1. Get Moody
First up, don’t just dive straight in! I am a BIG fan of a mood board, mainly because I can start with just one item or colour I love and work outwards from there. Take your time to create a palette, look for images that inspire you online and decide on the kind of atmosphere you want to create: do you want it to be soft, feminine and romantic? Bold, dark and edgy? Or something totally different? Invest your time at the start and it will pay dividends in the end.
2. Make your Mark
In the same breath as advocating online inspiration, it’s also really important to bring your styling back to the most important person: you (or in my case, my client!) When you’re designing your table it’s great to take a look around you and bring in elements you might have a strong personal connection with. Maybe use items that have been made by you or your family, it creates something really unique and makes for a great story!
3. Layer up
My theatrical background taught me the importance of using both height and depth to create a powerful visual outcome, and this is really useful when table-scaping. Starting from your basic laid table, look at where you can add different textures, for example layering table cloths or using tactile materials for your place cards/menus. Add colour where you can, a good rule is to start with three colours and work up (black and white don’t count!) Finally add height with candles, vases, flowers, servingware etc. Play around with them and take a big step back regularly to check you’ve got balance and cohesion across the board.
4. Less is more
Coco Chanel once said ‘before you leave the house, look in the mirror and take one thing off’ and I think this perfectly sums up how to style anything, whether it’s your outfit OR your table. Often, out of excitement, you can ‘over-style’ so I always look for pieces that might actually be making everything a bit too busy.
5. Practical Magic
This is where my inner planner starts giving my inner stylist a talking to, and it’s important you do the same! Whilst laying out your beautiful items, flowers and stationery etc, take a moment to consider how usable the table actually is: are guests going to burn themselves reaching over candles? Where can larger serving dishes go? And how easy will it be to clear without knocking a million things over? Obviously, you want to let your creativity run free, but no one will thank you for having to navigate thirty mini-cacti just to get to the bread basket…
By Kate Hirons