When you’re planning to entertain guests, you’re going to need to think about the table setting. Not a lot of thought goes into the table setting, truth be told, but it’s one of the most important aspects of the entire meal. After all, this is the presentation underneath the food.
Without the proper table setting, you may find that your guests are not quite as thrilled as you would have hoped, even if the meal goes off without a hitch. They might not know what the difference was, but there’s a reason so many high end restaurants spend considerable amounts of money trying to determine the absolute best table settings for their establishments.
You should pay attention to yours as well. And you can, when you follow these 5 steps.
Step #1: Select the right tablecloth.
You may have a tendency to just use placemats, but think about it: how many finer restaurants do that? Not many. You shouldn’t, either. Even though you have a wonderful cherry wood table that you love to show off, choose a quality table cloth. Depending on the time of year, you may want to choose one that is full of life, color, and vibrancy. If you’re looking to tone it back a bit, a simple two-toned tablecloth will work out just well.
Step #2: Consider a runner.
As with most of the best artwork you’ll find in the world, there are contrasts to the main theme. You should think about your ultimate table setting like a work of art, too. You’ve built the base, the tablecloth, so step back and evaluate the scene. The runner can add some color to complement the season, such as orange or black for fall, white for winter, or green for spring or summer. When you use a runner, it will add another dimension to your overall table setting.
Step #3: Now comes the centerpiece.
You can take items you already have around your home for the centerpiece. Try to consider the time of year, season, or special occasion for which you’re inviting people over to your home (or why you want to celebrate with your loved ones). Arrange two or three items in the middle of the table. This is your centerpiece. Keep in mind that if space is limited, you’ll be able to move the centerpiece out of the way when the main entrée is served.
Step #4: Mix it up.
Sure, you have a great arrangement of silverware and plates that go together, and maybe they were purchased as one set, but you might want to consider mixing things up. Go with a basic, traditional plate and then interesting and unique flatware. Of course, you can always stick with the basics all around.
Step #5: Layers of glassware.
Once the plates and silverware are out, it’s time to add the glassware. If you have the space and resources, consider layering two or more glasses for each guest. One for water, one for wine, or one for another type of beverage they may prefer.
Written by G. T. Hedlund