Clever Accents for Place Settings

Entertaining expert Karen Bussen shares two ways to take your table settings to the next level.

Place setting

Setting a beautiful table doesn’t require the fanciest china and crystal — just a fanciful imagination! Personalize your next party with creative accents for your dinner guests’ place settings.  Here are two super-simple ideas.

1. Mushroom Place Card Holder

To create this whimsical mushroom place card holder, you need look only as far as your refrigerator. Inexpensive button mushrooms make the sturdiest (and cute-as-a-buttonest) holders. Just cut a slit lengthwise in the stem of each ‘shroom, then slide in a hand lettered card with each guest’s name. If your mushroom won’t sit straight, you can always cut a little slice off the round cap to keep it stable. (Photo courtesy of William Geddes

Instead of buying expensive place cards, I keep paper and card stock remnants from old greeting cards and craft projects in a box and when I’m having folks over, I just cut out whatever shape and color I like. Place these adorable accents on each guest’s plate or napkin, and be sure to mix up your guests to spark new conversations. 

Note:  Think out of the crisper on this one. You can also use radishes, baby potatoes, or even strawberries — just make sure that if your chosen fruit or veggie contains moisture inside, you insert a paper clip into the slit, using the clip to hold the card so it will stay dry. 


2. Conversation-Starter Napkin Rings

Want to get your guests talking at the table?  Create my “conversation-starter” napkin rings. For a Ladies’ Zen Night themed party, I wrapped long rectangular strips of decorative paper around a folded napkin. In the center of each paper strip, I used rubber stamps to create a pretty “Zen” motif, and I wrote a different question for each lady to answer before our meal, all centered around the theme of gratitude. You can tailor your queries to your party’s purpose (birthday or anniversary trivia, holiday memories — whatever you like), or copy inspirational quotes or lines of poetry instead of questions. (Photo courtesy of Williams Geddes)