The art and craft of decorating a dining table.
Dining table displays during meals have either to be very low (so that the guests can see one another over the top), or suspended above the heads of the diners.. leaving the table’s surface free for dishes, flatware, serving plates etc.
Dining table displays between meals can be taller and more exuberant – landscapes that occupy as much of the table’s surface area as you want… but be careful that your vases and pots don’t leak or seep moisture onto the table’s surface.. or you are likely to permanently damage the finish or surface of the table.
Dining table displays during holidays are most fun. It’s a wonderful excuse to go overboard – decorating the table, the chairs and hanging fabulous constellations of lights, candles flowers and leaves above the table.
Determining what is suitable for your particular dining table and your special event – is in part to do with the shape of your dining table.
Long rectangular dining tables, and particularly rectangular extension tables – have to be low, almost flat, and must take up very little space. The best of them are like little streams of visual interest flowing like a rivulet down the length of the table.
Working with, and around plates, glasses and serving areas – little clusters of pebbles, flowers, tea lights, bunches of leaves and berries, work well. I’ve also seen little eddies of polished rose quartz, miniature bouquets of small flowers – flowers strung together in lays – like the Indian traditional orange marigold, tropical splash of bright hibiscus or even orchids.
Square and round dining tables have a little more space to explore the full creative potential of dining table displays. Your decorations can be a little taller, (although not by much), and rather than being limited to a rivulet format, they can be more varied in shape. Think perhaps about matching the display theme to the meal’s culinary theme… a sushi night might be paired with a good sake and displayed amid a miniature Japanese garden; A paella diner might be served up with a great Rioja and a floral display woven between Spanish fans. Consider using big slabs of stone or pieces of driftwood (remember to protect the table or table cloth from rough edges and condensation) – build little landscapes with florist’s moss and air plants.
Model building supply stores and craft stores can be an Aladdin’s cave for such projects. I’ve also found that IKEA make good cheap candelabras that can be used as a base or armature for hanging displays… actually we used one of their wired for light chandelier fittings. . and just took out the wires – but you might choose to leave them in.
Whether your dining table is round, square or rectangular, one question you may ask yourself is – should I use a tablecloth? The tablecloth is a great way of creating atmosphere. Unless your theme is very modern or Asian – I would suggest finding the perfect tablecloth that goes with your display. No need to limit yourself to actual table cloth either… Depending you the table shape and size you might consider sari material, curtain material or even – in a medieval style – a tapestry There are no rules about what a tablecloth should look like – so be creative… Your only true limitation is the width of the fabric relative to the width of your table… although you might be able to sew two or even three lengths of fabric together along their longest edge to produce a luxurious floor length table cloth.