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How to set the perfect tablescape

Tablescaping: Dressing for the perfect feast, with Annie L James

Annie L James is a Stylist and Visual Merchandiser based in London. She currently works within the Visual Team at The Conran Shop. In her spare time, Annie likes to focus on her own creative practice, interior and prop styling for commercial and editorial settings. Focusing on colour, layering, flowers and personalising, here are her top tips for table laying, be it for an everyday setting or a grand dinner. 

Colour: think seasonally!

Holiday season is upon us, so naturally I veer towards rich oranges and crisp browns during Autumn. Using these fawny tones allows for brighter pops of colour in the form of glassware or candles, adding that unexpected layer of colour.

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Layering: luxurious linen!

My table always begins with a beautiful piece of linen, be it, a table runner, a placemat or a tablecloth, it’s a perfect starting point with minimal effort and maximum results. This initial layering sets the scene for the next step, dinnerware, candles and flora.

Flowers: your local flower market is your best friend!

Find your nearest flower market and go seasonal! Depending on your event, I tend to mix varieties for a playful tablescape, and for a more sophisticated aesthetic, I would stick to a single variety. Don’t be afraid to try both! Height is crucial when arranging your display, envisage each stem in its vase before cutting to the acquired height, and be sure to have a mix of short and taller stems. In doing so, this avoids the ‘plonked in’ look.

Top Tip: sometimes less is more! For example, an Amaryllis stem works great in twos or threes! Each stem is cut to a different height, creating a dramatic and sculptural look!

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Fillers and personalising: the finishing touch that brings everything together!

Without fillers and personalising, tables can look dull and unordinary, be sure to follow this easy and exciting step! Again, based on the occasion and season, dress the table with cheap and readily available objects such as fruits, vegetables, baubles, and characters. With the holiday season fast approaching, try trailing mini-pumpkins along the table, or for a Christmas banquet, adorn your napkins with food themed baubles, and don’t forget your handwritten name tag! Adding those small extras make a big difference, so go on, get creative and try dressing your holiday table with a chopping board, lots of Autumnal fruits and a couple of candle holders.

 

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