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How To Set The Perfect Table For Any Occasion

If there’s one thing I learned about entertaining, other than serving unforgettable food. its that one should never forego creating a fun, colorful and chic table setting. Whether you are hosting another family or a full house of guests, a great tablescape will indeed set the ambience.

With so many holidays throughout the year, my palette for all things table top is often inspired by the season and the celebration. By keeping this in mind year round, I can usually whip up a fun table within 15 minutes just by rearranging items that I already own.  And no matter what level of fancy the party may be, from a more formal Jackie O style to a more casual style dinner, this table style guide will have you covered. Here’s how I do it:

Table Runner

Buy one table runner that really represents your style. For me, I chose a macrame one that elicits a very bohemian theme. I found the macrame runner to be natural enough that it can compliment any theme.

Placemats

Always have an arsenal of placemats on hand. You can buy them anywhere, and definitely recommend starting with the sale rack. Quantity is totally up to you; I typically buy in sets of 16, since my family alone consists of six. If I’m lucky enough to find a large quantity, sixteen is my magic number. My table can seat ten, and I like to have six settings for my kitchen island. When it comes to placemats and table settings, layering is key. I have a set of faux fur and a simple grey linen to start my layering process.

Chargers

Another piece that I insist on incorporating to insert a more dramatic feel is the charger. I feel this layer of your setting really sets the stage and it also makes having a table cloth a thing of the past. I have a set of natural wood ones and these round rope placemats that have a dual function and can also serve as a charger. The charger can really dress up the table, sparking a lot of creativity no matter the level of formality of your party.

Napkins

I am a huge fan of cloth napkins. A quality napkin loosely tucked inside of a napkin ring that compliments the charger really has a way of pulling everything together. You really can’t go wrong with a natural wood ring. It has so much versatility, and makes for a chic, rustic or casual accent to any table setting. Resting the napkin across the top of each plate adds another layer of texture and dimension that I simply adore.

Glassware

When it comes to glassware, I’m typically drawn toward low to moderately priced selections for the sheer reason of breakage. As a family of six, often entertaining other families with multiple children, you can see why frugal glassware finds are a good choice for us. Per setting, not one, but two glasses are necessary (for the adults): one for wine and one for water. And for a little fun, try adorning your stemware with these wine markers, which are great for a good laugh and a conversation starter. For my water glasses, I like a splash of color, and my go-to has always been a cool oceanic blue. For wine glasses, we have a set of stemless as well as a set with stems to compliment our wine selection for the evening.

Dishes

I am obsessed with simple, yet sleek white dinnerware. The white has a classic, clean look, allowing other table accessories and colors to take center stage. To create a three dimensional setting, I always incorporate a bowl to add shape and height to the setting. “What if I’m not serving soup?” you ask. No problem! Use the bowl for salad, or don’t use it at all. It can be tucked away when entrees are served and brought back out for dessert. The bowl is the trick to the ultimate layering look. The goal here is to stack, creating a little complexity to your setting.

Decorative Accents

Every woman loves her accessories. By far, my favorite part tablescaping is working with fun and unique accents. When you’re hosting, keep in mind that even when holidays are few and far between, your table should never skimp on style. One easy and inexpensive accent is to always have a set of colored mason jars on hand to fill with flowers. I also use a letter board to greet guests, or to simply display a fun little saying. My friend Amanda and I always say “More is More” and that couldn’t ring more true in my opinion than that of a festive table. For parties, I love filling my table with unexpected items. I have used table fans, tied ribbons to string, and have laid out strands of twinkling lights. During Christmas, my table was so over the top, some guests hardly noticed my enormous tree! Your tabletop is your canvas for creativity, and an opportunity to really wow your guests. Don’t be afraid to dress it up from time to time. Afterall, it’s going to serve as the chicest of settings for some of your most memorable moments.

I hope some of my seasonal looks will inspire you to elevate every meal with a festive table. I’d love to hear your thoughts on some great tablescape ideas, accents and themes. Comment below!

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2 comments

  1. Your blog inspires me a great deal and gives me great ideas for my home. My family is most pleased with the results.

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