Dec 15, 2009

Ideas for Setting a Beautiful Table

Tablecloths are the foundation of your table setting, use them to help create the ambiance for your event. Do you want a formal feeling or more casual? Perhaps playful or festive would better describe the gathering you are planning. The colors and materials you choose for your tablecloth, napkins, runners and accessories can set the tone.

Of course there are a variety of materials you can select from, including paper which is more casual and can be thrown away after being used, making clean-up easy. There is a large assortment of paper goods to choose from including specific holiday themes. A vinyl table cloth with paper napkins is another option, which also tends to be more casual and is often used for outdoor affairs or a children's party. A third choice of course is fabric, which can be used for either a formal or casual occasion.

I prefer to use fabric tablecloths. They may cost more to purchase, however, in the long run they are less expensive then paper because they can be used for years. You can put them with matching or coordinating fabric napkins or with paper napkins. Unlike the table linens our grandmothers used, today tablecloths are available in a large selection of washable fabrics that are easy to maintain. The key is to wash them in cold water and dry them in a cool dryer, removing them from the dryer as soon as they are dry.

As far a color goes, your cloth should coordinate with the room the table will be set up in and with you china pattern. For added interest, select a tone on tone cloth like a damask, or a textured cloth like a pin tuck or crinkle. The food should be the focal point of the table, do not select a cloth with a busy pattern or print that will take away from what is on the menu.

Use accessories like napkin rings, a centerpiece, candle holders or a table runner to indicate the theme of the party. If the themes colors (green for Saint Patricks' Day or red for Christmas) do not go with your rooms color scheme then use neutral accessories that look good with your decor. You can still make it special and festive by using fun, over the top glittering accents you would not use everyday. Or use natural items that are appropriate for the occasion like dried leaves and acorns for Thanksgiving or rose petals for Valentines day,

One way to change the look of a plain tablecloth is to add a transparent, shimmering organza overlay;or sprinkle sequins or glitter on top of the cloth. The idea is to make it special and different from what you do every day.

To determine the size your tablecloth should be, measure the length and the width of your table and decide how much fabric you want to come down on each side (that is the drop). Add the drop X 2 to the table dimensions and this will give you the size the cloth should be. For a formal look you can have the cloth go to the floor. If you add a leaf to your table remember to add in the size of the leaf.

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