Creating the right ambience for a meal is easier than you think. Don’t spoil the chance of a perfect lunch or evening get together by skipping on the details of your dining space. After all, if you’ve spent time toiling in the kitchen over a hot stove, you want to present your food in the right way, to be enjoyed by your friends and family.
Some of us have dedicated dining rooms, whereas others have bar stools and a breakfast bar. No matter what space you have available, you can make it look beautiful to enjoy your meals with these simple tips:
1. Colour scheme
Take a look at the colour scheme of your room and create place settings to match. For example, if you have a neutral space in whites/greys, then sprigs of lavender on a linen napkin can look stunning set on plain white crockery. You can create centre pieces with fresh or faux flowers or even purchase fabric to make your own napkins to tie in with your scheme.
Do your plates need a bit of an overhaul? Cracked or missing pieces are annoying and don’t look decadent. Yet a simple set of white or black plates can look really stylish, especially if they are an unusual shape. Look out for rectangular or square dishes which make a welcome change from round ones. You don’t have to spend a fortune on new sets but purchase the best you can – a nicely shaped and weighted plate will wash and display well. If you have more of a cottage-style home then floral or delicately patterned crockery can be in keeping with your style in which case you want to keep the rest of your table dressing simple so as not to appear too cluttered. Having said that, some people really enjoy the vintage vibe that goes with mis-matched crockery and this can be reminiscent of the 1940’s with exquisitely shaped cups and saucers, scalloped plates and painted china. Much of this can be sourced from charity shops and is very en vogue, especially as you’re not purchasing from new.
Sitting comfortably for a meal, especially if it is likely to last for a little while, is really important to allow your guests to properly settle in and enjoy your food. You may not have expensive dining chairs but these can be made cosier by adding cushions or bolsters. If you have bench-style seating consider adding blankets or rugs for a stylish, yet comfortable effect.
Creating the right mood for your meal is crucial and can be achieved easily depending on what time of day you are entertaining. Lunch gatherings are best with natural light so wherever possible open the blinds and curtains wide to let the sun shine in. You can add a magical theme of fairy lights over the table for both day and evening settings which make for a safer (and sometimes less toxic) alternative to candles. If you like a bit of flickering light then try to pick a non-scented candle so it doesn’t detract from the taste of your food. Candles in the top of wine bottles are rustic whereas pillar candles in storm lanterns can give off a good, but gentle glow.
Lastly, welcoming your guests at the door with a hug and a smile is always a good start to an excellent food experience and if all else fails, a fabulous bottle of wine should be enough to keep the conversation running smoothly!