Setting the table sets the mood, whether for a large dinner party or a small gathering.
Martha Stewart has instructions for how to set a formal table, and suggests that once you know the proper way to do so, you can either apply the rules or be confident enough to create your own. Emily Post has a guide for basic table setting, as well as informal and formal.
From Brunch at Saks this visual how-to shows the difference between an informal and a formal dinner table setting.
With a rustic feel, this solid table made from salvaged wood is a great match with the dark dinnerware.
This table constructed from reused wood is basic, but when paired with the upholstered dining chairs and contemporary light fixture it suddenly seems elegant. The simple vase and fresh flowers are the perfect addition, and all the table needs.
A mostly unset table is ideal for a casual dinner or a buffet style meal as guests can help themselves and sit right down. A few tables prepared this way may also make guests feel more inclined to move around and talk, as they won’t be worried about messing up someone’s place setting.
These beautiful tabelscapes are made from outdoor finds and the same idea can be done for any season. Mason jars and reused glass bottles like condiment and food containers make great holders for foliage, candles and appetizers.
Adding in bowls of seasonal produce like grapes, pears, tangerines or apples with the stems on, or whatever looks fresh creates an edible decoration. If available, stick a few sprigs of mint in the fruit or sprinkle over star anise for added natural fragrance. Fill glasses half full with anything fragrant you have on hand, like coffee beans or cranberries, and place a votive or tealight candle in the center. As it burns it will release a slight fragrance that doesn’t overpower the menu.
Table settings do not always have to be formal. Livened up with stenciling and everything painted in a similar hue gives a casual area a pulled together feel.
Above images are from Houzz.
This table setting on an old wooden table incorporates different chairs of various wooden tones. The mix of matching flatware and and plates with the informal tea towel napkins and loose floral arrangement creates an old world but elegant style.
Mix-matched glass jars, vases and glasses add to the charm.
Apartment Therapy has a roundup of great table setting notions and easy last minute ideas. Suggestions like using items that you already have and enlisting guests to help out by bringing something are ways to stay on budget and cut down waste. Instead of asking everyone to bring a food dish, for instance, ask who has table linens, nice silverware, serving sets or glassware they wouldn’t mind sharing.
Thrifty touches like do it yourself napkin rings made from leftover fabrics and cardboard tubes can dress up cloth napkins or linens.
Also, for sending home leftovers consider opting for reused glass food containers or mason jars instead of Styrofoam or plastic.
Table settings don’t have to cost a lot, and they can also be prepared in advance so that is one less thing to do on event day. They make guests feel welcome, and can make the occasion feel even more special.
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