The table. Where your people, food and thoughtful design will come together. In this post, I’ll go over a few guidelines to follow to create a simple, elegant table design every time. Let’s get started!
GUIDELINE No. 1
Simplicity is key. Choose no more than three elements to style your table, and use texture to add depth. Adding too much to the table can make it feel crowded and impersonal.
GUIDELINE No. 2
Let the meal be the focal point. Gathering around food is an ancient practice; it nourishes us in more ways than one. Use serveware of different heights to balance the eye.
GUIDELINE No. 3
Use an odd number of elements. Whether you choose florals, candles, or other simple pieces, always use an odd number of elements. Three, five, or seven candles will provide a more natural look. The symmetry of even numbers can feel forced and unrelaxed.
GUIDELINE No. 4
Set the table for each guest. Personal table settings let each guest know they have a place at the table. Add a fresh herb sprig like rosemary or thyme for a natural look.
GUIDELINE No. 5
Let yourself play with the table design. Place all your design elements on the table (candles, greenery, linens, plates, etc). Start with the focal point of the table and work your way out. Use empty serveware to visualize where the food will go. Approach the table from different sides and don’t be afraid to move things around.
I personally think tables never look more inviting than at the end of the meal. Guests lean back in their chairs, linen napkins rest crumpled on the table and candles burn low. Take joy in creating a welcoming place for your guests, but don’t let the pressure of perfection steal from the most precious element of gathering: relationship.
Somewhere along the way as our culture broke free from social pressures to entertain and get family dinner on the table by 5pm, we lost the habit of gathering. We let food become fast and convenient, cooking a necessary evil to outsource. It’s funny how that happens with change. We often swing wide in the opposite direction for a while, working so intensely to steer clear of past baggage and mistakes that we lose the goodness that thing had in the first place. The goodness, in this case, being the joy and downright holiness of the kitchen.
I’ve spent years observing and journaling its impact on the soul. But one thing stands out to me lately: every time I get in a room with other women and watch raw materials become something stunning and whole, I am undone.