Table Settings

All that effort in the kitchen will look even better if you make a similar effort with your table settings. Food tastes so much better if the surroundings are appealing and authentic. Presentation and atmosphere are key.

For brunch
Dress your table to suit the light food and the clean energy of morning. Think light, bright and cool. Use soothing greens and refreshing lemons. Sparkling sunlight is best showed off with clean, clear glassware. Avoid anything too bold or confrontational. Basic white crockery is so adaptable that you can use it to create almost any mood. It's perfect for a light breakfast or brunch.

For afternoon tea
Recreate the atmosphere and decadence of teas at the Ritz – scones with jam & cream, dainty sandwiches and tasty treats. We don't all own a fantastic selection of silverware, but it's amazing how cheaply you can pick up some of these accessories from antique stores. If you don't own a tea-set, raid your mother or grandmother's cupboard. Perfect for a girly get-together and a catch up on the gossip.

For dinner
The best dinner tables are the ones that make people want to eat and relax. Go for warm, rich, intense colours with soft lighting. You can still use your basic white crockery, but add some colourful napkins and placemats. Get a few accessories together to create a theme like some Asian bowls, chopsticks and condiments. They're cheap but they give your table a totally different flavour – and encourage your guests to stay for hours!

Things to consider

  • Put thought into the look of a table – it does make a difference.
  • A simple white dining setting is like the little black dress. You can dress it up or down depending on the food and the occasion.
  • The supermarket is a great place for accessories.
  • Use accessories to vary the look of your table, in particular placemats, napkins, runners, candles and trinkets.
  • Dress your table according to season, time of day, the occasion or the food you are preparing.
  • Look around your kitchen cupboards for dressing ideas. Fruit, vegetables, herbs, noodles or interesting jars and bottles can all make attractive accessories.
  • Make sure you don't have a centre display that blocks one guest's view of another.
  • Use flowers and leaves to add interest – cooler colours for light meals and rich, velvety colours and texture for warmth in the winter months.
  • There's plenty of cheap options – bright, bold colours for a kid's party, shells for seafood, a country look for some homemade tea and cake, gold for a special dinner, or Indian spices and banana leaves for a curry.

Equipment and Suppliers
Country Road Homewares

The Sydney Antique Centre
531 South Dowling Street
Surry Hills NSW
Ph: (02) 9361 3244

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