Table Setting

HOLIDAY PLANNING Designing The Perfect Table

Fall is officially upon us and with this welcomed season of changing leaves and cooling temperatures come thoughts of family and friends gathered around the holiday table. With a little planning and even the tightest of budgets, a beautiful table setting will enhance any dinner party or social event. From casual to elegant and classic to extravagant, the perfect table should be the focal point of your parties throughout the holiday season.  

Here are some simple steps to setting the perfect table: 

Inspiration ~ Let everyday objects and memories be your inspiration. Inspiration can come from organic elements such as seashells and driftwood, a favorite painting of Tuscany drenched with golden sunflowers and rich red wines, or perhaps something as simple as a playful napkin ring that brings a smile to your face. Whatever your inspiration, it will set the tone for everything you do. 

Linens ~ When setting your table, start with a basic color tablecloth. For a more casual setting, choose a solid color table cloth and add a festive runner down the center of the table. If you have a favorite table cloth with a pattern, use a solid color runner and place settings to avoid a busy table. A white table cloth is always a successful canvas for creating a more sophisticated table top. Cloth napkins can be creatively folded in origami fashion, gathered in your favorite napkin ring or draped softly in a goblet.  

Color & Texture ~ Keep the color scheme simple and tasteful. Choose one or two dominate colors and add accent colors that coordinate and compliment the surrounding decor. Rattan placemats or glass chargers add texture and interest to your settings. Fruit and cheese platters, colorful serving dishes, as well as spirited labeled wine bottles add both color and texture. Adding chair pads to casual and slipcovers to formal settings is another creative technique.  

Centerpieces ~ When choosing a centerpiece, you will want to adorn your tabletop without obstructing the view of your dinner guests. Fresh flowers in low arrangements with tall candleholders are classic. To add a sense of casual, a simple vase with flowers will do. Candle holders come in a variety of materials and shapes, like the more casual wood and glass, while crystal exudes more elegance and formality. Add interest by varying the height and quantity of your candle holders and centerpieces. 

Tableware ~ You don’t need fine china to create a beautiful table setting. Local stores, such as Cost Plus World Market, carry an array of solid or patterned dinnerware that will serve any affair at a fraction of the cost. Be creative as you combine different looks, shapes and sizes that will layer your table and put your signature on the final creation. 

Light ~ Don’t underestimate the power of light when planning your party. Nothing adds to the ambiance of your table setting more than candles. Set alone or in groupings, candles are the perfect source of subdued lighting to set the mood for a relaxed and comfortable conversation.  

Props ~ Architectural elements bring a unique perspective to a table setting. Consider using an antique door in the background to create a sense of welcoming or an oversized framed mirror to reflect light and open a small space. Screens can be used to block an exposed dining area that is otherwise creating a more intimate area in which to dine.  

These are just a few suggestions as you celebrate the season, but remember that your table setting should be a reflection of you! Whether casual or formal, it should embody your own distinctive personality and style, creating holiday gatherings that family and friends will long remember. 


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