Outdoor Dining

Despite all the rain here in Melbourne (seriously, dudes), I’m starting to day dream about warm Summer nights where we can relax outside on the back porch and eat dinner as the sun sets and watch our daughter play in the backyard. Before we moved last year, we only had a very small courtyard space that we never used as an eating area, and now that we have a house with an actual backyard that is actually landscaped thanks in large part to my husband over Winter this year, (we have grass! And plants!) I’m excited to spend a bit of time outdoors this Spring and Summer enjoying lazy barbecues, evening drinks with friends, and splashing around in the paddle pool on hot days.

However, the one thing I don’t really have is outdoor tableware. I mean, obviously we have our crockery in the kitchen, but I’ve been on the lookout for tableware that’s a little less breakable (ie, melamine) because it’s a bit more kid friendly (and also adult-friendly – I am clumsy). I don’t want to be smashing plates on the pavers like I’m in a Greek restaurant and end up having to go out and buy a new indoor dinner setting at the end of every Summer because of all the breakages (although maybe I do…I do LOVE shopping for homewares….)

On that note, I’ve been hunting around online for some fun, colourful melamine tableware, and have found a bunch of great options. Honestly, probably too many options, because how can I choose just one set?

Williams Sonoma $16 – $34AUD

How gorgeous is this set from Williams Sonoma? The rustic look makes it look distinctly unlike melamine, but it is! That pistachio green will never not be one of my go-to colours, in anything. The distressed edges make it look a little rough and well-used, and while each piece isn’t cheap on its own, it would be worth the splurge to have an outdoor tableware setting as shabby chic as this.

Mozi – $11.95 – $22AUD

Mozi’s collection of melamine is super cute, and would be great for mix and matching a set on your own. The Australiana items are so kitsch and colourful (a plate with an iconic Melbourne tram, anyone?), but I also like the fox, deer, and mice woodland creatures plates for something a bit different.

Orla Kiely – $8.95 – $39AUD

I cannot resist Orla Kiely homewares. I don’t own any yet, because it’s rarely on sale and I have a smallish kitchen in our new house, but damn if I can’t linger over the Orla Kiely table at Bed Bath n Table’s huge store in Hawthorn and mentally purchase literally every single item on there. I’m thinking maybe I’ll start small with some of the melamine tableware and slowly work my way up. The bright, 70s colours are so perfect for Summer dining.

French Bull – $11 – $39AUD

I hadn’t heard of the branch French Bull before, but I’m glad I have now. This vaguely psychadelic style of near-neon colours are so eye catching and would look great against our charcoal grey outdoor setting. Probably better for use in the afternoon or evening, I suspect using them first thing in the morning for a breakfast might be a bit of an assault on the eyes. Or it could wake you RIGHT UP, I suppose?

Pottery Barn – $10 – $12AUD

How chic is this Pottery Barn table setting? And like the Williams Sonoma setting I featured earlier, it’s melamine, which it really does not look like – it looks like a beautiful, ceramic, subdued table setting for sophisticated outdoor dining, particularly with the gentle gold shading around the edges. I love the shade seafoam in pretty much anything, and this is just so pretty. Perfect for someone looking for something a little more grown up when they’re dining outdoors. I also love the stone-look bright orange melamine setting (which also comes in a deep, bright pink). The faux stone look makes it outdoorsy and the pop of colour is fun and festive.

Bed Bath ‘n’ Table – $14.95 – $39.95AUD

This isn’t melamine, but the bright turquoise colour from Bed Bath ‘n’ Table caught my eye straight away. Bamboo dinner ware is everywhere as we approach Summer, and while I don’t know that this would be as durable as melamine outside if dropped, it’s worth purchasing just to see. I love how lightweight bamboo tableware is – for someone clumsy like me it means juggling more than one dish is a little easier instead of trying to manage several heavy plates at once like a pro-waitress. It’s a little more grown up for dining outdoors, but it’s not so precious you’d feel awful if you knocked a piece of it onto the paving after one too many sangrias, right?

Anyone else eagerly prepping for Summer dining and entertaining? Let me know what you’ve found!

Until next time,

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