They say food tastes better when you eat it with friends and family. They also say the finest memories are made gathered around the table. Suffice to say, the dining table plays a huge role in the interior or any home and in making fond memories too. Food and hosting are such a huge part of our culture that the significance of this space increases even more in the Pakistani context.
As the vaccination process begins and the pandemic begins to phase out, small and intimate gatherings at home seem to be making their way. Our dining rooms seem to be hosting and that makes this the perfect time to learn how to set dining tables and create tablescapes that will be a treat for the eyes and become memorable for times to come.
Let’s begin with the basics. If you’re wondering what’s a tablescape, it is simply a blanket term that combines your table’s centrepiece and place settings, or the overall decoration of your table. Whether it’s an average weeknight dinner or a gathering, a beautiful tablescape can make your meal memorable and you can set one up by using themed linens and dinnerware or just with a few creative tips to use your regular old stuff and make it look fresh.
Picking a theme: Most often tablescapes are created according to themes. Themes could be chosen colour wise or print wise. For instance, white and gold makes a perfect theme, as does spring and floral. To begin setting a nice tablescape, it’s best to pick your theme first and then play with other elements of the décor. Considering it is summer right now, cool colours that are easy on the eyes and bright florals look best! The monsoon ahead will be a great time to use natural shades and those of greens and leaves too. In the winter, red and gold marks a great theme considering a lot of brunches are hosted in this season.
Selecting crockery: The next step after picking a theme is selecting the crockery. While it is understandable that one may not be able to invest in new crockery for every theme, we all have some printed and coloured crockery at our home which can be used in our chosen theme. Also, if you’re passionate about creating tablescapes, it is wise to invest in either plain white crockery or white crockery that is silver or gold lined as that works with just about any theme, colour and table linen you may be choosing for your tablescape.
Finding the right table linen: As you may have already guessed, the next step to creating a beautiful tablescape is to find the right table linen. Table linen plays a huge role in the overall look of a dining table. What does table linen include you may ask? Well, it includes everything from the basics like tablecloth, placemats and runners to napkins and cutlery pockets. If you are using printed crockery, it is advised and most appropriate to use plain coloured table linen so the print on the crockery can stand out but if your crockery is plain, you can choose printed table linen too. A local Pakistani brand, Pomegranate Linen, does brilliant printed table linen and has a variety of themes and colours in their stock. You can also stitch placemats and runners at home by getting thick cloth, which is most often used for curtains or sofas. Just invest in some cloth, get standard measurements of placemats and runners from the internet and sew them at home for low-cost table linen. Jute runners and placemats are also available at a lot of places and the best thing about them is they are standard and go well with most themes.
Centrepiece takes all the attention: It is indeed very true that the centrepiece takes away all the attention. This is also precisely why you must put in thought and effort in selecting one that goes well with your theme. Florals and candles make great centrepieces but that’s not all.
You can experiment with various decoration pieces and decide what works best! Also, remember you may not necessarily need expensive vases to create a beautiful centrepiece; hand-painted mason jars (empty jam jars and others) work just as well too.
A great tip is to gold spray paint a few extra jars and keep them handy for the next time you make need to quickly set up a table. As far as flowers are considered, two or three roses with some fresh baby’s-breath can do the trick. Light a candle next to it and elevate this by using a resin arc dish or a wooden log stand and you’re all set!
It’s all in the details: While setting up a tablescape, remember that it is all in the details. You can change the entire look of your setting by using napkin rings with napkins and adding a few baby’s-breath in the rings! Tying a bow on your cutlery can do the magic too. Similarly, an interesting platter can add so much charm to your table. Happy tablescaping!
Photos by the author.