Serving up Sophistication

· Interior Design

Entertaining Guests

How To Impress

Entertaining guests at home requires special effort. It could be a lavish dinner party for 10 or an intimate afternoon tea for two. Part of the preparation is setting the table right with stylish tableware, flatware and stemware.

There are no hard and fast rules, but having the right plates, cutlery and drinking vessels to go with the food you are serving is essential. Dressing up your table with chic accessories will certainly please the eye, too. Here is a checklist for the ideal table setting:

1. Tableware

Whether it is an elegant fine bone china or a dining set that you have inherited from your grandmother, using the right plates, bowls and serving platters is critical. Of course, it also depends on the type of cuisine you are serving. Nowadays, it is not uncommon to mix and match tableware. So, it is alright to have your Wedgwood pieces sit alongside the ones you recently picked up from Ikea, for instance.

2. Flatware

Stainless steel flatware is practical, and the ranges available are endless. Choose those that look well-finished and are heavy to the touch for that high-end dining feel. If you are lucky enough to have a set of silver-plated or sterling silver cutlery, use them for a special birthday party or wedding reception. Just remember to polish and store them in special anti-tarnish sleeves before packing them away.

3. Stemware

Make your selection to match the type of dinner party you are hosting. Full lead crystal glasses are perfect for a formal evening, while chunky glasses and tumblers made from recycled glass are suitable for a casual Sunday brunch. Just make sure you have the appropriate glasses for champagne, wine, juice or water.

4. Placemats

It is always nice to have placemats for every guest seated at the table. Here is where you have the creative licence to add texture and colour to the table. The choice of placemats is varied. Some are made from natural fibres, such as cotton or linen that wash easily, while others are easy to wipe clean after each meal.

5. Table cloth

A table cloth can help set the mood at the table. A classic pale all-white piece with scalloped and embroidered edges looks right for a candlelit dinner, while a bright and colourful batik creation sets the tone for a lively tropical poolside barbeque. Notably, many modern homes in Asia have dispensed with the use of table cloths and prefer to use a runner along the centre of the table.

6. Flowers and more

One easy way to add freshness and style to the table is fresh flowers. Single flower clusters lend a modern touch, while a mix of four or more flower varieties arranged in a low vase speaks country sophistication. Sometimes, a fresh leafy branch or nicely shaped twigs arranged in a tall clear vase is all you need. A big bowl of lemons or colourful tropical fruits will also do the trick.

Use your imagination to create a table setting that reflects your personality. Now, all you have to do is send out the invitations!


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