I never used to like to set the table.
It was one of those things my mom asked me to do, and I begrudgingly agreed. Because I was kid. And my mom was the boss.
So I laid out a fork with a napkin tucked underneath. Plate. Knife. Spoon. And then a glass filled with milk. Because my mom wanted to make sure we all had strong, healthy bones.
Not my favorite chore, but certainly better than dusting.
Then as one does, I got older. And it turns out I like to cook and entertain. And I really like to decorate.
Setting the table no longer feels like a chore. It is more like, oh goody, I get to set the table. (I know, I know, I'm a nerd.)
Designing a table always starts with a germ of an idea. Am I going glam? More bohemian? Are we eating al fresco? Will there be wine? (And the answer to that is always, yes, there will be wine.)
Then I hit Pinterest, look at Design*Sponge or flip through some magazines.
Over the years I’ve realized some of the most beautiful tables are those that use unusual elements in unexpected ways.
Certainly, you can use china and crystal to make a table look beautiful. And I do love that look.
But sometimes, you want to create a tablescape with a little more daring, or maybe you’re just tried of the same crystal and china look? Whatever the case, I thought I would share some ideas for creating more unexpected table settings.
1. Mix natural elements in. I am not talking just about flowers here because flowers are pretty expected right? What about placing a pear on each one of your plates? Or creating a centerpiece out of moss?
2. Use mismatched vintage dinnerware. This idea has gained a lot of popularity over the last several years. You can use mismatched vintage plates or mismatched vintage stemware. The idea is to do it in way that is looks intentional and cohesive, instead of like a great big mess. And done correctly, the results are stunning.
3. Use formal and informal elements. In other words, don’t get hung up on using all the china with the crystal. Think a little outside-of-the-box. Maybe you use your tiered marble serving tray, but you pair it with a tie dye tablecloth?
4. Make it all about the food. This is not a great idea if you are serving meatloaf. I mean I love meatloaf, but it just isn’t that pretty to look at. This works better if the food you are serving is particularly visually appealing. Think a beautiful cheese plate with charcuterie, artfully assembled salads, antipasto skewers, roasted game hens, etc. If your food is ready for Instagram, then it is a perfect focus for creating a beautiful table.
But for me, the best part of creating a beautiful table is sharing it with your family and friends.