Hosting With Style: Tips for Beautiful Table Settings

Author: Manchester Collection  Date Posted:22 November 2023 

What is a dining event that comes to your mind when someone says 'dinner party'? What made you remember it - tasty food, good company, beautiful table settings? All or none of the above?

A dinning table with minimalist yet beautiful table settings.

Whether you're hosting a simple brunch for friends, a family lunch, or a business dinner, you can always make the most of the opportunity and leave a lasting impression. More than likely, the food and the company will be the focal points of the get-together, but that doesn’t mean beautiful table settings should be ignored.

This is what subconsciously sets the tone for the event and creates the ambience you want. And that’s what this article is meant to help with - we will give tips for setting your table, covering everything from table liners to placemats to colour and material coordination, with a focus on different types of occasions. So let’s get started. 

The Foundation: Table Linens

Table linens are the foundation of a well-set table. They set the tone for the entire dining experience, and choosing the right linens can transform the atmosphere of a regular meal into a memorable occasion or a formal event into a friendly gathering.

A classic tablecloth instantly adds elegance and formality to your table setting. First, choose a colour and fabric that complements your overall theme and décor. For formal occasions, opt for crisp white or muted pastel tablecloths. In more casual settings, consider bolder colours and patterns.

Table runners can be combined with tablecloths as a versatile addition to your table setting. They can be placed down the centre of the table, adding a pop of colour or texture. If you use runners without tablecloths, they are particularly great for showcasing your table's wood or glass surface.

Now here’s something many people don’t think of - tea towels aren't just for drying dishes. They can also be used as functional and decorative elements in your table setting. Folded tea towels can serve as unique and eco-friendly napkin substitutes. They add texture and character to your table, and guests can use them for cleaning their hands or wiping spills.

Plus, you can place tea towels beneath dinner plates or glasses to protect your table from heat and moisture. This not only serves a practical purpose but also adds a rustic or eclectic touch to your table setting.

Placemats are another good way to create a well-organized and visually appealing table setting. Experiment with different placemat styles and colours to add dimension to your table. You can mix and match complementary colours or choose a single colour in varying shades for a monochromatic look.

Trays and Centerpieces

After you have an idea of what table linens you’d like to use, it’s time to think of how to combine them with trays (and possibly a centrepiece). Use serving trays to organize condiments, cutlery, or beverages neatly on the table. This not only makes serving and clearing the table more manageable but also adds an organized and sophisticated look.

If you have a decorative centrepiece, place it on a tray to create a defined and visually appealing focal point. This adds a touch of elegance to the table and makes it easier to move the centrepiece if needed.

A flower bouquet centerpiece.

Coordinating Your Table Setting

Table linens, trays, and centrepieces are the basic elements of beautiful table settings, but we’ve just scratched the surface. You still need to think more about colour coordination on top of how it all combines with different materials. And how about considering thematic table settings for a specific occasion?

Colour Coordination

One of the most influential elements in creating a visually stunning and harmonious table setting is colour coordination, there are no ifs, ands, or buts. The careful selection and arrangement of colours can transform an ordinary table into an extraordinary one. 

First, establish a colour palette. The palette should align with the theme or occasion of your gathering. For formal events, you might opt for classic and subdued colours like whites, greys, or deep blues. For a festive brunch, lively and vibrant colours such as yellows, oranges, and greens can add a cheerful touch.

Your choice of table linens plays a central role in colour coordination. The colour of your linens can either serve as a neutral backdrop or a vibrant focal point, depending on your preference.

A single-colour palette creates a sense of unity and simplicity. For a monochromatic look, choose linens in varying shades of the same colour. For example, you might use pale blue tablecloths with navy blue placemats and napkins for a serene and elegant feel.

If you prefer contrast, consider complementary colours. These are colours opposite each other on the colour wheel. For instance, pairing deep purple table runners with golden yellow placemats can create a dynamic and visually striking table setting.

Further, don't forget to consider the colour of your accessories, such as napkins, cutlery, and glassware. These details contribute to the overall aesthetic of your table setting. Napkins can be a canvas for colour coordination. 

