Building a Tablescape: The Basics


Today I'm going to give you a few basic tips to building a pretty tablescape that you can refer to every time you entertain... Step 1: Tableware - keep it white If you are one who entertains often you may already have a set of white dishes, salad plates, bowls and serving platters. If you don't, you can easily buy a nice but inexpensive set at stores like Ikea, CB2 or I always find great items and deals at the Pottery Barn outlets. Step 2: Napkins - they don't have to be cloth! I like to make my table a little fanicer over the holidays so I use a cotton or linen napkin to dress up each place setting. With a simple fold I place the napkins under each dinner plate instantly adding a flash of color and making the table elegant. However a paper napkin is perfectly fine any occasion. Just remember this is your opportunity to add a little color to the table so find a bright color or fun print here. Step 3: Silverware I have yet to buy a set but am dying for gold flatware. I will get there one day but in the meantime I just use what I have in my cutlery drawer when setting the table. Make sure you set the flatware with a utensil for each course that you're serving. For example - serving soup? Set a soup spoon. Dessert following the meal? Add a small fork at the top of each plate. Step 4: Glassware I have a glass obsession and happy to have a million glasses at home. When I set the table for dinner I set out water glasses at each place setting and I now leave the wine glass off. I found that every time I hosted a dinner my husband would offer our guests a glass of wine upon arrival and would take the glass right out of the cupboard. Our guests would then bring their glass to the table and there would be too many glasses crowded into each setting! Lesson learned - so now I just leave them off and give to our guests as they arrive. As for the water glasses - set out a water pitcher so guests can help themselves throughout the meal. Step 5: Fresh flowers The only decor you need on your table is a few flowers. Pick up a bunch from your local deli or florist and use a mug, pitcher, recycled jar or vase to style these flowers within the center of your table. Flowers are another great opportunity to add a little pop of color to your table if you wish. Step 6: Name cards - OPTIONAL Totally not necessary - just a fun addition so there are no questions where to sit when your guests go to take their seats. This photo was taken by Mommy Shorts and her story of our Passover dinner can be found here. Last but not least...the Kids table. I have seen many tears shed at the kids table over pink plates, green forks, WHY DON'T I HAVE AN ORANGE CUP?!!! To avoid tears I now always set the table for the kids with the SAME items. Same color plates, napkins, straws, etc. This way - everyone is equal and no one has anything to whine over.

Happy Dining!