As the More is More Mom® there is little I enjoy more than planning a party! In fact, I am frequently inspired to have a party because I want to share a new recipe, or I’ve found great plates or a fun centerpiece. I’m all about the cart being in front of the horse! However, this most recent party was to mark a special occasion in honor of my Amanda making her Confirmation (just one of the reasons that she needed four new dresses this season!).
You know I have theories and methods for just about everything, and setting a beautiful table is no different. I’m excited to share with you my beautiful Spring Time Tablescape!
Every good tablescape starts with a base. For this event I selected a chocolate brown tablecloth not only to protect my table, but also to set the tone for my event (another Target purchase from their Hotel Series). I am sorry that I am not a purist, I am and extremist and therefore feel that white tablecloths are just plain dull. Here’s a little tip: your iron may not seem like it, but it is your friend. It is imperative to smooth out all of the wrinkles and put your very best foot forward. It is the first step in making a good impression!
Next, because I am a More is More kind of gal, I begin the process of adding layers. I like to set the tone for my design theme by adding some personality by way of a runner or a table topper. For this party, I have chosen a lively, modern floral runner featuring hot pink, turquoise blue and apple green on a clean white base.
The next layer I am going to add is the all important placemat. In addition to being a pretty detail that adds to the richness of the design, it is functional. The purpose of the placemat is two-fold. One, it helps to protect your tablecloth, and two it delineates your guests personal space. It gives them a little elbow room. Because my table was crowded with ten people in attendance (eleven if you count Amanda, the guest of honor, who only joined us for a few moments at the corner of the table to scarf down her dinner at break neck speed. She actually went to gymnastics for two hours after school and had to eat, get in the shower, dry her hair, put on her pretty dress and be out the door at 5:45pm. Race, race, race. Run, run, run.), I selected a round placemat (another Target find from last year. I bought a slew of them on super clearance) because it doesn’t take up quite as much space as a rectangular one, and my guests flatware and glassware aren’t on top of each other overlapping. I liked the pink woven placemat, with its several different shades because it complimented my runner.
I am the Queen of More and like everything else, chargers are no exception. I have chargers that are; leather, rattan, plain gold leaf, gold leaf with a hob nail trim, plain silver leaf, silver leaf with a hob nail trim, ruby red, turquoise, the list goes on and on. I love a charger because it adds to the layering by giving dimension, and because of its formality. I have selected a turquoise charger (shockingly not from Target, but from the store of fabulous finds, Tuesday Morning) with a scalloped edge detail to compliment and re-enforce the turquoise stripe that runs down the center of by runner. Here’s a little tip for creating a seamless and symmetrical table setting: select one element of your charger, in this case I chose to feature a scallop in the same position at each and every one of my place settings.
To set a tone of elegance for every party I throw I set my table to the nine’s, even if that means that I will make extra work for myself by removing items I need when it comes time to serve my meal. I love for my guests to be wowed when they walk in the door and get the full impact of my entire tablescape. When it’s time to serve dinner, I rarely serve family style, I will gather up all of the dishes to plate my meal. Today I selected a beautiful white dinner plate with a scalloped edge that mimics the scallop in my charger, and compliments the white background of my runner. I am not a proponent of good china. It’s ridiculously expensive, and just plain boring. I prefer to have the option to mix and match and create fantasies. You can’t create a fantasy out of dull and ordinary. Fantasies require that dream like quality that can only be achieved from excess. For instance these plates are from Lenox. While the white china adds a delicate sensibility, the embossed vines, leaves, and butterflies add an air of whimsy. I got these gems at TJ Maxx and More (more, more and more). They really pop’s against the turquoise charger on top of the pink placemat. Here’s another little tip: just like we did with the charger, we are going to select one element on the plate, in this case I have chosen one particular embossed butterfly, and I am going to place each plate in the exact same position. For this setting I have placed the butterfly at the bottom directly across from, and in the middle of the scallop placed at the top of the charger. Our objective is to create a harmonious and peaceful table. If all of the elements were askew the tablescape would be an unpleasing, jumbled mess.
