I love breaking bread with friends, and at my home during the holidays, even better. But hosting at your home can be stressful, l like to call it the hustle bustle. The definition of hustle bustle is energetic confusion, which I think perfectly captures how many hosts feel when entertaining at home.
It is all about details, the guest list, appetizers, main course, cocktails, safe travel arrangements, music, oh right and do not forget the table setting! Here are my top tips for styling a table that will be the crown jewel in your party planning season. No hustling or bustling required.
1. Find an Inspiration
Simple inspiration like a colour, pattern or element (wood or metal) is the best starting point for building a cohesive design. I always keep my eyes open for an object, picture or idea that I feel inspired by and begin to make my decisions around that inspiration. I will often snap photos of displays, rip pages from magazines and pull swatches of material so that I can group them together visually. This is a great way to sharpen your eye for design.
2. Make a Game Plan
My mom always said – “measure twice cut once”. Getting organized well in advance may attract the occasional teasing , but it will ultimately pay off in the long run and make you a super star. Whether it is a floor plan for your table or just a simple list of items, putting some time into planning will make the process enjoyable. Ideas like rolling cutlery into napkins and tying with ribbon are great additions to your design and best done ahead of time. I usually make a list of tasks starting at the end (i.e. when turkey goes on the table) and I work back from there. Your list should likely start days or even a week or two before the turkey (magically) appears on the table.
3. Create Variation in your Design
Unless you are doing something ultra modern and minimalist,then variation is the name of the game. Mix it up with different materials (organics, metals, fabrics) and then look at how the sizes of each lends itself to the overall design. Think in composition rather than just filling the space. Artists work toward creating composition that leads the eye around in a soft natural way. So by giving variable heights and clustering items you can create visual interest and depth.
4. Keep it Simple
Less is more when it comes to spacial design. And a cluttered table is only memorable by making it difficult for your guests to feel like there is room for them, let alone the buns. Editing is part of the process. Don’t be afraid to take away that one beloved item that you initially thought would be the perfect fit. If it doesn’t work anymore then try it without. Remember that your table will ultimately be filled with great conversation and loved ones, so be mindful not to crowd that.
5. Enjoy the Process
If having a perfect table is really important to you and you are hard pressed for time, call for back up. Florists and designers do this professionally so consulting an expert can take some pressure off those trips to the mall and grocery store. Plus you can get some great tips and ideas from the people who do it everyday.
Here are some inspiring visuals: