Host a Spring Brunch with Danielle Rollins

Table setting for a spring brunch by Danielle Rollins

Host a Spring Brunch with Danielle Rollins

One of our favorite ways to enjoy the gorgeous Spring weather Mother Nature has finally shared with us is to host an outdoor get-together for friends or family. An outdoor brunch, under the blossoming trees and sunshine, is the perfect way to enjoy the company of loved ones, which is why we teamed up with Danielle Rollins, entertaining expert and author of Soirée Entertaining with Style. Danielle pulled together a gorgeous table which celebrates color, and she shared her entire inspiration with us, below.

A mixture of patterns, like stripes, ikat, and even chinoiserie porcelain, work together when they're all in the same hue

Inspired by my love of France and my favorite season, I created a stunning but simple table setting for a luncheon in one of my favorite garden spots, surrounded by cherry trees in full bloom. I chose Ballard Designs Bistro Dinnerware with its blue band, as well as their French Market Linens with its elegant stripe – a nod to Parisian café life. The blue dinnerware also inspired the table’s color palette.

Hosting a Spring Brunch with Danielle Rollins

I chose a color palette of navy and pink for my outdoor table, and I tied these colors through from the linens to the dinnerware and even into the cocktails! I absolutely love color and mixing patterns and textures, as well as using items in creative ways.  I used the Toscana Ikat fabric as a table covering, layered with a white Hemstitch Linen tablecloth, and the Callistro Stripe fabric on the chair cushions.  In the past, I’ve also use a shower curtain or a bedspread to make a great last minute table covering in a pinch!

Outdoor brunch table in blues and pinks

When choosing a spot outdoors for your brunch, take into consideration these:  ample shade so your guests don’t become uncomfortable and a visually pleasing location with beautiful trees, flowers, and other greenery. I chose an intimate space in my garden that creates a cocoon of camellia bushes around the garden table.

Bring dinnerware and linens outdoors for a chic outdoor brunch

When hosting friends or family outdoors, I prefer to blend indoor elements into my garden. I’ll bring linens and dinnerware outside, but I also like to use relaxed elements like kitchen herbs or woven chargers to blend the inside and out.

A pristine white coconut cake is the pièce de resistance in this table setting!

Playing off the French theme, I used a square of French-themed tissue paper which looks just like a Parisian newspaper. Subtle details like these bring fun and whimsy into my table settings!

A self serve bar is best for casual gatherings because guests can help themselves

A self-serve bar is perfect for an outdoor brunch because guests can serve themselves. It’s not too fussy. But I do still like to make the bar feel special, not an afterthought, with linens, basket trays, and a floral arrangement. To do this, I look at things with the perspective of, “what do I need this to do?” I don’t always use items in the way they are intended! For example, on this occasion, I used an outdoor urn for an ice bucket and used my ice bucket to hold flowers clipped from my garden. Using things I already have in unexpected ways creates more visual interest.

For this occasion, I served my Pink Grapefruit Vieux Mot Cocktail to play up my pink and navy color palette and also because it’s just a refreshing complement to a light brunch menu!

Browse more entertaining ideas on our Entertaining Pinterest Board, or in Danielle’s book Soirée Entertaining with Style.

Danielle received Ballard Designs merchandise through this partnership, but her opinions are her own. 

Caroline McDonald

Caroline lives for pairing together patterns, mixing furniture styles, and oogling over our newest furniture pieces. As you can imagine, her little 1920's craftsman is in a constant state of flux. Here on How to Decorate, it's her goal to help you turn your home into your own little slice of paradise.


  1. Reply


    April 9, 2014

    Love the colors and Flower arrangement……Gives me inspiration for my own Home.

    • Reply

      How to Decorate Team

      April 10, 2014

      Thanks, Ruth! We’re so glad to hear it.

      The How to Decorate Team

  2. Reply

    vicki flynn

    April 8, 2014

    J’adore! EVERYTHING!!!

  3. Reply


    April 8, 2014

    The table setting is beautiful. I love the different patterns of blues being pulled together. The tablecloth is amazing.

  4. Reply


    April 8, 2014

    LOVE the French twists on outdoor dining. So elegant yet simple. Danielle Rollins is a true Tastemaker! Way to go Ballard!