Create a fabulous spread with these four low-fuss ideas that look five-star.
Simply Set for a Fancy Party
Credit: Jean Allsopp / Styling Alan Henderson

Let's say you've spent the better part of a day making the most marvelous meal. Now all you need to complete the picture is a standout table setting. After all, the best dinner parties are all about presentation.

1. Pick a Color, Any Color
For a table that makes a statement, set it with a single color. We chose cream-colored linens and candles and white calla lilies. Rectangles cut from heavy-stock paper and placed under the plates add flourish. You could also deck out your spread using shades of red, green, or purple.

2. No-Fuss Napkin Trick
This easy design is one of our favorites: Lay a napkin on a flat surface, and fold it back and forth in an accordion pattern until the entire napkin is one strip. Start at one end, and roll up the fabric halfway down the length of the strip. Place it on a plate so the pleats fan out around the swirl.

3. Simple Centerpieces

Generally speaking, the larger the flower bloom, the less of them you need to make a great arrangement. We placed a few calla lilies in a tall glass vase and called it a day. Another hint: Stagger the height of your displays. If you use tall flowers, use shorter candles and vice versa.

4. Fine Dining Menu
There's something so chic about having a menu at your party table. For this setting, we printed a menu from a color printer and glued construction paper to the back of it to make it thicker. Next, we made a stand by gluing the menu between two corks.

More Ways to Glam Up Your Table

  • Purchase extra-wide ribbon with an intricate pattern at a crafts store. Cut long pieces to run along your table, and place plates, silverware, and wineglasses on top of the ribbon.
  • For a dazzling centerpiece, fill a tiered tray with tea lights.
  • Find glass-bead bracelets at a flea market or second-hand jewelry shop to use as napkin rings.
  • Spread a cotton cloth on a table; sprinkle flower petals on top. Lay swaths of organza or tulle over the entire table.

"Glam Up Your Table for a Party" is from the December 2005 issue of Southern Living.