Set the Mood: Table Designs for Your Next Dinner Party

With summer in full swing, neighbors have reappeared, sidewalks are again busy with foot traffic, and more invitations are piling up on the counter for get-togethers and events. It’s time to make the most of the season of celebration while it lasts.

Dinner parties are the ideal venue to catch up with all of your friends and loved ones. To inspire your next intimate gathering, we assembled two teams of professionals to create table designs for a memorable occasion.

DINING A LA PROVENCALE

Photography by Jessica Feiden (including above photo)

Featured:

La Petite Maison
142 North St.
781-741-8393

Winston Flowers
8 Main St.
800-457-4901

Square Cafe
150 North St.
781-740-4060

In the summer, the south of France is a popular destination. The rolling green fields and vineyards, blooming and fragrant lavender fields, and warm waters of the Mediterranean coast are the greatest selling points. “Every day is a different market day in the villages and cities throughout Provence where you can buy local produce like melon, olives and tomatoes as well as local specialties like lavender, soaps and Provençale pottery,” says Nanette Walsh, owner of La Petite Maison.

Using items from her downtown Hingham store, flowers arranged by Winston Flowers and dishes by Square Cafe, Walsh put together a table design based on a summer meal in Provence. “I wanted to show the bright summer colors from this region of France. Dining en terrasse (on the patio) is very typical in Provence, especially on a warm night with a cool breeze,” she says. “A dinner would include all the fresh products you purchased at your local open-air market. With dinner, you would serve a few chilled bottles of the region’s famous Provençale rosé wine.”

TIPS:

“Your tablecloth is like the stage for your event; this will dictate your color scheme,” says Walsh. She used a tablecloth
by Le Jacquard Français.

Bring in layers of different plates, and mix your colors and patterns. Add colorful napkins and fun napkin rings to really set off the place settings!

Have two sizes of glasses to enjoy your wine and water. Always have a pitcher of water nearby for your thirsty guests.

Dining by candlelight always feels special and adds ambience to your table.


COASTAL WHIMSY

Photography by Annmarie Swift

Featured:
Trellis Home
28 South St.
917-678-5861

Buds
Pop-up shop at Union Point,
26 Memorial Grove Avenue, South Weymouth

Kate’s Table
99 South St.
781-740-4111

Allison Mattison of Trellis Home opened her Hingham store last year, and recently debuted her Pop Up Shop & Design Bar at 28 South Street. Mattison’s interior design varies with each of her client’s distinct personalities, but her signature is to always infuse a space, or table, with color. “My design style is curated eclectic,” she says.

Starting with blue and white pottery pieces and chairs by Florence Broadhurst from Selamat, Mattison created a setting fit for a whimsical summer soirée. “I always start with a color story,” she says. “Then I like to add things you wouldn’t expect like dragons, birds and monkeys and just have fun with it.” The unexpected items she’s added are sure to spark conversation. Kayla Gould of Buds provided the centerpiece of tulips, snapdragons and ranunculus; the wild and vibrant arrangement adds to the whimsical setting. Kate’s Table made the fresh pea crostini with pea tendrils as well as the the gin and tonic gelées with lime zest.

TIPS:

Go round:
They take up more room, but round tables are much better for dinner parties because they create a more intimate setting and make it easier to involve everyone at the table in the conversation.

Add the unexpected:
“Pick out funny cocktail napkins, or accessories for your table or bar cart,” she says. There will always be a story to tell.

Start with one item:
If you tend to get lost when you are arranging your table, start with one important item, and let that dictate the rest of your choices. Whether it’s a bowl or silverware, it will allow you to create a theme around your design.

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