setting the perfect table: how do you do it?

I’m an avid cook, but I rarely host dinner parties. Mostly I avoid the affairs because I don’t have a table. On special occasions, I turn my freestanding butcher block into a small kitchen table, but most of the time my boyfriend and I eat on the couch. (I know, I know.) Despite my lack of a table to set, I’ve come to appreciate a beautifully laid out table. I saw this red radish place setting over at Apartment Therapy Re-Nest and my mind has been racing with new ideas. Do you take the time to really set your table for dinner? Do you have any tricks up your sleeve for making a statement with your setting? –Erica P.

From our partners

This has really been on my mind this week after I had friends round for dinner on Monday night. As I would be at work all day on Monday, only getting home 15 minutes before my friends were due to arrive, I cooked a curry (as it is something which improves by having a day to infuse) and laid the table the night before. It was very calming, laying out the china and glasses. I have four bright turqoise napkins which I pressed and put simply on the plates (like in your picture, but with no radish!). Even though my plates were just a set my aunt and uncle had in their holiday caravan for twenty years, and the glasses are the cheapest ones from a department store, once I’d made the small effort the table looked very welcoming and classy – my friends thought the dinner service was special!

The thing that makes our table look like we tried is NOT using the overhead chandelier. We have some little frosted lamps on the floor in the corners of the dining room and we turn them on so it’s not pitch dark and so the space looks bigger, but the only other light comes from lots of candles on the table. It makes any dinner seem like a Dinner Party.

But mostly we eat on the couch, too.

Michelle Volpe-Kohler

We’ve been setting our table for dinner almost every night for a while now. For everyday dinners, we don’t do anything fancy. We Just use cloth napkins. But it makes a big difference–it’s more inviting and reminds you to slow down a bit and actually taste your food.

For special occasions/dinner parties, I try to incorporate something seasonal on or around the napkin. I’ve never done fresh radishes. What a cute idea!