Few things bring me as much joy as artfully setting a table. The Type A domestic diva in me simply can't throw all my carefully prepared food down just anywhere. After I've spent days chopping, shopping, and cooking, serving the food is just as important to me. I love for my guests to have a beautiful experience in my home, so I take great joy in creating those details. It feels really good to be hospitable. Over the years I've learned some easy tricks that will be aesthetically impactful, and I'm so excited to share them with you. First, begin with a certain color palette. My kitchen is black and white, as well as everything in it. Dishes, placemats, furniture. I always use that as my starting point so things don't become a mish mash. An over complicated table is an assault on the senses. I don't need my kitchen or dining room to evoke imagery of being in Times Square. All of my dish-ware and vases are clean, minimalist black and white, so all I needed here was one strong accent color.
I like to use different flowers in only one bold hue. I chose red here as a nod to the holiday season. As well as winter season; pale pink feels weak in the dead of winter. I bought several different types of flowers and berries in the same shade of deep red. Different shades don't look as clean or tied together. Roses, gerber daisies, and lush branches of holiday berries all set the mood, accented by red leaves. The branches of berries laid around the table gave a beautiful "in the woods" feel. Little berry branches on each place setting was a sweet and consistent detail.
My favorite dishes, serving pieces, and vases are inexpensive from CB2. My Jewish kitchen uses white squares for meat, and white circles for dairy. All white just different shapes. Easy to keep separate. I use the same stuff over and over, but I'll put a different spin on it each time. I love these gray River Rock placemats. They add a touch of sophisticated nature, and lend great texture to the table decor. The rectangular mats and square plates give a clean, geometric vibe. I jazzed up my stemware by using these hand blown glasses I bought in Prague before my wedding. They are the one set of fancy stemware I have, so despite the royal blue, I'll use them anytime. The fresh pop of blue never seems to be a problem.
I love a cleanly folded napkin folded in thirds, placed squarely on the plate, again keeping with the geometry. I love making place cards, it makes people feel so welcome. These little black, iron fruits hold place cards. They're more country kitchen, so they add some softness to the more modern theme. Everything I used here are things I've had for many years. I used to think I had to run out and buy new stuff whenever I entertained. Or order professionally arranged flowers, which were a fortune. How stupid was that?? After all, a beautifully set table is great, but it's really a support to colorful, healthy food eaten by colorful, healthy guests who have come together to share a meal.
Before the main dishes come out, be sure to have a good assortment of salty and sweet stuff to Nosh on. Little white serving bowls keep your variations in line visually. Bowls of dates, dried peas, cherry tomatoes for the red theme, along with mason jars of my homemade party nuts were enough to nibble on without being filling. I used to plow people with appetizers, trying to show off. So dumb; people would fill up too quickly and ignore my slaved over main dishes. When I put out desert, I again chose a color scheme. This time, I did different candies in white. Red would have been overkill, and I loved the winter white candy. I bought it all from Party City. The gummy bears were a fun addition of color. Cherries and strawberries tastefully and naturally include the red. I happen to not like candy, I'm a cookie cake chocolate gal, but most folks love it. It's an adorable, easy way to serve an assortment of joy. My white ceramic Chinese takeout containers are the coolest display for candy. They pull everything together on the black and white chevron striped tray. When I first got married and had yet to cultivate any taste, my stuff was a million different colors and patterns. The apartment on Friends/ Shabby Chic vibe was more popular, but it never looked the way I wanted it to. I eventually gave all those things away to newlyweds in need, through my synagogue. Now I stick to the white and black rule, the cheaper the better. Attractive white kitchenware is ubiquitous. It's the easiest way to make your food the star of the show. Now go have fun, and make sure to eat your own food that you've worked so hard to prepare. A beautiful, inviting home is one of the points to life. It represents a beautiful, inviting hostess and person, which you are.