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Setting an Eco-Friendly Outdoor Table for Summer Months

As the weather warms across the U.S., Laurence Carr shares tips for setting an outdoor table that promotes togetherness and sustainability.

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Laurence Carr Beyond Aesthetics Setting an Outdoor Table
Laurence Carr shares the importance of setting an ambience for outdoor dining.

As those of us in the Northern Hemisphere begin to experience longer and warmer days, we are drawn to our backyards, our decks, our terraces and our balconies. Whether we live in the heart of a big city or deep in the countryside, our human instinct is to celebrate spring by being out in it. Leaning back in an Adirondack chair at the end of the day and turning our faces toward the lingering light brings an instant sense of calm, security and wellbeing. 

Adding our family to the warming spring mix — for an afternoon picnic or an evening meal in our outdoor living space — adds meaning to our days. While the number of people allowed to gather may be limited in the weeks and months to come, nothing can take away the sense of togetherness a beautifully thought out table brings to those seated around it. Nothing says “we are in this together” more than the host who chooses products that reflect responsible stewardship of the planet.

Outdoor Furniture

Outdoor furniture and accessories must be weather, mold, rust and fade resistant. How lucky we are that multiple outdoor furniture designers and manufacturers have looked to nature itself for inspiration. Rattan, bamboo and eucalyptus make not only visually pleasing and texturally interesting tables and chairs, all three materials are natural, durable, and sustainable. 

Lloyd Flanders and Greenington meet the Forest Stewardship Council’s standards for sourcing only from responsibly managed, wildlife-friendly forests. Upcycled plastic waste, also known as polyethylene HDPE, looks elegant and refined, but is tough enough to withstand the blazing summer sun and tropical downpours. 

Of course repurposing furniture has never been easier — you can’t go wrong with a French Maison Gatti Rattan Bamboo Banquet Bench from Chairish. A double hanging rattan chair is the perfect place to relax after a light spring meal, and a seagrass rug beneath your feet from Serena and Lily turns your outdoor space into a truly inviting and comfortable nest. 

Laurence Carr Outdoor Furniture

Tableware and Glassware

Celebrate fresh air and the sunrise or sunset around a table that is filled with objects that are in harmony with your values and aesthetics. Flora and fauna-inspired dishes may create a more polished outdoor dining experience, while artisanal place settings beg lively colorful conversation. Whatever your mood and whoever is on your (limited) guest list, you can rest assured that now more than ever, retailers are rising to meet consumer demand for functional, beautiful, environmentally friendly products. Amara’s Batwa Decorative Vase, made of mango wood, adds an instant touch of earthiness and art to the center of any table. 

Berry-infused martinis never tasted more refreshing than when they are shaken, stirred and poured from a recycled stainless steel tumbler. Wine aerators not only allow wine to breathe, but sitting on a rolling bar, they play with the summer light and make a sculptural statement in themselves. Mixing and matching sets of vintage-inspired gem-colored tumblers adds a touch of nostalgia.

Linens and Accessories

Paper napkins came into fashion in the 1950s and will soon once again be a thing of the past. Why waste natural resources when Broste Copenhagen makes napkins and table linens as pretty as these and as purposefully eco-friendly? Their certified EkoTex Gracie napkins in pure white linen feel fresh and are simply stunning.  

Pull a romantic dining experience together with a tablecloth that catches the breeze and floats in the light. Maximize views — of each other — with a low centerpiece of natural beeswax candles. A string of solar powered lights sparkling overhead or a single flower mindfully placed in one of Ferm Living’s statement vases adds softness and glamour. 

It is more important than ever that we balance our time spent indoors with our time spent outdoors. Eating well includes eating in tune with the season and eating happily. A table that is set al fresco offers a simple and accessible change of scene, ambiance, and flavor.

Each element we select contributes to a complete sensory experience. From the scents that waft from the kitchen through the open patio door and to our outdoor dining space, to sitting at our place at the table, we breathe in what nourishes us and we find comfort. Our eyes delight in the thoughtfully arranged table before us, and in one another’s faces. While dining, we do more than fill our bellies, we fill our hearts and minds with conversation and toasts to continued good health and togetherness. 

Laurence Carr Outdoor Table Settings


Laurence Carr Beyond Aesthetics
Laurence Carr joins the Furniture, Lighting & Decor blogging team with Beyond Aesthetics.


Meet Laurence

Laurence Carr is the CEO of the eponymous award-winning design boutique NYC firm, Laurence Carr Design Inc. focused on holistic and sustainable residential and hospitality interiors. 

Laurence Carr is widely recognized as an influencer and a pioneering voice in the movement toward sustainable and wellness-centered interior design. Born and raised in Europe, she has an inherent appreciation for art and design — she is a natural aesthete and she is widely recognized for her application of wellbeing principles and ancient techniques.

As part of her focus on combining sustainability with quality, Laurence is a GREEN Leaders Accredited Professional and a Member of the Sustainable Furnishing Council. 

Laurence Carr is a leading voice in the field of Holistic Interior Design. With current features in Forbes, The Wall Street Journal, Business of Home, Domino, Apartment Therapy, Sotheby’s Home, House Tipster, and podcasts A Well Designed Business, Style Matters, and The Chaise Lounge. Laurence is shaping our cultural dialogue through her work, her blog “Beyond Aesthetics” and her speaking engagements. In 2019, she won the BUILD awards from Homes and Gardens UK and was nominated for the ASID National Awards 2019 for “Design for Humanity.” Laurence revealed “The Restorative Room” at the Hampton Designers Showhouse 2019 in Southampton NY. She is active on industry panels such as New York Design Center What’s New What’s Next, DDB Market, KBIS, Circular City Week New York and Architectural Digest Show. 


Laurence’s blog " Beyond Aesthetics” was created in early 2018 with the mission of educating on the significance of holistic, sustainable interior design to our own wellbeing and that of our planet. “Beyond Aesthetics” marries Laurence's global citizenship, well-trained eye for luxury and passion for raising awareness about eco-friendly design, providing a unique voice that is vital to the future of the interior design industry. Her blog has been nominated for the Amara Interior Blog Awards in the UK and Laurence was hand selected for the 2019 High Point Market Design Blogger Tour and is a Designhounds Influencer for KBIS 2020 in Las Vegas to highlight sustainable products and design trends.

To learn more about Laurence Carr visit her blog (https://laurencecarr.com/blog/) her website (https://laurencecarr.com/) and follow her on social media @laurencecarrdesign 


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