Great table settings from Pinterest


Some of my best memories have been made as I sat with family and friends at long tables for unhurried meals accompanied by sharing of news, much banter and philosophical arguments aimed at setting the world to rights. Although as cooks we always worry about the quality of the food we dish up, it’s the love and laughter that lingers long after the last of the many dishes have been washed.

That said, I have found that a beautifully laid table goes a long way towards creating a good atmosphere for a big gathering. Whether you opt for formal or playful and quirky, you’re setting the tone for an interesting time. Here are my 5 things of Pinterest this week.

1. The perfect backdrop

(Picture left originally pinned from; picture right from

Dress it up with tall, elegant candles in silver candlesticks and crystal glasses. Or dress it down with a rustic wooden plank as your centrepiece. Either way your food will look delicious against the simple elegance of white. I love the cloth napkins – they add a “proper” feel to a meal even if you’re having plain old spag bol.

 2. The big outdoors


(Picture repinned from Lilia Meredith.)

The basics might be a bit higgledy-piggledy – assorted tableware, mismatched chairs and tables placed end to end – but the overall effect has rustic flair. Long, neutral-coloured runners tie in the tables, and the décor is brought together with wooden discs holding groups of candles and evenly spaced bowls of flowers. I could see myself in this scene!

 3. The more, the merrier

 (Picture repinned from G Marie.)

Several ideas used for this table setting appeal to me. The first is the way two dinner services have been mixed with matching plates opposite each other. I also love the disposable table mats – you can buy them in packs from novelty shops or print your own design on A3 paper. Add flowers casually propped up in jars for a bright touch.

4. Simply beautiful

(Picture originally pinned from

This is so pretty and you can adapt it to suit the occasion, your taste and the table shape. You don’t need expensive flowers – blooms or foliage from your garden will be equally attractive.

 5. Down with dishes!

(Picture originally pinned from

Just because you’re having a sit-down meal doesn’t mean you have to wash dishes for days afterwards. When I saw this lovely quirky table décor I thought you could easily substitute disposable tableware for some of the elements. Keep the flower arrangements real and bright and the candlesticks heavy and classy but use some of the many fabulous disposable options available these days. You get everything from plastic cutlery that looks like real silverware to fairly sturdy plates that don’t go soggy when you serve up a moist salad . I also love the idea of using boards for table mats, especially if you’re serving cheese and biscuits afterwards. Just watch out for making the centrepiece so tall that you cut people off from one another.

– Alfie Steyn

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