11 Nov Divine dining spaces
It’s slowly (well, actually quite quickly) approaching that time of year that sees families uniting around the dinner table from far and wide, sharing an array of delicious foods and fun filled stories. Whether you’re setting the table for Hanukkah, Christmas or simply having some friends over for dinner, your dining space is your social hub of the home for entertaining. While you’re getting into the festive spirit, or planning your next gathering, here are my insights into ways you can make your dining experience even more special.
Catering for parties of all sizes
Let’s start at the beginning. Dining settings are designed around a certain number of guests. If you’re planning a larger gathering this year, you need to start planning ahead if you’re in need of a bigger dining table or more chairs. My advice always is ‘buy once, buy right’, i.e. investing in quality pieces that will stand the test of time. This process shouldn’t be rushed, give yourself time to find and order the right pieces.
If you’re a bit of a social butterfly and like to entertain more frequently, or have a big beautiful family to catch up with regularly, it might be time to invest in some fold away chairs that you can store somewhere convenient and produce when you need them (if you don’t need a large dining setting all year round). Another great stowaway is a foldable trestle table. Giving yourself plenty of time to source these items will ensure that you can maintain the same level of comfort, quality and style even in your foldaway ‘extras’.
Find the perfect setting
Not everybody is used to entertaining in large numbers, and your indoor space might not have the room to cater for an influx of family (or extra trestle tables and folding chairs). What a wonderful opportunity to get creative with your setting. Consider setting up outside on the patio or in the garden, all weather dependent of course, embracing the nature around you in your table setting.
Flowers are always a beautiful styling option for a celebratory table, remembering to keep them low so guests can still see each other across the table. Herbs and whole vegetables are also a great way to style a table with a twist.
Finding the perfect setting can mean that you can take inspiration from the colours, textures and patterns that exist around you. When planning bigger one-off events like Christmas, it’s always best to be bold and outrageous. Or you can begin the process with a beautiful table cloth and the rest can evolve from there.
Bigger isn’t always better
Consider the opposite of sizing up your dining experience for a big holiday celebration, and consider the options of settings for downsizing to a more intimate affair. Dinner around a kitchen island is a more relaxed personal setting, perfect for 2 or 4. Or if you have occasional tables in your home, consider using this to create a smaller setting from your usual dining table, perfect for an intimate dinner between a couple by candlelight. This is a favourite of mine for a quiet evening dinner for just my husband and I.
I always like to plan ahead when I’m styling a table of my own for a larger gathering, just to make sure I have time to purchase some items I may be missing, for example glassware or serviettes. Ensuring that everything not only matches throughout the setting but that they all work in harmony together and are considered in the overall theme.
While planning larger gatherings, don’t be afraid of joining tables together to create a banquet setting. The same coloured table cloth can be used along the length of the tables, and you can get creative in the spaces that they overlap with greenery or candles to cleverly disguise the differences.
That said, I do like leaving beautiful tabletops in their natural state, for example timber or marble with no cloth, just taking advantage of table mats or nothing at all, to allow the table to look natural and authentic.
And last, lighting
Saving the best for last. The original setting for a table used to be candles by necessity. But from this necessity arose a beautiful tradition of ambient flickering lighting, creating romantic, intimate, or simply cozy settings for partners, family and friends to break bread. We have access to countless styles of candles, in varying colours, shapes and sizes, with the addition of beautiful aromas to complement our dining experience. So whatever size your setting, you’re sure to be able to light it with an appropriate candle (or several).
Back to the 21st century, pendant lights that hang above dining tables or counters are a modern way of creating lighting that works for your setting and occasion. They can be fitted with dimmer switches, so you can brighten and dim depending on the mood you wish to create. Pendant lights can become a focal point of the dining experience itself.
Ultimately, the style of your home should translate onto the table setting, making it easy on the eye and like it belongs in that space. If you would like to speak to us about helping you design the dining spaces in your home, please contact us to discuss further.