Creating a Simple Tropical Summer Table Setting

Hi friends!  This past weekend, we celebrated our daughter’s 16th birthday.  It has been my dream for all of her life to throw her a huge “Sweet 16” party when the time came, but this was not what she wanted.  Instead, we have several fun events planned with her different “friend groups” over the next couple of weeks.  She did agree to let me have fun with the table setting for our family dinner that we had the night of her birthday though and surprisingly did get involved in choosing the colors and theme for that celebration.  We settled on a colorful, simple tropical themed summer table setting.  Oh, happy day!

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It was important to me that the table setting be a bit youthful and festive since it was for a teenager’s birthday.  Due to the ongoing enormous mess going on with our exterior makeover, we couldn’t eat outside which is not typical for us this time of year.  Additionally, it has been unseasonably hot here in Colorado, so it worked out anyway.  To see the details of our exterior makeover, click on these links below…

Project Cottonwood Lane – Huge Exterior Makeover

Our Exterior Makeover – Phase One – Windows

Start with determining a color palate

Once we started discussing the colors, she settled on corals and green/blues as a starting point.  She loves to travel and the ocean is among her favorite places to visit, so she liked the idea of incorporating a bit of “beachy/tropical” feel to the table.  There are so many great tropical color combinations.  In this case, we pretty much used all of them.

While shopping with a friend for some drapery for her home, I stumbled onto these perfect napkins at Bed, Bath and Beyond.  They had all the tropical colors I was looking for and gave me lots of options for the rest of the table.  And, bonus…while I was there, I also came across these tropical salad plates that would tie everything together.  I knew I already had everything else I would need to complete the design.

Include tropically themed features in the design

I already owned these rattan chargers which were perfect for this table setting.  Plus, they provide a nice contrast with the white plates and tie in with the tans in the tropical salad plates.  My yellow floral napkin rings (bought from Pier One) also added a brightness and tropical feel to the table.  The yellow will also work great with my plans for the centerpiece.

The salad plates really set the tone for the tropical theme of the table setting, so I tried to not to overdo it by adding too many decorative items.  Including fruit in the centerpiece was an obvious fit which is why they became a main element in the centerpiece.  After all, an abundance of fruit reminds me of being in the tropics!

I couldn’t resist adding in these gorgeous hand-blown, glass flower sculptures I bought years ago on a girls trip to Santa Fe.  They have great sentimental value to me, so I look for any opportunity to use them.


Create a centerpiece that coordinates with the place settings

I LOVE using apothecary jars throughout our home.  They were a perfect vessel for the fruit and provided quite a bit of drama and impact and inexpensively to boot!  When I can, I prefer to use items in my centerpieces that can be reused and repurposed.  There are clearly plenty of uses for the lemons and limes and the clementines are my daughter’s favorite fruit so they will be consumed this week most assuredly. Bonus!

There are so many items you could use in your own apothecary jars or containers to create a similar look.  Seashells, sand, stones, rope, leaves from tropical plants, tinted water with floating candles, etc. would all work perfectly.  Be creative!

I also used these apothecary jars for my Easter Table Setting this year and filled them with eggs.  Click the link below to see it.

Green and White Easter Table Setting

For the rest of the centerpiece, I simply added these adorable potted plants that were a bargain from Trader Joes.  They even included the containers so it was a no-brainer!  You do not need to spend a lot of money on flowers for centerpieces and this is a perfect example.  Plus, these will last longer than fresh cut flowers.


Finishing touches

To complete the look in the room, I always work on my buffet to coordinate with the table setting.  Here is a sneak peek of the arrangement I made for here with just two batches of mixed flowers I purchased from Trader Joe’s.  I have a post on that coming soon.

It worked out well that a few of her presents coordinated with the table!!

We had such a great evening having our daughter’s favorite meal for her 16th birthday family dinner.  Here is a precious photo of both of my kiddos when they were toddlers (birthday girl on the right).  My how time flies!!

Thank you for stopping by to see this fun summer table setting! Hopefully, you gleaned some ideas on how you can create your own.  This would be such a great table setting for an outdoor affair!

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This post contains some affiliate links to help keep this blog up and running.  I only include affiliate links that are pertinent to my topics and designs as well as links that could be helpful.



  1. Julie Briones | 19th Jul 18

    Beautiful tablescape, Holly! VERY inspiring! Pinned!

    • Holliday Johnson | 20th Jul 18

      Thank you so much, Julie! And, thanks for the pinning! XO

  2. Maueen | 20th Jul 18

    So pretty! I love the use of the citrus fruit. There is nothing better than a beautiful tablescape to set the tone for a wonderful dinner party!

    • Holliday Johnson | 20th Jul 18

      Thank you so much Maureen! I totally agree! Thanks for stopping by. 🙂

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