One of the key motivations behind my business Table + Cloth was (and still is) that entertaining shouldn’t feel like effort. In our busy lives we cancel or postpone too easily because we can’t deal with another “task”. But having people over to your house is an essential part of building a community. Modern society needs to build communities again. Old friends, new friends and family are vitally important in our lives, marriages and raising children.
When I discovered that effortless and simplicity go hand in hand, I was not surprised. Entertaining doesn’t have to be associated with indulgence and spending money. You can’t go wrong with a table setting that has your personal touch and hearty food. I have never been a fan of over-the-top table settings, and hopefully I can convince you that keeping it simple and thoughtful is the way to go.
Go to Garden
We are so spoiled in South Africa with beautiful gardens at our disposal and yet we don’t always use it. I guarantee that endless styling options will emerge from your garden and it doesn’t even have to be flowers. Whether on the napkin, plate or somewhere random on the table, greenery can change any table setting for the better. I literally use anything I can lay my hands on in the garden and save loads of money along the way! Notice how I used greenery in the other pictures throughout this post!
Improvise, improvise, improvise
Using what you have can make for a very thoughtful setting. I love using random ornaments in my house as table decor. Bear in mind, the table setting has to reflect your personality and personal touch so don’t copy Pinterest down to the last detail. You don’t have to have sets of everything and it definitely doesn’t have to match in colour. White plates with a variety of side plates and glasses can work beautifully. Also, don’t be scared to throw in a few mismatched antique side plates!
It’s okay NOT to cover the whole table with a cloth. For more informal settings, I love using big napkins as placemat + napkin combos. Place a decent sized napkin (50cm x 50cm) like a placemat, but allow it to hang over the table’s edge, using the part that hangs as the napkin. If you have pretty dish towels, they also make for great placemat and napkin combos!
A crowded table setting is not desired. I always abide by the less is more principle. If your guests feel super comfy at the table, it will guarantee hours of banter, laughter and, by default, lots of wine. In my opinion the “less” look is always more stylish and compliments beautiful fresh produce and healthy yet delicious meals. I love the understated look of these two settings.
“The benefits of owning less are far greater than a clean home. They also include focus, freedom, peace and more passion for life.”
I know I can do with more focus and peace in my life. We should not confuse simplicity with making no effort. I am simply saying be more with less.
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