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15 Table Settings That Are Sure to Impress

July 15, 2015
Set the scene for an unforgettable feast with a beautiful table setting. Our tips will help you dress your table to impress — whether you're hosting a formal dinner party or a casual get-together.
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Photo: Jason Kisner ©

Celebrate the Season

Weather permitting, take your party outdoors and dress the table with seasonal elements — like pumpkins, gourds or acorn squash, used here as vases, and in-season flowers.'s own Liz Gray created this rustic table setting at the bucolic Swag Country Inn near Waynesville, N.C. Get more of Liz's tips for hosting a rustic, outdoor dinner party.

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Place Settings, Perfected

Setting an impressive table is a snap when you know the basic layout. Start with the dinner plate, topped with the salad plate. The knife and spoon go to the right of the plate, the fork and napkin on the left. Above the plate, wine and water glasses go on the right with the dessert fork and spoon directly above. Design by Manvi Drona-Hidalgo, photo by Lawrence Luk

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Pick a Palette

Designer Erinn Valencich sets the stage for an oh-so-chic get-together by layering rustic elements with glamorous touches like gold-rimmed crystal plates, gilt-lined votives and an antique French settee. Low centerpieces of tightly bunched burgundy and chartreuse flowers pop against the room's rich aubergine palette.

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Photo: Stacey Brandford Photography

Break Out the Good China

Designer Sarah Richardson makes setting a formal table look easy. For her signature collected-over-time look, she pulls together vintage china, silverware and linens. If you weren't lucky enough to inherit the makings of a stunning table, you can pick them up for bargain-basement prices at thrift stores, flea markets and estate sales.

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