Six tips on how to set a proper and beautiful table.
1. Don't be afraid to use color
Choosing a color scheme that works within the season is important, but don't shy away from colors or feel limited by a season's "traditional" colors. You can use pops of turquoise in a more fall motif of oranges and creams, and purple has a place in the silvers and greens of winter.
Katherine Webster and Nancy Kuperberg at No Regrets Events in Atlanta love seeing different shades of a dominant color.
"Variation in shade is always nice," said Kuperberg, commenting on her clients' use of color in places where neutrals are typically standard, like candlesticks and linens.
2. Be creative with your serving pieces
Use pitchers as vases, cutting boards as serving platters and cookware as serving vessels. A cast iron or carbon steel pan is the perfect piece of cookware to go from stovetop to tabletop — just wrap a nice thick towel around the handle and serve directly from the pan.
3. Use natural resources
Use nature to inspire your table decorations. Last year, Webster picked leaves from magnolia, cypress and holly trees, created a garland and accented with pine cones — just like that she had a holiday dining table centerpiece. Use flowers, herbs such as rosemary and lavender, and plants and fruit from around your yard as centerpieces or table decor.
4. Mix and match
Gone are the days of a perfectly matching tablescape; instead, bring out your favorite pieces and create a unique setting by using multiple pieces from various dinnerware collections. The items you've curated in your life not only make for interesting conversations, but also make the table feel more personal. Go ahead and set those wine glasses from Prague next to your grandmother's china — an eclectic table that represents you is far more interesting and beautiful than something you'd find in a catalog. Just make sure you don't try to use everything at once, as you may end up with more of a garage sale vibe than a cool, mismatched one.
5. Choose the right centerpiece
It's important to think about the height and size of your centerpiece, based on who and what you're serving.
"For example, if a family-style meal is served, there may not be room for an elaborate centerpiece. Candles on a dinner table must be lit and should be above eye level; however, the use of votives have become very popular," said Webster.
6. Know where to place flatware, glassware and linens
Most of us know that when it comes to eating with utensils, you start from the outside and work your way in, but where do you actually place the flatware when you're setting the table? No Regrets Events clarified that "flatware is placed, in order of use, about one inch from edge of table, lined up at the base with each one next to it." They added that your choice of glassware depends on beverages served (wine, beer, cocktails, etc). Glasses should be placed in order of use to the top right of the place setting. The napkin is set on the charger plate unless the first course is in place when the guests are seated.