Dress up your dinner party with the perfect table settings.
With our fast paced lives, we seem to be losing some of the most elegant little aspects of a gracious lifestyle. The wonderful, slightly formal, social practice of placements, pretty stemware, and an artful table setting, seems to be a rarity. But I remain eternally optimistic that these timeless, elegant traditions will definitely return. Hosting a successful dinner party is as much about great food, interesting guests and wonderful dinner table conversations as it is about a beautifully set table.
A thoughtfully decorated table signifies the host’s tribute to their guests. My go-to stylists for table setting inspirations have been, among others, the famous French interior designer Alberto Pinto, who apart from having designed some amazing interiors across the globe has a gorgeous, lush line of fine china dinnerware; and Italian designer Armani who has mastered the art of minimalism, which is carried over to his tableware. In contrast are the opulent style of remarkably lavish table settings of another Italian fashion and design maestro- Valentino Garavani. A casual but equally stunning, island-inspired tableware line by Miles Redd for Oscar de La Renta’s home furnishings, is a personal favourite. This vibrant and earthy tableware collection is a perfect example of how casual pottery or ceramic products can be used to create a stunning table setting. Especially charming for tropical places like Singapore.
At Decorator’s Notebook we advise clients on how to create interesting table settings and also provide them access to a choice of especially curated tableware, linen and accessories they may need to set a beautiful table.
One of the most important aspects for starting with table décor is giving thought to the occasion and planning the theme for the occasion. Build the table décor around a plate pattern or colour and pick accessories to complement. Round tables lend themselves best for friendly, inclusive conversations but centrepiece decorations should be low enough for everyone to see across the table. Table settings do not have to be a lavish, expensive mix of sterling silver flatware and fine china. All it takes is a little bit of imagination, a thought-through theme and clever mixing of attractive tableware and pretty linen and interesting accessories that can transform a table. Apart from lending a gentle beauty to any space, fresh flowers are always a gracious feature on a table and add a beautiful finish to the table. I have used a variety of different vases for table settings and these have ranged from a collection of single stem, vintage perfume bottles as individual placements in front of each placement, to more dramatic themed centrepieces that complement the colour and tone of the tableware and linen. I also often like to match details, for example the design on the plate with a specific selection of flowers or linen.
Attractive tableware or china is usually the cornerstone of a beautifully set table, the foundation around which you will plan your accessories, the flowers, linen and stemware. Charming fine china dinnerware with beautiful motifs, are available from designers like Alberto Pinto and Anna Weatherley and the famous Hungarian firm Herend. Glazed pottery comes in wonderful colours and is always a handsome choice for a casual setting. Some of the most creative pottery plates are from the Oscar de La Renta home collection, the French company Travia Poterie Provençal and more exotic patterns from US based firm L’Objet. Closer to home, Luzerne, a Singapore dinnerware company, produces attractive bone china.
A small but important feature that always catches the eye are creatively folded napkins or unusual napkin rings. Napkin rings are another table setting accessory that are less frequently used today. Interesting napkin rings add a little additional pizzaz for linen, damask or cotton napkins and instantly transform the décor.
There are strict rules for the right flatware and style, shape, and number of different stemware for a formal table setting, because different glasses are used for specific drinks- water, champagne, white or red wine, but these strict rules do not have to be adhered to when creating a fun table setting at your home, keep it versatile. Coloured glassware is fast growing in popularity and can lend a charming accent to a table setting. Some of the most luxurious glassware manufacturers like Baccarat, Waterford, Artel have added beautiful coloured glassware to their collections.