Classic elegant tabletop
Elegant tabletop This tabletop is the perfect example of how texture and colour can bring a table to life. Vibrant touches of pink and green lift the calm, neutral tones of the room, while textured papers and fabrics add subtle pattern to the scheme.
Pretty placemats Tweak a conventional table setting to make it your own. Here, placemats have been laid vertically rather than horizontally to give a softer look to the table.
Statement flowers When you get the chance, go for the grand gesture. Choose stately stems, such as the lime-green molucella, or structured blooms like the pink dahlias. If you choose two varieties, make sure they complement each other in colour and shape. Opt for glass vases, which won't detract from the impact of the vases.
Formal flowers Flowers can provide the inspiration for a table's colour scheme or, as here, create pops of coolur against a pale background. For this formal look, you want structured blooms that hold their shape, such as these pink dahlias with their pompom heads. Use tall vases for dramatic effect and move them to one side once the meal is underway.
Neat napkin rings In this tabletop vignette, hydrangea sprigs have been wired onto silver napkin rings and echo the pink and green colour combination of the tabletop flowers. Any robust blooms -- roses or orchids, perhaps -- would work, as their sturdy stems are easy to attach.
How to get the look
China For sophisticated dining, it's hard to beat white or cream china -- it's elegantly understated and goes with everything. To recreate this table, layer the tableware at each place (a stack of plates will instantly give a more formal look to the table), then supply glasses for the drinks you are serving (up to a maximum of three).
Texture If a decorative scheme is plain and pale, it's a good idea to add some visual texture in other ways. Here, a length of embossed wallpaper has been used as a table runner to introduce subtle pattern to the tabletop. Additional details, such as the moire-effect napkins and the fine flocked paper placed on each plate, further develop the multi-textured look.
Colour Colour accents assume more importance in a neutral scheme -- they're needed to prevent it becoming bland. Don't pick vivid shades that create too much contrast. Instead, choose two subtle complementary shades (soft pink and green, for example) and repeat these two tones in the tabletop details: the flowers, napkin rings and place cards.
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Excerpted from Table Style by Liz Belton & Rebecca Tanqueray, photography by Debi Treloar. Copyright 2010 by Ryland Peters and Small. Excerpted with permission by Ryland Peters and Small. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.