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How to create a unique table setting

11th July 2014

Whether you are preparing for fine dining on a grand scale or are simply hosting a more casual and relaxed affair, using some creativity when it comes to setting your table will make the dining experience infinitely better. Jamie Horton from Harlequin London takes as through his top tips for creating a thoroughly unique table setting for every occasion.


Setting the stage

When considering how to create a unique table setting, one of our favourite tips is to think of it as stage, rather than just a piece of furniture you use to eat from. The food and tableware are the entertainment, your guests the audience and the table decoration the stage props. It’s often claimed that you eat with your eyes and the same could be said about design - what you see is a feast for your eyes. Combine these two principles and this is what we aspire to achieve for our clients when designing a place setting.

Back to basics

The first question we often ask our clients is ‘What are you eating?’ to establish what plates, bowls, cutlery and glasses are needed.The largest single piece on the table is the plate and so is the best starting point when deciding how to build up the setting.


Be bold

Don’t be afraid to use colour or pattern with your chinaware! Choosing a base either contrasting or sympathetic to your dining area will set the tone – complementary Legle shades are a great place to start. Pattern can sometimes be overbearing if repeated constantly so we often advise clients to mix services for a fresh look for each course. Many companies now have different designs for each plate size in a service for this very reason – see the Ca d’oro porcelain.


Glasses are a great way of adding more colour and texture. We suggest clear crystal for your wine, but colourful water goblets can inject some fun and help carry your colour theme through – see the Saint Louis Tommy collection. Silver flatware, embroidered table linens and glass vases full of flowers will all contribute to the texture of the table as well – a neutral setting with a series of colourful blooms will completely amplify the sensory experience.


Accessories are the key to making a truly unique table and you have more than you might think at your disposal. Functional accessories like salt and pepper cells can be quirky as well as luxurious, like the jewelled pinecone salt and pepper cells from L’Objet. Purely decorative pieces like a William Yeoward crystal sculpture have their place too, just be careful not to block your guests from seeing each other with too much height on the table!



The little details make all the difference – if you’re celebrating a particular time of year, such as a holiday or birthday, consider how you could infuse this into your scheme. Handwritten place cards add a real personal touch and themed napkin holders are a perfect nod to your surroundings or occasion – L’Objet’s coral and rope napkin rings would be perfect for a coastal gathering.

Layer, layer, layer

Finally, don’t rely on just one piece to light up your table – each plate, fork and decorative accessory has their role to play and are what will make your table setting truly unique.


Whatever you do with your table, have fun and be artistic – the tableware and accessories you choose should all be things that you love and bring some personality to the room as a whole. Remember to prepare well in advance so that when your friends do arrive for dinner you are relaxed and everything is ready so you can enjoy yourself too!

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