Folded napkins can bring an extra pop of colour to each place setting. A simple white napkin can be beautifully accented with a ribbon or napkin ring that matches the placemats or table runners. 

Glassware can serve a similar purpose. Transparent glassware is a versatile element that complements any colour scheme. It allows your carefully coordinated colours to shine, adding a touch of elegance to your table.

Flexibility for the Seasons

Consider changing your colour palette with the seasons. For spring, light pastels and fresh greens can evoke a sense of renewal. In the summer, vibrant and warm colours can create a festive atmosphere. Fall invites earthy tones and rich hues, while winter calls for cool blues and deep reds.

By carefully selecting a colour palette and coordinating linens, placemats, and accessories, you can transform your dining space into an inviting and memorable environment, leaving your guests in awe of your hosting skills. 

So, the next time you prepare to host a meal or gathering, remember that a well-coordinated colour scheme can make all the difference in creating a truly stunning table setting. However, there’s more - the materials.

Material Coordination

In addition to colour coordination, material coordination is another essential aspect of creating a visually captivating and beautiful table setting. The tactile qualities of the materials you choose can add depth, texture, and character to your table. Let's explore the art of material coordination and how it can elevate your table setting.

Mixing Textures

Combining different materials adds a layer of interest and dimension to your table setting. Varying textures can evoke contrasting sensations and enrich the overall dining experience.

  • Linen and Lace: Pairing a crisp linen tablecloth with delicate lace placemats creates an appealing juxtaposition of textures. The smoothness of linen against the intricacy of lace adds an element of refinement to your table.
  • Wood and Glass: Wooden chargers or placemats are an excellent choice for rustic or nature-themed table settings. When paired with glass dinnerware, they create a harmonious blend of organic warmth and contemporary elegance.
  • Bamboo and Rattan: With unique textures and patterns, these materials evoke a tropical or beachy ambience. Incorporating bamboo placemats or coasters can transport your guests to a coastal paradise, even if you're dining in the heart of the city. These materials are also excellent if you are looking for an eco-friendly yet beautiful table setting.
  • Metallic Accents: Silver or gold chargers and flatware add a touch of opulence and formality to your table setting. They are perfect for upscale events and special occasions.

Seasonal Selections

Like with your palette selection, you can adapt your material choices to the seasons. The tactile and visual qualities of materials can reflect the spirit of the time of year. For instance, rattan placemats and chargers are ideal for summer gatherings. Their natural and open-weave appearance complements the relaxed and airy atmosphere of the season.

Conversely, in the fall and winter, consider adding velvet elements to your table setting. Velvet placemats or table runners introduce a plush and cozy texture that aligns with the cooler months.

Thematic Tableware

A clay pot and metal jars containing powders and spices.

On top of everything we’ve discussed, you can (if you have the will) also consider the different types of tableware materials. Tableware crafted from specific materials can amplify the theme of your gathering and enhance the overall experience.

  • Earthenware and Stoneware: These rustic materials are perfect for farmhouse or country-themed settings. Their earthy textures and warm colours create an inviting and cozy atmosphere.
  • Crystal and Fine China: For formal occasions, crystal glassware and fine china are excellent choices. Their delicate and refined characteristics add an air of sophistication to your table.

At the end of the day, material coordination is an art - which means that there is not one correct answer. By thoughtfully selecting materials that complement your theme, evoke the desired mood, and provide a variety of textures, you can create the dining environment you are looking for.

So, the next time you prepare to host a meal or gathering, remember that material coordination is a powerful tool for elevating your table setting and leaving a lasting impression on your guests, but also remember that there is no reason not to allow yourself to experiment a little.

Where Can You Find the Elements for Your Ideal Table Setting?

Finally, with so many options and combinations for beautiful table settings, where can you find everything you need? At Manchester Collection. Check out our collection of table decor and find any element you need to create the perfect atmosphere for a gathering. - from linen and bamboo table runners to crystal and mirror trays.

And good luck with hosting

Leave a comment

Comments have to be approved before showing up