I’ve been taking Pottery Barn‘s monthly decorating classes lately, and had another one today. The price is right (free!) and I always come away with useful information that I can put into practice right away. Today’s topic was table settings for brunch and ideas for celebrating the upcoming Easter/Passover holiday with family and friends.
I love entertaining, whether it be casual or formal, but when it comes to the actual table setting, I am terrible at it. I have been a child of Pottery Barn for many, many years, and saved their catalogs just to get a feel for how they set their tables so beautifully. In recent years, they have published decorating books, which are a great way to learn how they do it all. Once I found out today’s topic was going to cover my Achilles heel, I was in.
Here are a few of the notes that I took:
- They suggested using table runners instead of tablecloths when setting your table. They said that it’s a great way to show off the beauty of your table, be it an antique, something handed down through your family or a new purchase, and it’s an inexpensive way to completely change the look of the table settings for the holidays, the different seasons or just because.
- Speaking of table runners, they also suggested using them across the width of your table, instead of just thinking of them in the traditional way down the center length. By using them across the width of the table, they also become placemat-like as well, because if you put them along the width, going from chair to chair, they’ll be right under the placesettings.
- They love chargers and said it’s an easy way to build up your theme from a solid foundation. For a casual luncheon or brunch, they suggested wicker chargers. I loved them, and was sorely tempted but at $16 a pop, I restrained myself. For a more formal dinner, they opted for these silver ones with a Mother of Pearl rim. (They’re way shinier in person, by the way)
- They suggested using a core white dinner plate for the base of everything. (They used this set in today’s class) It’s simple and classic. Then, to personalize the table for the particular event, they said to use a patterned plate (a layering plate as they called it) for the smaller one set on top of your white plate (see above photo). I loved this idea, and to me, this was worth the class attendance alone. I must have four different sets of plates, but two years ago, I switched to using a bright white dinner plate instead. I found it easier to match with all my table linens and accessories, and I love the idea of using a smaller, patterned layering plate on top of it to change up the white quickly, easily and inexpensively. Genius.