4 ways to create a stylish table setting
Presentation is everything when it comes to food. As a child I watched my mum put on countless occasions at home – from casual Sunday afternoon canapés to formal home dinner parties. She entertained with ease, generosity and warmth. Mum would plan her menu for the eagerly anticipated dinner party weeks in advance. She would spend hours poring over cookbooks (Margaret Fulton was her bible) crafting the perfectly themed menu. French cuisine was her speciality and she cooked with exciting ingredients. No tuna Mornay in sight!
I have inherited her love of entertaining, though I can’t say I do it nearly as well or as often. My mum partied hard during her “roaring 40’s” but she was well beyond the baby stage by then. Sometimes Mum and Dad’s guests were still there in the morning, much to the surprise and delight of us when we woke up! And then it would be croissants and coffee.
The classic dinner party of that era may be gone, and so too is the formal dining room. But coming together over food is still one of life’s greatest pleasures. Today’s more open and casual spaces allow for more of a focus on what a dinner party is really about—people and food coming together.
It is often said that we eat with our eyes first. In this post I’d like to share with you my top four tips for styling a table. Even a casual lunch with friends can become more special with a few fancy touches.
Flowers are, in my view, an essential feature of table. I absolutely adore fresh flowers, which can be arranged in multiple vases/glass jars (they don’t have to match) or one single bouquet in the middle of the table. My feeling is that smaller arrangements work best – you don’t want a tall vase dominating the table. The flowers shouldn’t be the star of the show (hopefully the real hero is the food) so choose an arrangement that complements your setting. When I hosted Christmas lunch for 45 guests a few years ago I chose natives, which I placed in small jars. In this post I have used a small bunch, placed in the centre of the table. When entertaining I always ensure I have a bunch of flowers in the powder room also.
It is a full sensory experience for the eyes, hands, as well as taste buds, and tableware has become an extension of this. Tableware helps to set the overall tone and ambience of your dining experience. I literally swooned over Caviar collection. A throw back to Art Deco and oh-so-sexy! Plus, the metallic tone adds a touch of drama and luxury to the table. Similarly, stemless wine glasses bring an elegant and contemporary edge to the table. And
White is the obvious choice for tableware, but who wants to be obvious? I love muted tones such as stone greys and dusty pastels, which can help to bring out the colours in the food. Robust and rustic dishes tend to be able to handle bolder colours too. The Caviar collection is striking addition to the Maxwell & Williams range and is a modern alternative to traditional white settings. How good does the Turkish Delight and pomegranate in the salad look on the black plates?!
Overall, a well-designed table really comes down to how you choose to pair the items you have available. Make sure you combine pieces that make a bold statement with items that don’t overwhelm the design.
This is your table, let it reflect your sense of style. And don’t forget to have fun with it. If you love a particular print or colour, then find a way to introduce it into your table setting – use what inspires you!
Do you entertain often? If you would like me to share any of the dishes featured in this post, or you want to know more about the tableware, just leave a comment below and I’ll be sure to respond.
Disclosure: Maxwell & Williams gifted me with some of the items that are featured in this post.