At A Box Of... we are all about living life beautifully & creatively and delivering kindness & thoughtfulness to people in our lives. Inviting friends and family to share a meal fits right into all of that. Dressing the table can help create the mood you are after so today we are talking about "tablescaping".
Tablescaping to the uninitiated is simply decorating the dining table but with purpose. It doesn't need to be stressful or expensive and it can be as simple or extravagant as you like. Most importantly you are meant to have fun with it.
image source: Style Me Pretty
If you follow along on the A Box Of Facebook or Instagram pages you may have noticed some very pretty images of tables set for functions. This little tangent was inspired by the "Stress Free Entertaining" Dinner Party Workshop I'm delivering on Friday.
The main focus of having people around for a meal is, and always will be, the food and company but decorating the dining table helps create a theme, mood or experience for your guests and it can also give you creative pleasure in the lead up to the event. Yes, really, it can!
Image source: Etsy Weddings
To help you plan how you want to "tablescape" you need to think about the reason for the party. Is it to catch up with friends? Is a girls night in? Is it a work related event? Does everyone know each other? Answering these can help you decide how casual/formal you want to make the setting and what atmosphere you are trying to create.
A couple of years ago my girlfriends threw me a surprise farewell party when we moved from Sydney to Townsville - the table was decorated with golden pineapples and all things tropical to send me on my way to North Queensland. I was so touched by the effort they all went to & it's amazing what you can do with spray paint!!
My Top 4 Tips to Styling a Dinner Party
1. Pick a theme
By theme, it could mean romantic, pineapples, Mad Hatter Tea Party if you like, rustic, sparkly or it could mean pick a colour or two and style everything with the theme in mind. I'm still deciding whether I go with soft pastels or white and green for the Workshop.
This table was in the middle of being styled for a "boho" themed bookclub, very clever use of an old door and vintage crockery
2. Choose a centrepiece or several for the table
Consider how much space on the table you will need for food and condiments and this will help you decide whether you go for one centrepiece or several smaller pieces down the table.
Image source: Casa de Perrin
Centrepieces can be as simple as a vase of flowers (or golden pineapples) or a glass bowl of lemons or lots of candles for example. Pinterest is awash with dinner party centrepiece pictures as is Instagram and some of my favourite sites for inspiration are:
Image Source: Oh Happy Day
Again, stick your theme & colours & see what you have in the house that you can utilise, maybe some foliage and tiny fairy lights in a vase will be enough of a statement with napkins and some foliage in them too to tie the theme together.
Image source: Foxtail Weddings UK
Place cards are a great way to personalise your dinner party and depending on how you do them they can also be a take home gift for your guests as well. Putting names on places saves any awkwardness about who sits where and also the Australian party phenomena where the men congregate at one end and the women at the other!! (Sometimes we like it like that I know but at dinner parties it's good to mix it up at least until dessert!!).
You could simply hand write your guests names on a place card and put it at their spot or you could make it a feature with the napkins. A little plant like the one below is a cute idea and so are mini kokedama's with the name tied to it. The possibilities are only limited by your imagination (& Pinterest!).
Image Source: Pizzazzerie
4. Pick a play list
While the play list isn't part of the table it definitely helps set the mood. Spotify and Pandora are great for this and you can have fun choosing your play list in the lead up to the night. BTW my husband is banned from choosing playlists for the time being, his love of Country & Western & the 70's/ 80's soft rock doesn't really create the atmosphere I'm after, (except that one time we had a 70's Retro party, he was in his element)!
If you want some easy entertaining food ideas I've got plenty on my other blog, Boiled Eggs & Soldiers, so feel free to pop in over there to check it out (they are all most definitely at the achievable scale of cooking!) or, if in Townsville, come along to the next workshop, dates will be released soon.
Do you like entertaining at home? Do you tablescape?