Let's dine outside

Last Updated 26 June 2014, 13:31 IST

Instead of the boring old dining space inside our homes, move 

the dinner conversations outdoors with al fresco dining, writes Simran Chhibber.

With the outdoors having become an extension of the indoor living spaces, our lifestyle has observed a paradigm shift both in terms of space allocation and usage.

 Certain daily activities that were once confined to a certain area of the house have made a bold foray into unexplored pastures. Dining has been one such activity that has strolled from the strict confines of a dining room to the open expanses of the outdoors.

One of the greatest joys of dining outside is enjoying the cool evening breeze, with the faint smell of flowers pampering your senses and the consciousness of the outdoor environs raking your awareness. Apart from the very fact that you dine outside, a relaxed, impromptu and cheerful al fresco dining doubles the indulgence and pleasure. Let me run you through a few ideas that might prompt you to experiment with al fresco.

Vintage colours

A beautiful setting by your lawns, reminiscent of the times gone by, could be quite an inspiration with vintage colours like pistachio, terracotta, light blue and blue-grey providing the required stimulus. 

A simple set of chairs and tables painted in these shades can create a cozy corner in the outdoors and a casual sideboard could add to the delight. Throw in some beautiful planters using your old chinaware as pots and you will be in love with your new al fresco arrangement.

Mediterranean inspirations

A marble centrepiece, bright flowers springing from an earthen pot, terracotta surrounds, wrought iron garden furniture and a small water fountain bearing the music of trickling water, all bring in the Mediterranean delight right to your outdoor landscape and inspire you to dine beneath the stars. 

While going in for the Mediterranean touch, do not forget to imbibe the blues and greens of the Greek seas.

Victorian antiquity

Neutral shades, stone arrangements, a fireplace setting and an arbour (if possible) can bring the Victorian antiquity right to your doorstep. 

Match up the upholstery in shades of natural stone like slate blue, asparagus, ash grey or slate grey, pep up the background with some gorgeous bougainvillea and dwell in the splendours of Victorian al fresco dining. Classic antique crockery can add to the delight and do not forget to display your gorgeous silverware and exquisite wine glasses.

Go Asian

Horizontal louvred backdrops in wood finishes, a zen dining table with matching chairs, a pergola on the top, dimmed lighting and a Buddha statue in the backdrop can inspire you to fine dine Asian style. 

You can even opt for a low height seating and go the Japanese way or just use natural colours, in soft tones, like grey, white, shades of beige or pink beige, that bring about a sense of relaxation and tranquility. 

A bonsai on or beside your dining table could be a good way to garnish the setup.

Rustic charm

Lot of wood in shades varying from the light to the darkest, expressed as tables, chairs, artefacts, canopies and whatever you can think of is always good. Accessorise the wooden ensembles with bright cushions with traditional motifs and a bright rug with bold rustic design and recreate the charm of dining in a log cabin.

Beach house look

Gorgeous and sturdy wicker furniture with summery upholstery in custard yellows and aqua blue shades, glass top dining tables, lots of white shears and accents in natural soothing colours can make you feel that you are dining just beside the ocean.

Seeking inspiration from the arts & crafts movement

Dark wood colours accentuated by clean and crisp geometry, complemented by upholstery in shades of deep forest green, dusty rose and sapphire blue bringing out the grandeur of dark wood, speak the language of the arts and crafts movement. 

Accessorised by artefacts like the pendant lantern lights, stained glass accents and painted tiles with floral motifs can create a mood so resplendent that you would want to spend a lot of time eating outdoors.

Bonfire arrangement

There are a few of us who would tread along the casual path rather than the formal one. A bonfire arrangement is just the perfect thing for them. A fireplace in the centre, low height stone seating cuddled around the fire pit and some unpolished stone flooring could create a relaxed, indulgent mood.

Decks, porches, patios and garages are probably the best and the least used spaces in a house that can really come to great use in the form of al fresco dining. 

The idea is to free yourself from the bondage of indoors and experiment with the nature outside. I am sure you will love your al fresco setup, once you decide to have one.

(Published 26 June 2014, 13:31 IST)

Follow us on