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How to Style a Table

Secrets to a Foolproof Summer Table

Photo: Anna Monette Roberts

Rumor has it that setting a layered table should only be left to special occasions, but that's not the case. It's easy to do, and even the most casual of celebrations — like a Summer BBQ — can have a styled look. To prove it, here are four tips to follow when it comes to planning your table. We promise this is something your guests will actually notice . . .

  1. Start with a base: First things first — set the foundation. If you don't want to cover your table, opt for a runner ($35-$36, originally $60) rather than a tablecloth. Choose something with color and pattern to inspire the overall look and complement your other pieces. For each individual setting, consider these grass placemats ($24). They add texture and a relaxed vibe — perfect for a Mediterranean BBQ.
  2. Add a centerpiece: Sure, you can keep it simple with flowers, but why not try something new? Although we did display a few hydrangea stems in bud vases, potted rosemary plants were the focal point. You can easily find them at home-improvement stores for less than $10. And the best part? They outlive blooms and can be used in your herb garden. For ambience, we paired a few of these wood pillars together ($23). Transition them to your mantel when the party is over.
  3. Focus on the place setting: Once the bigger pieces are in place, focus on each setting. For a pop of color (key to every party), we used these blue plates ($52 for four). They look like antique earthenware and they're shatterproof! Then we added a simple white napkin and topped with a small, filigree salad plate ($16). Don't be afraid to get creative: this is the best way to mix and match what you already own.
  4. Add a personal touch: Last but not least, you don't need to be a DIY queen to add a personal touch. Inspired by the rosemary centerpieces, we used rosemary stems to create wreath place cards. Do be sure to soak the branches, and use floral wire and twine to tie it all together. These party DIYs are also fun way to keep costs down without sacrificing style.

Photo: Anna Monette Roberts

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