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How to create an artful table

By Catalogs Editorial Staff

Knowing how to create an artful table involves creativity and practicality

Knowing how to create an artful table involves creativity and practicality

On a daily basis you may not put much, if any, thought into the appearance of your table, where the family gathers (at least occasionally) to eat. However, with the holidays approaching and you in a festive (hopefully) mood, you may want to give more consideration to the appearance of your dining room table. It is, after all, the centerpiece of most holiday parties.

Learning how to set an artful table requires a combination of practicality and creativity. First, you must understand exactly what you need to have on your table – from silverware to serving pieces – in order to deliver your meal to your guests. Then, you need to have the creativity to add artful and decorative personal touches to your table, from the napkin rings to the centerpieces.

Naturally, your family and guests are most interested in the culinary delights you are serving, but you can up the ante by showcasing food on beautiful dinnerware. Your dinner table should become an exquisite palette, upon which you showcase your cooking talents and your selection of fine wines, perfect desserts and family heirlooms.

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Restaurateurs know the importance of presentation. When food is served and eaten in a room featuring mood lighting, beautiful decor, luxe dinner- and stemware, the entire experience is elevated and heightened. This actually makes food taste better.


For instance, a chicken breast served on a greasy white paper plate isn’t going to taste nearly as good as one presented on a colorful, quality, heavy piece of dinnerware. Our brain is tricky that way: It processes information, responds to color, shape, form, lighting and texture, sending a message to our taste buds the food is yummy.

Studies show yogurt eaten with a silver spoon rates higher in taste and is assumed to be pricier than yogurt consumed using a plastic spoon. When you serve soup in a bowl, use a heavy bowl and heavy spoon and this actually makes the person think the soup is better perhaps than it really is. Food is perceived as tastier when eaten off denser plates and with heavier cutlery.

Other secrets to creating an artful table including using round serving dishes, which emphasizes sweetness, and angular plates, which bring out the bitterness in foods such as chocolate.

Keep in mind your dinnerware does not have to match. A mixture of patterns and styles, if done skillfully, is elegant and interesting looking. Feel free to mix vintage and new dinnerware.

Consider the tablecloth. Can it stand alone or should you use a place mat as a layer? Stand back and look at the design. Do you like it? If not switch it around, changing it up until you get it just right. Consider using a table runner, which adds texture, design, pattern and sparkle to the display.

Using cloth rather than paper napkins upgrades the look. Napkins should be placed to the left of the plate.

When setting the table, remember forks go to the left of the plate and the knife and spoon are to the right. Place in order of use, working from the outside in.

Glassware is another consideration. It sits at the top right of the plate. The water glass is in front, the white wine glass is next and the red wine glass comes last.

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