Photo: Laurey W. Glenn

Decorator Phoebe Howard shares her formula for creating a cozy outdoor dining space.

Jennifer Kopf

Focus on Comfort First 
"A round table is cozier and makes conversation easier," says Phoebe. Pair it with seating that you can linger in for hours, such as round-back tub chairs. Use pillows to make them extra soft and provide color and pattern.

Add Personality with Color 
Anchor the table with a bright solid tablecloth for a pop of color, and layer with patterned napkins. Then, says Phoebe, "dig in your china cabinet, and bring out something unexpected to set your table."

Create Magic with Light 
"In the evenings, lighting is critical," says Phoebe. Electric wall sconces keep a space well lit. Instead of hanging a ceiling fan over the table, try a chandelier to make it feel more intimate. Scatter votives on the table for a romantic glow.

Use a Small Table for Serving 
Pull up a garden stool or small side table next to your dining table to use as an extra surface. "A silver tray placed on top lends stability for serving drinks and adds a finishing touch," says Phoebe.


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