Whimsy and detail trump function every time. I love to incorporate a salad plate or a dessert plate in to my place setting because it gives both dimension and personality to my tablescape. Once again, when it is time to serve my meal, I will simply remove the items not being used from the table. It is of course extra work, but then again More is More! I have these super great, multi colored polka dot plates (one of the keys to successful entertaining is INVENTORY. So, it will come as no surprise that the plates came from Target several seasons ago, at a very reasonable price). Polka dots just scream fun! Help hint: again, I chose one element from the plate, a particular polka dot, and lined it up on top of the embossed butterfly. I did this at each place setting around my table.
The meal I was serving was simple since we would be racing out the door shortly after we ate. The only utensils we required were a fork and knife. I love to pull out my good silver, but when we’re entertaining on the run convenient clean up is key. Attention to detail is what sets apart an ordinary table from that which is spectacular! I am a proponent of mixing high quality, just can’t live without, items, with inexpensive finds that help pull the whole ensemble together whether it be in tabletop design, home staging or fashion. I have gobs of flatware. Sometimes simple silver will just not do! Because my vision was a colorful garden bouquet I chose to use these fantastic apple green handled pieces (once again, from Target years and years ago……I keep everything forever!).
Now, I hate to lecture, or be a complete snob, but when you entertain in your home paper and plastic products should all but be banned. I can live with a paper cocktail napkin because there are so many fantastic wonderful designs that you are certain to find the perfect tie in to your event. However, for a dinner party you must never use disposable products, only cloth napkins, real glassware and tableware will do. I collect everything in quantities of 20 when I can, though I am a bargain hunter, so my mission frequently takes me on a treasure hunt from store to store. I love everything and cloth napkins are no exception. For this tablescape I decided upon these sweet little pink napkins, to tie in to my color scheme, with small white polka dots to re-enforce the polka dots in the dessert plates. I got these beauties some time ago at Kohl’s at a drastically reduced rate of $.97 a piece. Amazing! To continue my garden theme, I used these fun watering can napkin rings. I can’t remember exactly where they came from. My guess is Steinmart, but I can’t be completely certain. At any rate….they’re perfect! Help hint: the napkins should all look the same, and be placed in the same position at the individual place setting. I chose to feature the handle of the watering can napkin ring on the inside of the setting with the spout facing outward, and repeated that detail for each guest.
We have come upon the ever important topic of glassware. Why, as you can imagine, I think that more is never enough! I have a huge inventory but my preference when entertaining a crowd is to incorporate some of my signature, dishwasher safe pieces. I’m crazy for bugs (not the creepy crawlers) in my décor. As a water glass I have selected to use a footed goblet, with a bumble bee raised embellishment (a great TJ Maxx and More find). Helpful hint: on your glassware, when you have the opportunity to identify a feature, select one element to line up at each place setting. In this instance I lined up the bumble bee with the knife to form a uniform, straight line.
We’re ready to put the finishing touches on this tablescape. A centerpiece grounds your design and solidifies your vision. I have used this brown iron basket for many different purposes over the years (in fact it is featured in a previous post as the home to four fun snowballs that I found at Pottery Barn years ago). It’s a charming piece, detailed with birds and leaves, another tie in to my spring theme (you must think I live at these stores…..I do. This was a great find from a day of rummaging through the treasure at TJ Maxx and More a few years back). The other reason I felt it worked so well in this tablescape is that the brown iron basket compliments the chocolate brown tablecloth and really pops against the bright colors in my runner. The beauty of the basket is that you have the opportunity to fill it up with anything. I really like the organic quality of the moss and raffia balls. These accent pieces can be found at your local craft store, but my gems are from, you’ve got it, Target! Really, is there a need to shop much of anyplace else (this is not a paid endorsement, but I think it totally should be!)?
The very last element to address before your guests arrive (other than the cooking and cleaning) would be…illumination. Candlelight is soft and beautiful, and everyone looks especially lovely in its glow. I have these amazing, crystal, hot pink candelabrum (TJ Maxx and More is a beautiful thing, though I am certainly sounding as though I need to be in a 12 step program for my addiction). Rather than enlist the aide of predictable white candles, I chose green taper candles because I love the completely Preppy pink and green color combination. Like, Oh my God!
So there you have it…..a beautiful Spring Tablescape. I hope you are inspired to throw a dinner party, and I hope you invite me along for the ride, because I love a party. Next time…..the menu!