Set Your Table with Your Style
We have never had more options and choices than we do today to create a beautifully laid dining room table. At the same time, the tedious formalities of entertaining have given way to more personalization that should reflect a host’s individual sense of style and occasion. We can mix and match—from our family heirlooms, our own classic treasures, and even those bargain finds—to pull together a table setting that reflects our own unique vision of how we want to entertain our guests.
The classic dinner party of the 1950s may be gone, but so is the stuffy formal dining room. Today’s more open and casual spaces allow for more of a focus on what a dinner party is really about—people and food coming together. A table setting is part of the backdrop that showcases the host’s style, as well as sets the tone and mood for the guests. And no longer are we expected to lay the same table every time. Today’s great entertainer likes to switch it up and create different looks for different soirées.
When you consider we have so many style and design choices at hand, the opportunity to try new things with every dinner party, and no requirement to adhere to old rules of entertaining, there are five elements of a beautifully set table that I have identified to help you keep your focus and express your style.
I can think of one carry-over cardinal rule of entertaining from the 1950s that still applies to entertaining today: A lady always sets her table the night before! Though we would include gentlemen in that statement as well today, starting with your table setting before a dinner party will help you to entertain more confidently. fw
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The difference between an overcrowded table and a perfect backdrop is scale and proportion. Take advantage of different heights in glassware, stemware, and candles to add depth without bulk. Keep centerpieces under eight inches tall so your guests can see one another and converse.
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This is your table, let it reflect your sense of style. My first rule when advising clients is to have fun! If you love a particular print or color, then find a way to introduce it into your table setting—use what inspires you!
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Though many rules have relaxed, tradition is essential when laying your table. We may have fewer pieces to lay than did the Edwardians, but the format in which you place things reflects a honed function that will actually help your guests dine with ease and showcase your wonderfully curated collection. Go to fw-chicago.com/table-chart to download your table-setting chart.
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Gone are the days of complete sets in a single pattern. Not every item has to match. Find balance in the harmony and design of the pieces you use. Each place setting should have the same basic items, but consider mixing chargers, different china patterns, and even flatware.
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More than just cloth or fabric, texture is the feel and appearance of surfaces. Using multiple textures and materials will help achieve a more layered and curated look that is visually appealing. Finishing detail can be done with a great use of textures, instead of just adding more “stuff.”
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Serve in style with this stunning Donatello solid pewter charger, designed by Arte Italic - $193. Italian pewter, handmade in Italy. Available at Crosell & Co., 312-266-4500
Botanical Leaf Collection Napkin Rings in nickplate, designed by Michael Aram - $100 (set of four). Pivoine napkin shown in Flour, designed by Le Jacquard Francais - $21. Available at Crosell & Co., 312-266-4500
Azulejos, shown in grey – The quintessential tablecloth for any occasion, designed by Le Jacquard Français - $94. Made of 100% cotton. Available at Crosell & Co., 312-266-4500
Table setting chart:
A direct link to Marc’s website: www.marcsievers.com
A more detailed article: A Perfect Place Setting – Casual or Formal: http://www.marcsievers.com/la-vie-piquant/2015/5/7/a-perfect-place-setting-casual-or-formal
Marc’s Gold Coast dining room table, set for an intimate soirée. Some furnishings provided by Crosell & Co., 900 North Michigan Avenue, Level 5. For more home entertaining tips and to learn more about Marc, visit marcsievers.com.