When entertaining, having a gorgeous and interesting table to complement your meal is a must, as far as I am concerned. An eye-catching tabletop arrangement can create energy, start conversations, and even interact with your guests. It also provides a wonderful creative outlet for an artistic hostess or host.
Armed with the right advice and inspiration, adding some style to your table can be quite easy. There are a variety of ways to add tactile appeal and warmth to a table, but I find that the easiest and most effective way is through the use of fabric. I could never find the cloths in the colors and fabrics I was looking for if I wasn’t willing to spend the time making them — yes, I make my own table linens. It might sound daunting, but you are rewarded with incredible patterns and deep, saturated silks that would otherwise cost a fortune.
Color is also simple way to add appeal to your dinner table. For a birthday, I might go monochromatic, maybe using the birthday child’s favorite color as my guide, or go all white in winter for something glamorous. You can also employ contrasting colors like a bright blue and orange, or a deep purple with sunny yellow. However, I find that this works well when you have one large mass of a deeply-saturated color to anchor the look.
Entertaining on a budget? You can still add lots of style to your table without purchasing a thing! There is something wonderful to be said for “shopping” in your closets and cupboards for tabletop accessories. Don’t be afraid to incorporate those objects found around your house into your next tablescape.
When planning tablescapes of my own, I approach the project as if I were creating an art installation. I’ll make a plan in my head of what will guide the look — maybe some pieces mixed and matched together or some beautiful fruit I found at the prior day’s market — and then set aside time the day before my event to complete the table. This way, I am not too harried the day of a party and have as much time as I need to finish the look. Begin with something simple, or go for something extravagant — in the end, your imagination is your limit!
Heather Christo is a Seattle-based accomplished chef and hostess whose entertaining style embraces accessibility and ease without sacrificing glamour. Every month she will be sharing her advice and inspiration for those setting the scene at home.