Setting a table for a romantic dinner for two, or a dinner party, doesn’t have to cost a bundle. And it’s so easy there’s really no excuse not to have a centerpiece of some kind. You don’t need fancy plates or silverware to set a striking table either, just a little bit of creativity. You can incorporate any one of these ideas or even a few together, but try to keep things simple:
- Flowers: This is the old standby — a classic — that everyone still seems to appreciate. Make sure your vase is low so your guests can easily see each other. If you don’t have the money for a full arrangement, you can purchase a single rose in a cool bud vase or just spread out the petals on your table.
- Candles: Just a single chunky pillar type candle in the center of your table is enough. Floating candles in a bowl of water is also unique. I recommend non-scented candles for a table, as a scented one can compete with the aromas of your meal, or offend the noses of your guests who will likely be sitting quite close to it.
- Fun with Napkins: Cloth napkins are not at all expensive, but lend a real elegance to a table. You know you’ve officially grown up when you have these at a dinner party. Learning how to fold a napkin is a simple way to lend a cool, elegant look to your table, or you can simply roll your napkin and tie a few inches of ribbon around it in a bow.
- Nature’s Bounty: Table décor can be absolutely free — every year I head to the park and bring pinecones home. I fill a bowl with them and put them on the table. I’ve also used a vase of twigs with some colorful leaves yanked straight from the yard with great effect.
- Colorful Tablecloth: Fabric tablecloths can be purchased for under $10 these days at a discount shop, and they automatically lend a look of sophistication. Be sure to iron it when you yank it out of the package — there’s nothing cheesier than fold lines! When the guests are gone, just throw it in the washing machine and you’re done.
- Repurpose Ornaments: A few holiday ornaments surrounding tapers will bring some sparkle to the table in a jiffy.
- Gift: For a real surprise, put an inexpensive gift (party favor) at each place setting. During the holidays, I’ve done a Christmas ornament tied with a ribbon that each guest can then hang on their tree. You could do a small box of chocolates, a fortune cookie or even a little plant that someone can take home and love.
Quick Table Setting Tip: If you’ve got no idea whether the knife goes on the left or right of the dish, check here for some helpful advice.
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