Sep 25, 2012

setting the perfect table

Setting the dinner table is harder for some than others. Take my dad, for instance. No matter how many times per month he sets the table, he never fails to mix up which side the fork goes on versus which side the knife goes on. It is seriously mind boggling. But that's neither here nor there.

This tutorial goes a little deeper than left versus right, providing basic pointers for how to set a table that will wow your guests. This table was set by our amazing hostess and was waiting on us when we arrived in Nantucket this past Friday night. It, combined with some absolutely delicious Spaghetti Pie, made for the perfect arrival.

six steps to setting the perfect table:

1. statement placemats. When you have a table this gorgeous (check out that sunburst in the middle) you don't want to cover it up with a tablecloth. Choose some fun, brightly colored placemats that double as tabletop decor. Bonus points if they are location specific (these had tiny seashells around the rim).

2. small gifts. There is rarely a time when placing a sweet little gift at each setting wouldn't make sense, but this is an especially nice touch when out-of-town guests are at your table. Our host had a Nantucket tumbler filled with candy and a small tub of locally made lotion waiting for us at our seat. Bonus points if your gift meshes with the decor (notice those tumbler lids match the centerpiece!).

3. cloth napkins. 'nuff said.

4. seasonal centerpiece. Flowers rule, but every now and then they don't make sense as a centerpiece. If you're going to have guests eating around the same table all weekend long, grab the freshest, brightest fruit or vegetables you can find and throw them in a big, gorgeous bowl.

5. candles. Perfect for adding a layer of sophistication but more importantly, hiding the wine-o red cheek syndrome that appears to be contagious at dinner parties.

6. bold candleholders. When candleholders can double as a conversation piece, you know they belong on a dinner table. (these coral beauts are from design darling)

Now all you have to do is cook dinner!


  1. This is really great looking, Caroline.

  2. The blue and red are a really pretty combo.

  3. So pretty! I'm a huge fan of dinner parties, and I'm always trying to make my (small) table look special. Great tips!

    The Glossy Life

  4. Love seeing these on Carver's family's table and thank you SO much for the sweet shoutout! Very jealous of your trip to ACK :)

  5. great tips to know - your table looks great! xo

  6. Such a great post! I needed this. The table looks perfect

    xo, Courtney

  7. Great post,honey!;)

  8. thank you so much for those wonderful yet easy tabe tips, I love it :-9