Search for #tablescape and your feed will be flooded by decorative dinner settings so stunning, it will make you yearn for an occasion to break out your best china.
Yet the art of styling tabletops is by no means new and particular to the age of the gram. As a trend, tablescaping can trace its roots all the way back to the Georgian era, when extravagant dinner displays were a conspicuous manner of entertaining in aristocratic circles.
In fact, my earliest memories of bonding with my nani are of helping her embellish the dining table ahead of large family gatherings. We’d adorn the long and slender surface with everything from laced linen and floral bursts, to whimsical figurines and heirloom pieces.
While we might have lost practice over the years (with dining out more a norm than entertaining at home), the recent lockdown has certainly helped us rediscover this decorative art, in a bid to enliven the prospect of yet another meal in quarantine. After all, it’s not just what we cook but also how we eat that offers comfort, distraction and yes, self-care, in these trying times.
If you’re looking to tablescape at home, gathered here are a few simple but tangible tips to help you get started in setting a modern yet beautiful space to savour your next meal.
How To Tablescape
Step 1: Lay The Foundations
As a first step, choose an overarching theme and colour palette within which you can mix and match different patterns and textures to curate a unique yet fun aesthetic. The theme could be inspired by a celebration (from a child’s birthday to a milestone anniversary), festival (from Diwali to Christmas) or even a ritualistic occasion such as afternoon tea.
Table linen – whether in the form of a tablecloth, runner or even placemats – are your first building block and a blank canvas on which to juxtapose all other elements from serve-ware to centrepieces. By playing around with different base linens – changing the runner down the centre of your table, for instance – you can easily switch up an otherwise familiar setting.
Step 2: Layer Your Table
Next, using placements and/ or charger plates, bring in layers of colours, contrasts and textures. My advice would be to use rectangular mats only if your plates are square-shaped; otherwise, use round placemats to keep the shape from clashing with the roundness of your serveware.
Fret not, if you have neither a placemat or charger plates. In that case, simply use a base plate in a different colour to add depth to your tablescape, preventing it from falling flat!
In terms of adding texture, work in a cohesive mix choosing from wooden, woven, smooth, matte, shiny, soft and/ or hard finishes.
When it comes to layering, I’d also recommend playing with plates, platters, bowls and other serving accessories of varying shapes and sizes to keep the tablescape fun with a touch of quirky.
The Amalfi Collection from Rena Germany rises to all occasions with its chic colours and designs inspired by the the vivid hues, sweeping curves and rugged cliffs of the Amalfi Coast! Running the gamut from mini dip bowls fashioned as oysters or fish, to concave-shaped serving bowls and oval dining plates – the collection lends itself to a unique and interesting set-up each time, tailored to the chosen theme and cuisine of your meal!
STEP 3: Add Place Settings
Simple napkins go a long way in adding an elegant dash of refinement to the place setting, especially when paired with napkin rings and personalised place cards.
Step 4: Floral Flair
No tablescape would be complete without lush greens and floral accents. Of course, these days when it’s just your family at home, you don’t need to go all out with a dramatic display to transform your table. All you really need is a vase (or two) holding fort for a simple burst of blooms, or even a few low-cut sprigs of herbs and foliage.
Step 5: Finishing Touches
Candles are always a good idea, softly shining a light on the simple beauty of your tablescape. To really make a statement, look to creative embellishments for a final flourish, whether in the form of that eccentric knife rest you brought home as a keepsake from your last holiday, or hand-crafted decorations that bring an inimitable personal touch. Just remember to have fun with it, adding elements that bring you joy and fit the theme, as illustrated by my recent tablescape for Jr’s first birthday. The table was inspired by Paddington Bear, complete with limited edition books and whimsical bears!
Once you get tablescaping, eating at home will never look more inviting!
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