Al Fresco Dining at Home: How to Create a Perfect Dinner Table



For those of us fortunate enough to have a garden, most of us want to savour our time spent in it. Allegra Marchiorello and Valeria Piovesana Thompson, co-founders of luxury linen brand Once Milano, are veterans of alfresco dining – in fact, in the summer months, the two enjoy most meals outside. But, how do you dress a garden table beautifully?


“It’s partly about making a moment more beautiful,” said Marchiorello. “When you make the table more beautiful, it is just different. Everyone appreciates beauty and it changes the atmosphere for the better. The point is to enjoy the time together rather than to admire the table, but it can play such a big part in adding to the occasion.”

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Here, Marchiorello offers her easy, yet stylish, table-setting tips.


All images are courtesy. This article originally appeared on

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Use different items for dining inside and outside


“I’m not spending hours planning the table for each meal, but I have options to hand and I know what works together with both the food and the environment for a harmonious table. This is as true for the outdoor table as for dining inside. To move the items you use inside to outside won’t always work – the stark white plates, glistening cutlery and sparkling crystal I enjoy inside can be too jarring outside. I tend to use more rustic plates, antique cutlery which has a gentler patina and smokey glassware, for a table that works far better with the greenery of my garden.”

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