How To Make Inspired Table Settings

How To Make Inspired Table Settings

Some people get their thrills from bungee jumping or scuba diving to two hundred feet; others have a penchant for expensive jewelry. One of mine is setting tables. 

It used to be we set tables according to etiquette books, and there wasn’t much room for individual expression. But table arrangements can really offer a window into a person’s soul. The effort we make dressing up our homes and tables, how much trouble we’ve taken to make our guests feel welcome, how creative and resourceful we’ve been- all are wonderful forms of projecting character. 

1. In planning a table setting, I always try to come up with some sort of eye-catching centerpiece. The vast majority of party-givers resort to responsive vases and the lavish use of cut flowers. I much prefer to work with a few simple elements, selected for harmony and arranged with a sense of sensuality, to create something that belongs in the space.

2. Always look to exercise your creativity and put a different spin on things.  Everyone’s edge is different; try finding yours. For table settings, one of my favorite approaches is to think outside the box while at the same time incorporating everyday objects. For example, a multiple test-tube holder filled with parsley, a common grocery item: it’s an elegant, evocative, clever way to dress up your table. Better yet, it’s simple and unpretentious. Fresh cut roses would have cost a lot and would not have made a better impression. (Don’t get me wrong, roses are beautiful. But really, how clever or original are they?) A parsley centerpiece using a multiple test-tube holder- now that’s something new and different! 

-Colin Cowie

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