The Art of the Table

The Holidays are once again upon us.  As we begin to think about entertaining friends and family our thoughts, or at least my thoughts, turn to the all important question, "How will I decorate my table?"  I always advocate a low stress, high drama tablescape.  How do you achieve that you ask?  Here are some tips that yon can apply any time of year.

I love to add natural elements:  gourds, moss, fruit, branches, etc.  You want the look of the table to enhance the food and mood.  It's all about the composition.  Think of the food like a painting; the plate is the canvas.  Each plays a part to create a balanced relationship, one to another.

Blend old and new ~ we all have family heirlooms that are under used and under appreciated.  Pull out  that silver ice bucket and put flowers in it, or shine that set of silver candelabras and give your table an instant air of old world glamour.  The beauty is always in the mix.  The humble and the ornate, the polished and the aged, the mix of metals, and mismatched plates and/or glasses can create a multitude of different looks.  The fun (and challenge) every year is to see if I can come up with a different theme, or by adding one new element, can I take my table in a different direction?

Big cloth napkins always up the ante and go a long way in making the table look and feel luxurious.  More is better when it comes to candles.  Always think about mood lighting.  Everyone looks good in candlelight.  Remember to use unscented candles, though.  You don't want them to compete with the food or offend quests with a scent they find unpleasant.

Incorporate unexpected elements as part of your decor.  Perhaps include some of the decor in the nearby bookshelf, or hanging above the table within the chandelier to move the theme through the room.  It's a great conversation starter.

Include a small gift at each place setting.  Everyone loves a takeaway, and if it does double duty like these starburst napkin rings that are ornaments, kudos

This tablescape says Happy Holiday but not specifically Christmas or Hanukkah ~ sometimes a safe choice.

It is like anything else.  Done right it looks effortless, done wrong ~ well, let's not think about that as an option

A great table design engages guests, brings out the ability to create an element of surprise, imparts ambience, and becomes the backdrop to a beautiful evening spent with family and friends.  After all, isn't that what is's really all about?

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