What better way to celebrate the season than with an outdoor gathering. At our farmhouse in Upstate New York, I don't like to fuss with much when it comes to dining al fresco, instead I'd rather keep things simple and elegant, starting with the table setting. Lately, I've been inspired to draw on monochromatic tones and play with textures. So for the second installment in my new series, "How I Do Dat", I'm creating a monochromatic tablescape to show you how easy it is and elegant it looks.
It's so lush and green here that it's easy to let that be the focus and make your tablescape more demure and tonal. When thinking along those lines, a good starting point is the material of the table. Is your table wood? Are you planning on having a tablecloth? Once you have this figured out, that element can inform the tones to use for plates, napkins, candles and any floral elements. It's a fun challenge for me once I commit to a theme, to then go around the house gathering what I need to set the table.
For this dinner, I chose our outdoor table which has a marble top. With all the grays in the marble, I decided to use my gunmetal handmade plates and by bringing them outside, it instantly elevates the table so I can be more casual with other elements. If you have a beautiful wood or marble table, show it off rather than covering it with a tablecloth. Natural materials like wood and marble add great texture when contrasted with smooth plates and glassware. To add the soft touch element under your place settings, I like to use these heavy linen placemats... they're my absolute favorite, especially in this deep anthracite color. You get the best of both worlds... the table material shows through while still giving you a lux feel under your plate.
Now's the fun part – putting it all together!
Then comes the layering, starting with the dinner plate, the pasta bowl on top (it makes a great shallow plate for serving salads, or really anything), a salad plate on the right of each place setting, and a few small bowls spread throughout for sauces and other condiments. Next, I place the vintage silver cutlery and at this point the structure of my table feels together, so I finish by adding in two antique brass candlesticks, hand-printed natural linen napkins, and a few sizes of clear glassware for water and wine.
When working with monochromatic tones, I think it's important to use a variety of textures to add dimension. Even though my dishware and placemats are similar in color, the smooth texture of the plates and bowls creates a nice contrast against the textured placemats. I used this same technique when adding the etched glassware and brass candlesticks into the mix. To tie it all together, I added these beautiful serving bowls at each end of the table and sprinkled these dainty flower arrangements throughout.
A tablescape isn't complete without a floral or plant arrangement – it really helps bring everything to life and tie back to the nature around you. For this table setting, I didn't want the flowers to take away from the monochromatic color story, so I foraged for some Queen Anne's Lace for its neutral color and delicate design, which contrasts well with the chunkier elements. This wildflower herb grows in abundance around our farm, so it's easy to find. When it came to choosing vases, I went with these in a variety of heights. I like how lightweight they are and the shape is very understated. I use these vases all over the house... they're the perfect size for side tables, bathroom vanities and window ledges.
My floral arrangement style is pretty casual, making it easy to do in a pinch. Check out this video to see my simple technique...
I hope this how-to inspires you to create your very own themed tablescape and have fun exploring textures. I would love to see what you come up with, so post a photo on Instagram and tag @dianiboutique or email me photos directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sending lots of love,