

  7. Wendy
    Your table is so festive and fun. I love how you updated the lampshades. So cute. Thank you for joining us this month.

    1. Thank you Rachel, it was such a fun theme and I enjoyed being with you all.

    1. Thank you, Elizabeth; it was such a fun theme to work with.
      I am still down with the foot, but it is a good chance to get caught up on work.

    1. Hi Rachel, thank you so much, I am glad you liked it. It was a very fun theme to work with.

  8. Absolutely adorable! These are great ideas! Thanks for sharing!

    1. Wendy McMonigal says:

      Thanks so much Susan. I had a lot of fun styling it all.

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