Five Tips for a Festive Table Setting

It’s this time of the year again when we take the time to reunite with family and loved ones to enjoy a meal around the table. For festive occasions there is nothing quite like a festive table to enhance the dining experience. Creating a beautiful table doesn’t take much. Here is my list of 5 tips:

– Keep the dinnerware white. I know that I am all about color, but some things are best kept white. Those include dinnerware and bedding (see my post here). There is nothing as beautiful as a white plate to present a beautiful dish. I was lucky enough to inherit my grandmother’s simple white dinnerware with a golden border and have been able to complete it with items from different periods found in thrift stores, antic markets and on Ebay. The great thing is that as long as it is white it will always mix and match.

–  Use real fabric napkins and tablecloth. Yes they take some work to wash and to iron (yes iron and with starch please!) but how often do you really use them? For Thanksgiving, Christmas or New Year’s go the extra mile. The result is well worth the little work. I found some years ago on Ebay a beautiful set of vintage cotton napkins, hand monogrammed. They are probably 30 years old but the quality is such that they will probably hold at least 20 more years. I always fall back in love with them when I pull them out. For napkins and tablecloth too I prefer white but I allow you some fantasy here. Stick with solid and muted colors: They are definitely more elegant.

– If possible find some real silver-plated cutlery. You’d be amazed to learn that buying real vintage silverware can be less expensive than to buy new off-the-rack Ikea flatware. Ebay (again) should be your new best friend. Nowadays everyone avoids silverware thinking that it is a hassle to clean as it oxidizes. This is totally untrue. There are great products to clean silver available. I clean mine maybe once every 6 months and on a daily basis put it in the dishwasher. Honestly there is nothing that can beat the beautiful worn sheen of silver-plated vintage cutlery.

– Layer tablecloth, table sets, under plates and different sized plates on top of each other. Use different textures and colors. For my pictures I used modern synthetic woven table sets that have a metallic sheen. I paired them with lavender bamboo under plates (unfit for holding alimentary) that also have a slight metallic finish. Both elements were inexpensive but paired with the vintage dinnerware, cutlery and napkins create a beautiful ensemble.  Add glasses in various sizes, colors and shapes to add interest. (My shots are definitely missing a few glasses)

– Add floral and vegetal elements to your table. NO festive table deserves this name if it is lacking fresh flowers. And don’t even think half a second about artificial flowers. They are an absolute no-go! Choose a nice vase and be creative: Add cut flowers, branches, leaves, colorful vegetables or whatever you think will look nice. I used some simple pink radishes as an edible ornament on every plate. They bring a touch of color and fantasy to the table.

What are your best rules for setting a festive table? Please share your tips with us in the comment section below.

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