We’re currently obsessed with tablescaping
Because we want to make an occasion of eating in, too.
By Grace Cassidy
We’ve all now grown accustomed to this ‘new normal’, which has made staying in and cooking (or, let’s be real, ordering a takeaway) the new going out. But ‘growing accustomed’ shouldn’t translate to ‘not making an effort’.
The art of tablescaping has been sweeping homes since the start of lockdown. But for those of us who are new to the game, how exactly do we style the perfect table?
We’ve discovered luxury tablescaping experts and event designers Duchess & Butler and they’ve let us in on a few of their secrets which, of course, we’re sharing to help you make your next night in one to remember.
The perfect serve
It’s important to think about what you’re serving in advance, as you’ll need to make sure that you have suitable dinnerware, cutlery and glassware for each course. You also need to judge how much room will be needed on the table. In most cases, buffet-style platters take up valuable design space, so it may be best to serve in the kitchen and bring plated dishes over, where possible. It also has the added bonus of making your other half feel like they are being waited on – brining that restaurant experience to your own home.
Pinterest and Instagram will become your new best friends on your journey to becoming a tablescaping expert. Take some time to sit and scope out ideas for your own design – social media is packed with every colour, style and theme you can imagine, so you’ll never run out of inspiration.
Tables can be designed for any occasion, around any theme and for any number of guests. Just because there are only two of you, don’t let the opportunity pass to create something really beautiful – a little effort will go a long way when it comes to surprising your loved one.
Before creating your design, think about the colour palette or theme you want to go with. A key tip from Duchess & Butler when it comes to thinking about your colour palette is to balance deeper tones with some paler ones, to create extra depth in your design.
Once you have chosen your theme, look for anything you may already have at home that fits your vision – napkins, placemats, candles, etc. You’ll be surprised at what you may find lying around that can be put to new (uber-effective) use.
Luxurious touches are what will set your date-night table apart from your everyday table setting, and adding table linen will elevate your whole look and feel. Treat the tablecloth as the canvas for your design. A coloured tablecloth that complements your colour theme will really help create a stand-out design.
A little trick that Duchess & Butler love is layering! Stack your dessert plate onto your dinner plate and, if you’re using chargers or placemats, place your layered dinnerware on top of these: you’ll see an instant transformation in your place settings.
Next, figure out where your napkin will be positioned – it’s a key element of the layered look. For a little bit of extra height, fold or knot it and position it on top of your stack; otherwise, arrange it into a long, rectangular fold and have it cascading from in between your dinner and dessert plates.
The real secret to a beautiful table is to create some depth with abundant layers and textures. Using flowers and foliage is the easiest (and most romantic) way to achieve this.
Make sure you choose blooms that compliment your colour palette and try arranging loose, delicate blooms of varied heights unevenly in small vases – that way they’ll look great even if you don’t have the artistry of a seasoned florist!
Add an odd number of vases and dot them around the table for added charm. Don’t be afraid to mix and match different styles of bud vases, although clear are always the most versatile. Alternatively, clear jam jars tied with a complimentary ribbon work well and are an easy way to make your design feel more rustic.
Using decorative objects of varying heights within your design will give you a more finished and considered look. Treat every tabletop item as a design feature and think about how they all look when they are sitting together. Different heights add different dimensions and set apart your table from the usual dinner-time experience.
In every tablescapers go-to kit are tall, tapered candles – they’re the ultimate way to create an atmosphere. Not only will they add a beautiful glow to the table, but they’re a great way to add colour, height and texture to your design.
Don’t forget to choose a candle holder that will work with the overall look. If in doubt, glass candle holders will be the most neutral and least distracting.
It’s all in the details
Small details really do matter when crafting a table, so think about those little design touches that can elevate your tabletop to the next level.
Some examples could be tying a coloured ribbon round a napkin, creating a mini-menu or writing a personalised message for your date on coloured card.
The most beautiful tables are always the ones that have been designed with the guests in mind. Stuck for ideas? Incorporating a small gift into your design is a sweet touch and will add a luxe element to your overall look; think of it as a decorative accent to your table and work the gift wrapping in with your colour palette. It doesn’t even have to be fancy – a bag filled with their favourite sweets and finished with a ribbon and name tag will is a simple yet thoughtful touch that, we promise, will be appreciated.
Practice and preparation
It’s easy to look at a beautifully set table and think that it’s all come together seamlessly. The truth is, in most cases, the design has been planned, tweaked and refined endlessly before the big reveal. Setting the table ahead of time will allow you to plan your design and play around with your place settings before the pressure’s on.
Music and mood
Finally, create a playlist full of your favourite songs – it means the atmosphere you’ve worked so hard to create won’t be interrupted when you have to tell Alexa to skip that song you hate.
Feeling inspired? Perfect. Now head over to Duchess & Butler for more ideas and info.