ALEX TALKS . . . DINING TABLES

As we head towards Christmas in July, I have been thinking about fabulous festive get togethers and what makes an indoor dinner party timeless yet at once in vogue. I approach setting a table in the same way I would the design of any room or space – to create a sense of occasion with an emphasis on style, simplicity, detail and quality.

In the Christmas spirit of giving, today I share my top tried-and-trusted design tips when it comes to setting a successful dining table. From lighting to styling, practicality to opulence, I hope you feel inspired to start planning your next gathering. Merry Christmas in July!

I build layers of textures to add warmth or drama to the dining space. For example linen napkins are a definite, and when paired against leather placemats they’re even better! Beautiful china, glassware and metallic cutlery create a feeling of indulgence and luxury.

I build layers of textures to add warmth or drama to the dining space. For example linen napkins are a definite, and when paired against leather placemats they’re even better! Beautiful china, glassware and metallic cutlery create a feeling of indulgence and luxury.

Good lighting is paramount to achieving a balance between ambience and practicality. You want soft lighting, but enough so you can see your guests and the food on offer. This can be achieved by the introduction of candlelight to the table itself or dimmable overhead/nearby lighting. 

Good lighting is paramount to achieving a balance between ambience and practicality. You want soft lighting, but enough so you can see your guests and the food on offer. This can be achieved by the introduction of candlelight to the table itself or dimmable overhead/nearby lighting. 

To me, a successful dining experience engages all the senses, not just sight, smell and taste, so it is through the layering of various materials and finishes that engages the sense of touch, beautifully rounding out the other senses which will already be overloaded by the dining experience.

To me, a successful dining experience engages all the senses, not just sight, smell and taste, so it is through the layering of various materials and finishes that engages the sense of touch, beautifully rounding out the other senses which will already be overloaded by the dining experience.

I love the addition of foliage to any table setting as it not only adds a layer of freshness to the table, but also to our sense of smell and to complement the food on offer. 

I love the addition of foliage to any table setting as it not only adds a layer of freshness to the table, but also to our sense of smell and to complement the food on offer. 

For a more casual setting I take the approach that not everything has to match perfectly. I still love using a mix of textures but am far more adventurous with use of colour and mixing glassware to create a more fun, carefree and relaxed vibe. I would opt for placemats instead of a tablecloth here. 

For a more casual setting I take the approach that not everything has to match perfectly. I still love using a mix of textures but am far more adventurous with use of colour and mixing glassware to create a more fun, carefree and relaxed vibe. I would opt for placemats instead of a tablecloth here. 

For a more formal approach I am quite traditional and can’t go past a freshly pressed, crisp, white tablecloth and matching linen napkins. They instantly add sophistication and an expectation of the occasion at hand. Simple candles of varying heights and sizes adds grandeur and dimension to the event and helps lift and fill a space if the ceilings are high. Fresh flowers are a must! 

For a more formal approach I am quite traditional and can’t go past a freshly pressed, crisp, white tablecloth and matching linen napkins. They instantly add sophistication and an expectation of the occasion at hand.

Simple candles of varying heights and sizes adds grandeur and dimension to the event and helps lift and fill a space if the ceilings are high. Fresh flowers are a must! 

To make your dinner guests feel like VIPs, I love to introduce custom-made place cards or a thoughtfully handwritten note or menu at each place setting.

To make your dinner guests feel like VIPs, I love to introduce custom-made place cards or a thoughtfully handwritten note or menu at each place setting.

Good lighting is paramount to set the mood for the event, however one must achieve the right balance between ambience and practicality. Layers of lighting are important. We love low lighting but you must be able to see what is on your plate! We love a dimmable overhead pendant, candles or nearby lamps which offer manual directional lighting.

Good lighting is paramount to set the mood for the event, however one must achieve the right balance between ambience and practicality. Layers of lighting are important. We love low lighting but you must be able to see what is on your plate! We love a dimmable overhead pendant, candles or nearby lamps which offer manual directional lighting.

To make it a feast to remember, be generous in both scale and quantity, with food, drinks, flowers and conversation!

To make it a feast to remember, be generous in both scale and quantity, with food, drinks, flowers and conversation!

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