THE RULES: TA­BLE SET­TINGS

WHETHER YOU’RE HAV­ING A FAM­ILY BAR­BE­CUE, CA­SUAL BRUNCH OR FULL-ON DIN­ING EX­PE­RI­ENCE, A BEAU­TI­FULLY DRESSED TA­BLE WILL SET THE MOOD

Real Living (Australia) - - CONTENTS -

How to set the mood for any din­ing oc­ca­sion

CON­SIDER THE OC­CA­SION Are the in-laws over for a roast or is it an out­side brunch for friends? “A for­mal meal lends it­self to a per­fectly set ta­ble and a ca­sual event calls for large share plat­ters for guests to help them­selves,” says Jes­sica Bellef, head of styling at Tem­ple & Web­ster.

LAY THE FOUN­DA­TIONS Table­cloths suit for­mal and ca­sual meals, but the fab­ric will change the style com­pletely – crushed linen cre­ates a re­laxed look while crisp cot­ton is more for­mal. Al fresco din­ing calls for a bare ta­ble with a ta­ble run­ner or place­mats.

NAP­KINS ARE ES­SEN­TIAL They’re not just prac­ti­cal, they add colour to a set­ting, too. “If you make your own, you can tai­lor them to your scheme. Cut cot­ton fab­ric into 60cm squares, sewing a hem or leav­ing the edges to fray. Run them through the wash be­fore you use them,” Jes­sica says.

SET ONLY WHAT YOU’LL USE Don’t set ex­tra plates, cut­lery and glass­ware just be­cause it looks nice. Only put out things that will be used through­out the meal or you’ll end up with con­fused guests and ex­tra wash­ing up to do. No­body likes wash­ing dishes!

GET THE OR­DER RIGHT If you’re serv­ing more than one course, cut­lery should be placed in or­der of use from the out­side in. Forks go to the left, as does the bread or salad plate, while knives, spoons and glass­ware be­long on the right.

DON’T ADD CLUT­TER Meal­times shouldn’t be spent play­ing ta­ble Tetris, so avoid lit­ter­ing your ta­ble with glass­ware. “A mul­ti­pur­pose bar cart is a nifty thing to have,” Jes­sica says. “Put it near your ta­ble, stacked with ex­cess table­ware, cut­lery and ice buck­ets.”

CHOOSE A CEN­TRE­PIECE Keep your ta­ble cen­tre­pieces low for easy eye con­tact. For breakfast and lunch, opt for fresh flow­ers or bowls of fruit. “Can­dles are per­fect for dinner par­ties, but choose un­scented to avoid fra­grance clashes with your dishes,” Jes­sica says.

FIN­ISH­ING TOUCHES COUNT Whether it’s a place card, a beau­ti­ful nap­kin ring or jar of home­made jam for your guests to take home, the finer de­tails make all the dif­fer­ence. It’s even bet­ter if they have been hand­made spe­cially by the host.

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