Beautiful Table Settings for Any Party
Set the scene of your next gathering with contemporary table settings that welcome guests with eye-catching centerpieces and elegant place settings.
By: Manvi Drona-Hidalgo
Walk in the Park
This botanical print is perfect for summer and spring. By playing up the darker jewel tones and switching out the pastel color, it also works well for winter and fall. Amethyst bubble tumblers play up the jewel tones in the tablecloth, while crimson tapers and fresh bloom terrariums complete the fresh garden look. Photo by Manvi Drona-Hidalgo.
Think Inside the Box
Floral designer Jeanne Ho creates one-of-a-kind terrarium centerpieces by placing roses, tulips, hydrangea and trachelium tips inside syndicate serenity glasses. Add a little water to keep flowers fresh. Photo by Lawrence Luk.
The Little Things
Details like handmade pearl napkin rings bring a touch of glamour to any table. Chair covers are also a great way to change the look of dining chairs and prevent unwanted damage from spills and stains. Depending on the number of guests, place multiple salt and pepper shakers around the table at least one set per two to three guests. Photo by Lawrence Luk.
Corals, blues and neutrals form the palette for this stylish, urban and whimsical table setting. A geometric print tablecloth, blue and white floral napkin patterns paired with Iittala Taika salad plates come together beautifully to create a magical look. Mini terrarium centerpieces add drama and place cards welcome guests instantly. Photo by Manvi Drona-Hidalgo.
Maranta foliage with curly willow tips and a sunset-orange garden rose are placed in five-inch round vases to create arrangements that take no time to put together. Place evenly along the length of the table and alternate with glass votives to make a dramatic centerpiece. Photo by Manvi Drona-Hidalgo.
Use silver trays to contain beverage bottles and prevent spills on the tablecloth. Never assume all your guests have the same preference for water so have both still and sparkling on the table. Photo by Lawrence Luk.
This modern rustic look works just as well for a backyard party as it does for informal indoor meals. Pinecone dinner plates with a handmade burlap runner above a striped tablecloth create a cozy provincial look. Photo by Lawrence Luk.
Keeping Things Fresh
Single anemones in clear flute vases and silver serving dishes filled with lemons and limes make appealing, no-fuss centerpieces for year-round entertaining. Photo by Lawrence Luk.
Form and Function
Always use flatware that's appropriate for the meal, but don't set out flatware that will not be used just for the sake of it. If you are serving meat, make sure you have proper steak knives handy. Photo by Lawrence Luk.
Striking a balance between old and new, the Kazak-patterned tablecloth became the inspiration for this vibrant table setting. Modern-angled stemware by Stueben, thrifted brass chargers and candlesticks, hand-painted plates and monogrammed white napkins set the scene for this unique, modern-meets-traditional look. Photo by Manvi Drona-Hidalgo.
To capture a more formal look, dress your place settings with chargers, placing them about an inch from the edge of the table in between your silverware setting. The gold in the hand-painted plates highlights the thrift store brass chargers. Another creative way to use chargers is to place them on cake stands. Never serve food directly on chargers. Photo by Lawrence Luk.
Tall spray-painted branches and black tapers on brass candlesticks accentuate the design's gold accents and carry the eye above the table, while remaining unobtrusive. Photo by Lawrence Luk.
The New Traditionalist
Flax-colored embroidery on a dusty aquamarine tablecloth, a sandy silk sequin runner and white plates set a luxurious tone for this table setting. Pale blue and sand-colored cotton napkins keep the look grounded while the canary-yellow bread plates add a pop of color. Photo by Lawrence Luk.
Wine in Style
Make sure to use your best stemware for your dinner parties. With high-end stemware, mediocre wine becomes good, good wine becomes great and great wine is empowered to show-off. If you are on a tight budget, invest in some inexpensive glass tumblers from stores like Ikea. Photo by Lawrence Luk.
Footed cubes of various heights with simple cymbidium orchid blossoms bring delicate champagne accents to the palette. Photo by Manvi Drona-Hidalgo.
Set the mood by hand-writing personalized menu cards for each of your guests. Place alongside napkins at each place setting. Photo by Manvi Drona-Hidalgo.
Create a self-service beverage station on a side table to allow guests to help themselves. Slice fresh limes, lemons and other garnishes, and place them in clear glass tumblers so you don't run around at the last minute. Adding a single flower to one of the tumblers carries the decor. Photo by Manvi Drona-Hidalgo.