Top Tips for Spring Tablescaping

When it comes to entertaining at home, few things impress guest as much as a beautifully set table.

A floral paper garland in varying pastel hues hangs above a table laid with flowers and floral-inspired party tableware.

Whatever the occasion, honing the art of table presentation will ensure you create conviviality, guests will be happy, and conversation will flow. Here’s how...

A long table set with tablecloths in the colors of the rainbow and decorated with honeycomb ornaments and partyware and candles in the same color.

Start with a theme or colour scheme

A theme will give you focus and everything else, from decorations and tableware to gifts and favours, can be worked around that. ‘A colour scheme is helpful and a good starting point,’ says Sania Pell, Interior Stylist and Creative Director, who works her magic when tablescaping on the Meri Meri shoots. ‘This could be bright and clashing, or calmer and tonal. Use a tablecloth as your base. A kids birthday party may be a brighter event than a baby shower or teen party.’

Scallop-edged placemats topped with similar napkins and plates in varying colors.

What are the traditional rules regarding cutlery and glassware?

For a traditional formal table, knives go to the right, starting with the dinner knife nearest the placemat with blade facing in, followed by the fish knife (if using) and soup spoon, while forks go to the left (dinner fork, followed by salad fork) with tines facing upwards. Dessert spoons go above the plate with the spoon round to the left.

Glasses go top right with the wine glass slightly lower and the water glass slightly higher and nearer the centre. The bread plate should go top left with the bread knife horizontally across the plate.

However, no need to stick to formalities! ‘Rules are made to be broken! I rarely follow a formal place setting.’ says Pell. ‘To make a table less formal and feel more modern, you could keep the cutlery together to the right side of the plate.’ And what about napkins? ‘Fabric napkins can be opened out and used as place mats or rolled with the cutlery sitting on top and both cutlery and napkins tied together with a bow,’ says Pell. Our wooden cutlery is perfect for setting at kids’ tables!

Pastel daisy-shaped plates and napkins set alongside scallop-edged linen napkins against a sage green backdrop.

Is it ok to mix up paper plates and crockery tableware?

Of course! Not only does it save on washing up but mixing elegant glassware and stylish paper cups or reusable cups can add an element of fun. ‘Layering paper plates and paper cups with glassware works well. Real glasses can be mixed in with paper cups too and why not a few flowers placed in either, treating them as a vase,' says Pell. ‘Mixing silver, china, crystal, and special serving dishes is back in style. Placemats, water glasses, wine glasses are all now featuring – it’s so much fun,’ adds Meredithe Stuart-Smith, Meri Meri Founder & President.

Table candles in varying colors and twisted pastel table candles are lit and stand amongst pastel tableware and linen, scallop-edged napkins.

How about other decorations like flowers, centrepieces and candles?

A great way to make a statement and impress your guests is to weave candles through and along the centre of the table. 'I love ordering flowers and foliage from a local florist and mixing them up with candles,’ says Stuart-Smith. Pell agrees: ‘Small vases of flowers can mix in alongside the candle for added colour and vibrancy.’ Her top tip? Japanese flower frogs (kensan) used in ikebana can help the arrangements look more modern and means you can use bowls and lower dishes to play and experiment with the flowers.

A long coloring tablecloth filled with empty illustrations to color in, from robots to dinosaurs and mermaids.

How about the kids' specific table? What are the rules here?

'The kids' table need to be fun and entertaining, and Meri Meri colouring-in tablecloths are a wonderful way to keep children entertained, especially with a few surprise balls thrown in,’ says Pell. She adds: ‘Little hidden messages, charades, jokes, or fun tasks could be written and placed under plates and hidden within the table to keep children occupied.’

On the left, a cake stand topped with cupcakes that are decorated with floral cupcake toppers, and on the right are spring-inspired plates and napkins alongside bow place cards and a bunny cup.

Any finishing touches?

Cake stands are helpful for displaying fruit, sweet treats or even cheeses. ‘Place cards add a personal touch and ensure everyone knows where they are sitting,’ says Stuart-Smith. ‘I also love putting a bag of specialty chocolates at each place setting.’

Scallop-edged linen napkins paired with striped plates and lanterns in blue and red and set amongst pastel table candles and a striped tablecloth in a sunny garden.

Any fun ways to add extra wow-factor to your table?

‘Stripes are always a winner, they can be both sophisticated and fun,’ says Pell. ‘Use them as your tablecloth or in your napkins, cups, party hats, decorations or altogether for a real wow factor!’

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