How To: Modern Table Setting Ideas

There are lots of reasons to set a table whether it's an average weeknight supper or festive holiday feast to date-night dining. At Colonial House of Flowers we see the table as a canvas -- for everybody --  from the bakers to the decorators to children and adults to the flower makers! It's true you are going to need to set your table to make it as fun and easy as it could possibly be. 

Table setting may seem like a bygone art but in fact, it's not. My daughter, Beatrice, just got a refresher in the 9th Grade Cotillion right here in Roswell this past week. And maybe it's the pandemic and all, but everywhere from Anthropologie to House Beautiful is talking about the table. It's quite simple once you know a few basics.  I love it! 

I am delighted to present this little tip list and 'how to' for setting the table with a unique Colonial House of Flowers touch. 

 

Terrarium and Plants on a Tableblank
PHOTO: WILLIAM BRINSON, HOUSE OF BRINSON 

Arranging a Table Setting

For starters choose dinnerware that matches the food you are serving. Think of any themes that may be going on and whether it is casual or formal. For instance, is the meal tacos, fried chicken or salmon and caviar? Answering these questions will help determine how the table will feel. 

fried chicken
PHOTO: COLONIAL HOUSE OF FLOWERS + SARAH INGRAM + WHITEWOOD EVENTS, ATHENS, GEORGIA 

Setting a Casual Table

For less formal gatherings it's okay to mix colors, prints and textures. Laidback styles with the feels of melamine, jute, lien and foraged greenery is great. 

linen placemat

1. Upon choosing your dishes, place the dinner on a placemat if you have one and directly in front of the chair. Placemats made of natural fibers like linen, jute and cotton are nice for casual style. Next add the salad plate and napkin. 

2. Put out the silverware next using the forks to the left of the dinner plate, and knives and spoons to the right. The secret to the flatware is remembering that it is placed as it will be used. The dessert utensils are at the top of the plate when included. 


shop cloth linen table napkins at colonial house of flowers

SHOP: LINEN NAPKIN SETS, COLONIAL HOUSE OF FLOWERS


3. Next up: the glasses! The water glass is at the top right of each table setting with the wine glass to the right of it. According to Anthropologie's Table Setting With A Modern Twist, "If guests have enjoyed a sip before dinner, the cocktail glass goes to the right of the entire place setting."

4. Finally put the greens on! Fill the center of the table with candles, lanterns, a small vase of flowers or greenery laid as a garland.

Setting a Formal Table 

Table Setting At Swan House in Atlanta By Colonial House of Flowers
 Formal Table Setting With Gold Utensils and Blue Napkins at Swan House in Atlanta Georgia by Colonial House of Flowers

PHOTO: COLONIAL HOUSE OF FLOWERS + RSVP EVENT DESIGN + JULIE PAISLEY PHOTOGRAPHY AT THE SWAN HOUSE, ATLANTA, GEORGIA 

For every bit of the "less is more" and "k.i.s.s. (keep it simple stupid)" game plan for casual settings when it comes to formal - swing the opposite way. More is more for elegance, ambiance and extravagance. As Barry Beasley used to say in our flower shop, "it ain't done til it's overdone!" 

1. Upon deciding on the dishes then you can choose a matching tablecloth for the table and other linens. 

2. Placemats are optional. If they're being used then they go down first to be topped with a centered charger, dinner plate, salad plate, soup bowl (in that order).

3. Napkins are next, my friends. Although a folded napkin to the right of the place setting is classic you can use napkin rings or place the napkin atop the dishes for an elevated and creative touch. 

4. Just like with a casual setting, the silverware is laid in the order it will be used from the outside in. The knives and spoons are to the right of the plate and the forks are on the left. Additional utensils that may be used like the soup spoon, goes farthest to the right. A steak knife goes next to the plate. A desert utensil goes to the top of the plate. 

 

Formal Table Setting With Ranunculus by Colonial House of Flowers

PHOTO: COLONIAL HOUSE OF FLOWERS + RSVP EVENTS + JULIE PAISLEY PHOTOGRAPHY AT SWAN HOUSE, ATLANTA, GEORGIA 

5. Next up is the glassware. The water glass goes to the top right of the table setting while a single red or white wine glass goes to its right. If cocktails were served before dinner those glasses go the right of the entire place setting.
6. Lastly, add candles to light the center of the table. You can use taper candlesticks or votive candles and tea lights. This is also a time to add the extra details like place cards,  menu cards even boutonnières for the dinner plates like Nashville based RSVP Events commissioned us to create for the tables in the gardens at the Atlanta History Center (above). 

Yellow Peony Centerpiece With Table Home Decor By Colonial House of Flowers
PHOTO: KANA OKADA
How To Set A Table By Colonial House of Flowers Photo by Martha Stewart
PHOTO: COLONIAL HOUSE OF FLOWERS + SARAH INGRAM AT JEKYLL ISLAND, GEORGIA 

Infuse Personality

Around Colonial House of Flowers improvisation and making something beautful out of what you have is a rule. And, it's a trait we take pride. To be honest we all know that rules are made to be broken. Everything you do should have your signature style and a personality all it's on. Let your wishes and thoughts shine. If you want to put the napkin somewhere unique or add a plant to the table, do it! Add color with silverware or a pop of an unexpected decorative centerpiece.
Table linens are a great place to add a twist. With an array of options like runners, napkins, placemats and table cloths you can mix and match for added dimension and personal taste.  

And, so you know when it comes to centerpieces, there are a few dos and don’ts. Do light candles. I believe the twinkle sets the mood and invites warm conversation. Also, DO use greenery to add a refreshing sense of time and place to your table. But, I beg you to not overcrowd your table with too many things. It's okay to add fruit and branches or what you desire but make sure it's not too bunched up that you block the view or the guest's reach for the wine. 

FORMAL TABLE SETTING DECOR IN NASHVILLE BY COLONIAL HOUSE OF FLOWERS
PHOTO: COLONIAL HOUSE OF FLOWERS + HEATHER BENGE + JULIE PAISLEY AT LONG HOLLOW GARDENS, NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE
PHOTO: COLONIAL HOUSE OF FLOWERS + WHITEWOOD EVENTS + ANNA SHACKLEFORD, ATLANTA, GEORGIAHome and Garden Table Decor Outside Picnic Table By Colonial House of Flowers in Atlanta, Georgia
PHOTO: COLONIAL HOUSE OF FLOWERS + K. Lo Design  + BROOKE ROBERTS PHOTOGRAPHY, MUSGROVE AT SAINT SIMONS ISLAND, GEORGIA

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