Set a Pretty Table

Tina Cornett / Styling: Cindy Manning Barr
These easy ideas will dress up your dining room with color and pizzazz.

A festive table reveals your personality. There's a basic guide to follow for setting it properly, but creativity is the part of entertaining that brings the theme together. Bounce ideas off of friends; you'll be surprised how others' talents can inspire you.

Here are some ideas to jump-start your spring table decor.

  • For a place card and guest gift in one, set decorated corrugated boxes on plates. Add a treat to each box, and place a name tag on top.
  • When preparing for a themed dinner, pour candies in tall glasses, and push fish-pick fans with guests' names on them into the sweets for whimsical place cards.
  •  Small potted plants in soup bowls are pretty decorations and welcome gifts.
  • To create a dramatic and colorful centerpiece, place yellow tulips in a simple vase, and anchor the blooms with lime slices. If you have a long table, arrange a few of these down the center.
  • Informal get-togethers call for a fun look. Fill a fluted bowl with jelly beans, ‘Kermit' mums, and a pillar candle for a simple table decoration. Or add water to a stemmed glass, and float votives and small blooms for a quick and easy centerpiece.

Everything In Its Place
A correct table setting includes a salad plate, bread plate, and forks on the left; glasses, a knife, and teaspoon go on the right.

  • A bread-and-butter plate is necessary only if you're serving those items.
  • Include a separate salad plate if your menu features dishes with a sauce.
  • The water goblet is placed above the knife and to the right of the plate. Other glasses can be clustered or set in a straight row that slants downward from the goblet.

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