FOOD + DRINK
Remember the opening shot from “Downton Abbey”: a pair of gloved hands carefully measuring every setting’s placement? While few of us have a full complement of
footmen, creating a welcoming table needn’t prove
overwhelming or complicated.
The French, devoted to elegance, call it “les arts de
la table,” which means paying meticulous attention
to setting a beautiful table, from selecting linens and
candles to china, crystal and flatware.
For everyday dining, “white on white is the most
24 inches wide, in linen or cotton, and a luxuriously
practical,” advises Julia Berger, whose 14-year-old
Connecticut-based firm manufactures embroidered
and monogrammed linens. “It’s a universal look, and
it goes with anything.” White napkins, preferably 22 to
large tablecloth, easily dress up the simplest meal.
Hunt them down at thrift and consignment shops, flea
markets and online.
Even simple cloth napkins can be monogrammed,
adding a personal touch. And pay attention to size
and quality. “It’s important that the napkin feels good,
regardless of price,” Berger says. “A good linen will
age and become even more luscious and buttery. It can
last an entire lifetime.”
Interior designer Bunny Williams — who recently
introduced a line of tableware for Ballard Designs —
often uses bright hues in her table settings, tossing a
colored or patterned Indian bedspread over a table. A
printed cloth also makes spills less obvious. She finds
OF THE TABLE
From quiet dinners for two to big, boisterous
parties, here’s how to create an eye-catching
and memorable presentation.
BY CAITLIN KELLY