When I found out I was hosting Easter this year, my first thoughts went to how I was going to design the table, not the menu. I know- so backwards for most people. While I love all aspects of hosting, the tablescape is definitely my favorite part. And though the most important part of hosting is enjoying your company, I do think a pretty table adds to the experience. I have found that people generally have one of two attitudes towards a beautiful table- the first is one of "oohs and ahh" and excitement to be a part of a special dinner, and the second is a roll of the eyes with a "who are you trying to impress" or a "too much work" sort of attitude. After some time feeling the need to apologize to the latter group for my love of beautiful design (including a pretty dinner table), I have come to embrace it. This is who I am, without trying to impress people, I just really love pretty dinners and it's my way of showing my guests how much I care for them. I also realize that designing a pretty table can be really intimidating for most people, so I thought I would break it down to the basics and dispel the rumor that a pretty table has to be an expensive one:
1. White tablecloth. I think everyone should have at least one white tablecloth. I have a linen one (old from ikea) that I love and use again and again. Here's one for $12.
2. Greens and/or flowers. Trader Joes is your best friend if you have one near you, they have beautiful/cheap options. If you are on a tight budget, I would opt for greens over flowers......they make such a big impact, and you can use them in the place settings (like the picture above), as a centerpiece, or even draped around a chandelier/lighting. Most florists (even grocery florists) have them on hand even if they aren't displayed- just ask!
3. Something shiny. I prefer gold or brass candlesticks, but this could be vases, napkin rings, or chargers. Thrift stores or flea markets are a great place to find unique items for less, but etsy is also a great option. These are pretty. This past Christmas, I even spray painted a glass bottle gold- just get creative!
4. Versatile glasses. I personally think that stemless wineglasses are perfect. You can use them for wine or not, and they are simple enough for everyday use.
5. Cloth napkins. Ok, these can get pricey-but they don't have to! This is a cheap option, and I have these and use them often. If you are using a white tablecloth, different colored napkins are a good idea. I used my Ikea dishtowels for Thanksgiving this past year and they looked pretty. H&M Home has a great selection of table linens at an affordable price. Another idea for napkins, is to mix and match and accumulate a collection over time (see my collection below). Napkins can be styled a number of different ways- rolled up on the plate with a pretty ribbon or ring, folded under the plate, folded next to the plate, or made into a pretty shape on top of the plate. If it's stressing you out- choose something simple.
* I have white dishes and I do think their simplicity makes it easy to play around with many different tablescapes, but they aren't a necessity.