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Table Setting Ideas and Tips

6 Secrets For Setting the Perfect Table

If your culinary smarts trump your table-setting skills, you're selling yourself (and your food) short. Interior designer and blogger Courtney Lake insists that the key to any successful dinner party is paying attention to both. "Entertaining is about engaging all of the senses and creating a beautiful backdrop to your food," says Courtney. See the six hassle-free tips he relies on to set the perfect table.

  1. Set a Base
  2. Using a tablecloth is a great way to instantly change the look of a dining table. Typically, the tablecloth is looked at as the “base layer” that really allows you to create the canvas upon which you will present the meal. You can never go wrong with a crisp white tablecloth, but why not have fun and experiment with a pattern like a circus stripe or floral?

  3. Use White Dinner Plates
  4. Invest in oversized white dinner plates. They do double duty as plates as well as serving dishes. Plus, they allow your food to take center stage.

  5. Add Interest With Salad Plates and Napkins
  6. Add a bold jolt of pattern or color to the place setting with fun salad plates and napkins. Mixed with the white dinner plates, the combinations are limitless. Napkins can be picked up for a song at a variety of stores and salad plates are typically half the price of dinner plates. Stores like HomeGoods or Marshalls are great resources for both. But also keep an eye out for one-offs — when combined with others, they can create a visually interesting mix-matched table.

  7. Individual Arrangements
  8. Most entertainers swear by floral centerpieces and I think they have their place . . . just not on the table. Instead, use small bud vases to create individual arrangements. Not only are they less expensive than creating a large centerpiece and take up less space, they also make a great gift for guests at the end of the night!

  9. Keep Glassware Simple
  10. A beautiful glass wine glass or crystal water goblet is truly worth the investment. Not only will they transition with you as your tastes change, they are items you can use in your every day life. However, if you have the budget and the storage space, adding in a set of metallic glassware is a great way to amp up a table’s drama.

  11. Mix Flatware
  12. There is something so incredibly chic about mismatched flatware. Who cares if all your salad forks don’t match! I love mixing my mother of pearl-handled pieces with vintage silver and my favorite set of every day cutlery from Pier One. Here's a similar version of my go-to flatware!

Want even more design inspiration from Courtney? Check out his brilliant tips for pulling off pet-friendly interiors!

Photo courtesy of Juliette Tinnus

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