Making the dining table the focus of gatherings this weekend is an opportunity to experiment with fresh new styling looks and to utilise tablewares in a variety of new ways, writes Carol O’Callaghan
EASTER entertaining is a lightweight version of Christmas, or, at least, it ought to be. Even the colour yellow which we associate with the lovely long weekend is airy with all the promise of summer just ahead. We hope.
For seriously stress-free entertaining, a well-laid table takes the pressure off hosts trying to negotiate around pots and pans and the complexities of previously untested recipes.
While chaos might reign in the kitchen, peace, calm and organisation can prevail around the table, and the beauty of it all is, lay it the night before or get all your things together so there’s one less job to do on the day.
Keep the catering simple and present it in your best bowls and serving platters, and lay your table for Saturday brunch or Sunday lunch for impact.
But just because you want something more relaxed rather than the strict rules of pairing white wine with fish and meat with red, and lining up multiple glasses, doesn’t mean resorting to paper napkins and lower standards. Instead, it brings an opportunity to be inventive and inject fun by considering previously unthought of themes.
Nicole Reid of home interior boutique Interiosity offers 10 top tips for a novel table layout:
Fancy an exact plan, something to replicate and create a wow? Ikea has a little-known section on its website with step by step instructions on how to achieve an eye-catching tabletop finish using books as a novel styling tool.
It’s one worthy of any book club gathering or something to provoke conversation among non-bookworms round the table (www.ikea.com/gb/en/ideas/how-to-set-the-table-by-the-book-1364357906642).
Meadows & Byrne offers another option on its website, including an approach to a formal dining look.
Bear in mind formal tends to be less than child-friendly, but this approach takes the stuffiness out of formality, paring down on the multitude of cutlery and courses while emphasising the need for perfectly ironed napery and polished-up cutlery for a successful finish (blog.meadowsandbyrne.com/2018/09/meadows-and-byrne-table-setting-guide).
When it comes to no-nonsense practicality it’s hard to beat the Good Housekeeping Institute.
Check out its link with options for a formal look worthy of a state banquet, or a slightly more casual offering but one which still means crawling into the cupboard for rarely used equipment.
If you’re still intimidated by the exacting instructions, scroll down to their colourful photos of some fun alternatives including the Modernise Heirlooms look which encourages using Granny’s china and accessorising it with gingham and striped accents in napery (www.goodhousekeeping.com/home/decorating-ideas/a25460707/how-to-set-table).
Take a look at Pinterest too so all options are considered. Over 500 ideas are laid out to suit all tastes and plenty of suggestions on how to use what you have without investing in new items, especially if spring colours are not always to your taste (www.pinterest.ie/Matouk/setting-the-table).