On Entertaining

When outfitting a beautifully designed room for a meal or a gathering, it’s so important to decorate the table, too. Choice of dishes, centerpieces, linens, and lighting will all set the mood for the event and should complement the design of the room. I like to make selections that fit with the occasion, the setting, and the time of year.
This weekend, my husband and I took part in a “progressive dinner.” A large group of us started out at one home, for drinks and appetizers. We hosted the entrée portion of the meal at our home, before all the diners headed on for dessert at another.
Since my kitchen renovation, my dining room has become more widely used for both formal and informal meals. To make it appropriate for both, I replaced the formal silk window treatments with informal large-scale cotton panels. The room has neutral bones but is colorful in its accents – including the wool rug and bright modern paintings – which provides lots of flexibility in setting the table using a variety of colors, textures, and objects.

Dining Room

For this dinner, which took place on a warm March Long Island evening, I chose to capitalize on the feeling of spring!
Fresh yellow tulips at the local store were so inviting; I used cobalt juice glasses to arrange a colorful row of them down the mahogany table.

Tulips in Cobalt Glasses 
To anchor the table, I filled a large blue and white bowl full of fresh lemons – some sliced to add texture and fragrance.

Fresh Lemon Centerpiece 
Instead of a tablecloth, I placed dried boxwood placemats – a recent addition to my collection of accessories – at each setting, which further incorporated the fresh “earth” at the table.

Boxwood Placemat, Detail
As in my interiors, I always try to achieve a balance when setting the table. One way I achieve this is by juxtaposing modern and traditional elements. My sterling silver “dresses up” the table but still works with the modern napkin design and the funky Jonathan Adler salt and pepper shakers.

Traditional Silver
Jonathan Adler Salt and Pepper
I also juxtapose neutrals and bold, saturated colors. I paired my white Wedgewood china with colorful salad plates, tying together the fresh greens, cobalt blues, and lemon yellows of the color scheme. This room can handle a lot of color!

Place Setting
Apple candles and tea lights at each place setting provide just enough ambiance for a casual, yet special, dinner with friends.

Set Table

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