A few ideas on how to make beautiful table settings for special occasions.
Setting your table for a holiday dinner, or any dinner party, should be more than a practical arrangement of plates and flatware. Your tablescape should be a work of art. It should reflect not only the warm welcome you want to show your guests, but also serve as an artistic venue for the fabulous meal you’re about to present.
Here are some ideas for terrific tablescapes:
For the sophisticated Christmastime dinner party, set your table using solid colors and simple ornamentation. Begin with a dark green tablecloth. Linen is an excellent choice of material, or use a cloth with a subtle sheen to it. For your dinnerware use white china, silverware with a simple pattern, etched stemware and white linen napkins. Your serving ware, if being placed on the table, should be white as well. Place a brilliant red linen table runner along the center of your table, lengthwise. Depending on how long your table is, place silver candlesticks with white candles at intervals along the runner. Don’t forget to use dripless candles.
Is the dinner more casual? Use a patterned tablecloth in bold holiday colors. Instead of etched stemware, use tumblers. Replace the candlesticks and candles with small decorative bowls filled with wrapped candies.
This simple premise of layering – tablecloth, place setting and serving ware, and ornamentation – described above can be adjusted to accommodate your existing dinnerware. If your holiday china has a pattern, play off the colors with your tablecloth, napkins and runner. Use the runner to set off the centerpiece or ornamentations.
If your celebrating a summer holiday, such as the Fourth of July, it’s likely your setting isn’t going to be as formal. That doesn’t mean your table can’t be just as striking.
Using the same concept of layering, set your table to play up the feel of the holiday. If your party is outdoors, you can use a vinyl red checked tablecloth, red, white and blue melamine dinnerware, brightly colored plastic tumblers, and inexpensive flatware. Put paper napkins in oversized plastic cups so guests can help themselves.
Use pinwheels in a small plastic bucket waited with sand or rocks for your ornamentation.
A good tip if your eating outdoors is to weight the corners of your tablecloth. Fill four small plastic bags with colorful stones and tie them with ribbons. Then attach these to the corners of your tablecloth. Use a hole punch to create the hole and thread the ribbon through.
Want to add a little more to your work of art? For each place setting, place a small piece of Styrofoam on a small dish. Stick a small paper flag in the Styrofoam and cover the foam and dish with moss. This creates a little hill with a flag on top.
Obviously, using holiday colors or the holiday itself is the starting point in the examples given so far. If your party doesn’t have a central theme, find your inspiration in the season.
For a winter party, create this warm tablescape for your guests.
Begin with a bright white tablecloth. On top of that, place a smaller, dark blue cloth. Use thin, double sided tape at the corners to keep the top cloth from sliding. Now add a deep gold table runner, preferably one with embroidery or damask patterning.
For your place settings, use white dinnerware with a gold accent. Add dark blue napkins in gold napkin rings. If possible, use gold plated flatware, and glassware rimmed in gold. For ornamentation, place an oblong white bowl with gold trim in the center and fill it with silk flowers of various colors, predominately gold. Add a few, low round candles on decorative plates along the table’s center.
The examples given demonstrate the basic tenets of tablescaping: theme, layers, and color. They also demonstrate traditional pairings and formats. Once you begin crafting tablescapes, you’ll find yourself adding more layers and patterns, and becoming more creative with ornamentation. Tablescaping may become one of your favorite parts of giving a party.
Published in: Entertaining