DECOR & DIY, Romancing the Home

Romancing the Home – Table Setting Tips From Me to You

Table setting – a chore as a child, an unnecessary evil in my 20’s and, until recently, a superb waste of time in my 30’s. That was, at least, until I found Pinterest and Instagram. My oh my were my eyes opened! I finally understood!

Having spent some time perusing stunning table settings, I have developed some tips and tricks. My base is usually more or less the same, I just change a few small things to suit the occasion or look that I’m going for 🙂

So, here they are – the tips and tricks from the woman who used to tease her mother-in-law for taking a tablecloth with when we went out for picnics :

1. Start with a table cloth or table runner

I usually go with my burlap and lace table runner from Bunches for Africa; I have a slight obsession with it! It works for me because it’s textured and it’s neutral. This makes it an easy piece to layer and create different looks from.

Burlap and lace runner - Table Setting - Sawdust and High Heels
Can you spy the table runner? The lace and neutral burlap creates the perfect backdrop.

2. Placemats

Placemats are cheaper than chargers and, to me, they accomplish the same thing. They create a base layer and add texture and interest to the table. In all of my table settings, I’ve used the same cheap, neutral wheat coloured placemats from Sheet Street for years.

Simple placemat - table setting - Sawdust and High Heels
A simple placemat instead of a charger – a cost effective way to introduce layers and texture into your table setting.

3. White crockery

If you need crockery, buy white. You can mix and match it with anything. It’s so versatile and easy build around and create different looks with and you don’t need to feel that you need to buy new crockery for each and every occasion.

White crockery - Table setting - Sawdust and High Heels
Basic white crockery goes an exceptionally long way when creating different tablescapes.

4. Greenery and flower arrangements

How you use your greenery and florals is completely up to you. You can create looks completely over the top or as simple as you like. My go-to foliage is fresh eucalyptus. I just love the look of it, the smell of it, and the way that it plays nicely with other greenery and florals (whether those are fresh or faux 😉 ).

Fresh greenery - table setting - Sawdust and High Heels
I love the mix of eucalyptus in the centerpiece along with the fynbos on the place setting. They complement each other so well.
A simple protea tablescape - table setting - Sawdust and High Heels
A different take: A paired down tablescape, using protea stems, some eucalyptus and a piece of burlap as a runner.
Tablescape using faux greens - table setting - Sawdust and High Heels
Another tablescape: This one was created using faux greenery with pops of dried lavender.

5. Candles

I’m not going to lie – I don’t always light the candles. For a more simple table setting, I love using different heights and shapes of white candles to create a cozy, relaxed tablescape. For special occasions, like Christmas, I may pull out red or gold candles, depending on the look that I’m going for. That’s the beauty of using neutrals as your base – you can follow the same method to get the basic tablescape set up and then tweak for the occasion!

Candles - table setting - Sawdust and High Heels
Candles, candles, everywhere! I love them 🙂

6. Creating height

I love my cake stands and cutting boards, because I can use them to create depth and interest in my centerpiece. This is a simple trick that I use to create maximum impact.

Creating height - Table setting - Sawdust and High Heels
I used a raised platter and mini cheese board to create some height in this tablescape. This while ensuring that guests can see each other over it.

7. Cutlery

I never used to give this much thought. Hubs and I have a set that we bought years ago – a standard stainless steel set with a simple, classic look. They worked for me and I never really gave them a second thought. That was until new colours were introduced! I have since bought a set of rose gold/copper cutlery and may or may not have my eye on some black cutlery as well. At this point though I can’t justify the price – I don’t use the rose gold/copper cutlery much because it’s not dishwasher safe. There, I said it: I’m lazy. No surprise to you, I’m sure!

What I’m trying to say is this: If you have a simple, classic set in whichever colour you love, you can use it for all your parties and occasions – there is no need to buy everything you see. Unless, of course, you want it!

Copper cutlery - table setting - Sawdust and High Heels
Surely you can’t blame me for this splurge?!

8. Napkins

I don’t have many of these either, but the 2 sets that I do have are stunning. So stunning in fact that I put paper ones on the serving table because I don’t want greasy stains on my beautiful napkins. Yes, I know, that defeats the purpose of them. But just look at them! I bet you don’t blame me 😉

Threads the bind us napkin - table setting - Sawdust and High Heels
I love my Threads That Bind Us napkins; such unique handmade pieces.

9. Place setting

I love adding something of interest on the top plate or in the bowl on my place setting. It’s completely unnecessary and would get removed as soon as the setting gets used, but the pop of personality that a piece like that adds is totally worth it. A flower in a small vase, a piece of fruit in a bowl, a simple stalk of lavender… It all just adds to the setting and the ambiance. My motto: it must be pretty, even if it may seem to be a bit frivolous.

Nectarine - table setting - Sawdust and High Heels
A pop of colour thanks to a nectarine.

I’m sure by now you have gathered that I reuse just about everything for each and every table setting that I do. I change things up in the greenery, florals and candles. The cheaper, smaller items. This really helps me to keep costs down when creating tablescapes for occasions or events. Also, with the florals, because I have collected some faux florals over the years it’s even cheaper. I have no qualms with mixing fresh and faux to create the look that I’m looking for!

Tablescape - table setting - Sawdust and High Heels
A few simple pieces together create a cozy, cohesive setting.

I hope that you found some of the tips and tricks in this post helpful. If you use any of them, I would love it if you would share on Instagram or Facebook and tag me so that I can see! If I did’t cover something that you see in my photos, leave me a comment or pop me an e-mail and I will get back to you.

Don’t forget to pop in at my awesome #romancingthehome friends and check out their table settings:

Thank you for joining us this week – I appreciate it more than words can convey!

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