March 18th, 2009 |

The Essentials to Setting a Table

Essentials to Setting a Table (small)

The very talented ladies at Elle Decor have some great tips for setting the perfect table.

Setting a table should be an expression of your personal style. But even the most creative stylists need structure to achieve the best results. After deciding on the time, place and guest list, consider the following steps to setting the perfect table.

1. Set a Theme

It’s important to set the theme for your event, no matter how large or small the gathering. Whether it be a birthday party or a ladies luncheon, setting a theme will captivate your guests. Always make sure to create a consistent look from start to finish.

• Make sure to keep a consistent look among the invitations, decorations and menu.

• Choose a theme that represents your interest.   Garden motif, nautical look, tropical themes are always a hit.   Still need inspiration? Look at the items in your closet; it will help you come up with a table setting that mirrors your style.

2. Select Dinnerware

First off, use what you have—with a bit of digging and creativity, your perfect setting is in there somewhere.

• If none of your patterns seem to fit the bill, select your simplest and build from there. White plates are the perfect staple since you can dress it up or down.

• Or if simple doesn’t seem special enough–mix things up. Combine a variety of complementary—but not matching—dishes, cups and platters with the same motif, such as florals or stripes, for a fun, stylish table.

3. Select Glassware

Experiment with your glassware and don’t let classification limit the use—many glasses have multiple uses. Also, don’t feel you must work with one style or color of glassware.

• Most glassware can do double duty. For example, martini glasses make great serving pieces for small appetizers like shrimp.

4. Select & Polish Silverware

Sometimes it’s easy to overlook flatware. But don’t since it adds another stylish element to your summer table. Think of dressing up your flatware with a variety of adornments or buy some unique or vintage pieces to mix in with your set.

• Add flatware with bold designs or vivid colors to your table for a decorative touch

• Ribbons, twine and metal accents can be used to embellish flatware, creating a charming, summery look.

5. Select Linens

Always have fine linens on hand for sit-down dinners since they add a level of sophistication to even the smallest gathering.

• Pay attention to how they feel; they stay with your guests throughout the entire meal. Avoid stiff fabrics and choose materials with a soft or more luxurious feel to them.

• Choose placemats and napkins that pick up the colors of your glassware and dinnerware.

• Textured elements like embroidery add interest, and you can play with patterns – mix a stripe napkin with a floral placemat for added playfulness.

6. Finishing Touches

Plates, glasses and flatware are a given, but it’s the accents that really make your table setting memorable and express your personal style.

• Floral arrangements in low glass containers, partnered with small fruits like oranges or lemons, add a summery vibe.

• Special items used as favors or place cards (seashells, garden herbs or flowers) will distinguish your table and delight your guests. Herbs like rosemary can be wrapped in twine and arranged at each place setting.

• Add glass votives to illuminate a tabletop—it’s an inexpensive way to create warmth and ambiance.

Images: table setting, dinnerware and placecard pictures (elledecor.com), glassware and linen pictures (crateandbarrel.com), silverware caddy (potterybarn.com)

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