Just because our regular holiday plans are out the door doesn't mean we can't celebrate in style. I'm taking a smaller party as an opportunity to create a cozier table, set for comfort and joy - and what better way than to mix and match our favorite creations with soft linens, vintage finds, and family heirlooms?
Let's start off with some tips for setting the table - any table! Then let me walk you through how I'm setting the table for a party of two this Christmas.
Best Tips For Setting Any Table
1. WORK WITH WHAT YOU HAVE
You don't have to invest much to make a beautiful table. If you have a basic white plate, you make it into anything - whatever your style of the moment is. Maybe you have a vintage plate set passed down to you like I did (I use them for most of my everyday meals) or something simple from Ikea; anything can be dressed up and you don't have to have lots of moving pieces. A favorite trick of mine is that a bowl can almost always be used in place of having plates - you can eat anything out of a bowl, except maybe a steak. Your table cloth can be any piece of cloth you like - repurposing cotton or linen is always a good idea. And if you're looking for color but don't want to invest, hand painting spare cloth is a fun project and a unique addition to any table. On the note of unique: don't turn your nose up at pieces passed down. Something old is always nice on the table, especially when there are memories associated with it.
2. IT'S NICE TO HAVE SOMETHING TO LAYER
Standard dinner plates are usually 10 inches. Adding an 8 inch plate plus a bowl that's 7 or 8 inches wide creates instant dimension and complexity.
3. ADD SOME TEXTURE
Once you have your basics in place (whatever they might be), zhush it up by adding elements of pattern or texture. A set of cloth napkins is a timeless investment, but a drop cloth cut in squares also makes for a great napkin. Aim for about 20" squares so they're nice and big to lay on your lap.
4. NOTHING HAS TO MATCH
If you have a different knife and fork, who cares? Keep it all in a color palette and it will work. Variety is the spice of life, as they say.
5. ADD CANDLES
Look, everybody looks good in candle light. It's really that simple.
6. ACT NATURAL
The final touch for me is always adding something from the earth - natural elements like flowers, foraged branches, leaves, grasses, and nuts are a great way to add color and unexpected texture to any table.
How I'm Setting Our Table For 2020
FROM THE STUDIO
Pinch Plates are my favorite at the moment for doing something glamourous. They have a rustic texture that makes for a great base. The rims have a slightly haphazard dripping effect, which frames the food but is not so fancy it makes things too precious.
These basic white desert plates feature textured edges and were handed down to me from my mom - and I have a sneaking suspicion they were given to her by her mom. I eat off of them everyday. I'm all about heirloom pieces this year because having something from my family on the table gives me the feeling of family I'm missing.
Every holiday I break out my midcentury modern flatware with the wooden handles - even though they're mismatched! I've collected them over the years and I love how the wood feels. They're very delicate and they always make things feel special.
Holidays are also a great excuse for me to break out some vintage glassware - a favorite thing for us to collect. (If you love glassware like I do, you'll be excited to see that we recently launched our "Collected" line so that we can share a small selection of our favorites with you!) The featured champagne coupe also works as an elevated desert coupe.
When it's just a few people for dinner (in this case two of us), we don't need big serving dishes. I generally plate the main dish straight from the stove. I'm using the Stucco Everything Bowl for serving this year. I usually use it to eat my meals from, but in this case we'll use it to serve a larger side dish. Noodle Bowls and other small bowls are perfect for smaller side dishes and dips, and they work well for decorative objects too. Pinecones or oranges are a favorite of mine for adding color to the table.
I do not iron, which makes me a big fan of rumpled linen. It has a great texture to it and looks beautiful un-ironed! These are from Pom Pom at Home - and newly available in our Collected series! They're my favorite because they have a slightly open weave and get softer with every wash.
I went simple and natural for this year, using dried pods we had collected earlier in the year.