Whether you’re entertaining family, a group of friends or a raucous bunch of children, creating a table setting is a lovely way to show you care.
When it comes to hosting dinner parties, it can be easy to devote all your attention to the food. But one aspect that is often overlooked these days is the table setting, which is a shame, as a thoughtfully decorated table can be just as important in helping to create a memorable evening for your guests as the feast itself.
The right table setting will not only complement the delicious dishes you have prepared, it is also one of the best ways to evoke the desired atmosphere for the evening. And if you only own one classic white dinner set, the good news is, that’s all you need. And it needn’t be an overly expensive one.
With a few clever accessories and a little creativity, you can create a whole range of strikingly different settings to suit almost any style of entertaining.
A formal affair
To create a classic, elegant setting for a more formal event, start by using a length of lustrous wallpaper as a table runner for a sleek, modern feel.
Candles and a simple arrangement of roses in a vase are an easy way to add elegance, while place cards will lend a formal element to the seating arrangements. And don’t forget, now is the time to bring out your best glassware and cutlery, too.
If you’re trying to create a more contemporary table setting, the key is to keep things simple, using bright colours and unique accessories for interest.
Instead of traditional placemats, use colourful pieces of paper. And rather than traditional flowers, pile fruit high in classic vases.
Choose accessories in one bold colour for best effect. Modern stainless-steel cutlery and napkin rings finish the look.
Let your fruit display inspire your colour scheme. Match a bunch of plump grapes with a simple blue jug; use sheets of blue-lined graph paper as placemats and add a finishing touch with matching napkins.
If you love ruby-red pomegranates, lay the table with red glasses, candlesticks and red-striped napkins.
If your dinner set is inexpensive, consider investing in coloured designer glassware and cutlery in for added style.
Entertaining children creates a whole different set of considerations, such as minimising mess, and keeping them entertained for the duration of their meal.
Firstly, lose the tablecloth, it’s only going to get dirty – and instead, cover the table with butcher’s paper (making sure to secure it under the edges).
Equip the kids with easily accessible crayons and pencils so they can doodle away as they eat without creating extra work for you.
To keep the setting looking fun and appealing, introduce colour with bright napkins, multi-coloured cups and fun cutlery – and don’t be afraid to mix and match spots and stripes. You don’t have to buy specific children’s plates and bowls, either.
When you feel your children are mature enough, there’s no need for your dining table to be full of ugly plastics. The place setting pieces we used are just the small rice bowls and side plates from the bigger dinner set. Using grown-up China like mum and dad is bound to make the little ones feel special.
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