5 Ways To Upgrade Your Tablescape For Summer

As our diaries fill with social events and warm-weather soirées, we ask six designers of stylish tableware to serve their tips and tricks for creating an elevated tablescape – from layering prints with kaleidoscopic glassware to giving your floral displays a contemporary spin

Vanderohe Curio’s Olivia Thorpe enjoys layering color and textures – glass, foliage, velvet – for a table that feels characterful and considered

Layer and mix color

“I like to make all the elements of a place setting sing by layering colors and detail,” says Olivia Thorpe, founder of Vanderohe Curio. “Choose place mats with pretty borders, match the napkin, and mix up colored plates and glasses. We are obsessed with color and trying out new combinations – it’s surprising for your guests to see different plates matched with different-colored cups, for example. Always add flowers, too; for something simple, choose small bunches of garden-picked flowers in jam jars or, alternatively, I love to use lily of the valley with all their roots to create a talking point.”

Nour al Nimer, founder of Nimerology, agrees it’s fun to shake things up. “A playful idea would be to stack charger plates in addition to creatively folded napkins; play around with printed tablecloths or embroidered place mats and napkins, too, and mix things up – not everything needs to match perfectly. Also, dare to be different with your color choices: you don’t have to stick to the ‘season’s colors’. I always like to present the unexpected.”

Focus on balance

Lucia Caponi, creative director of Loretta Caponi, prioritizes a balanced effect, ensuring that the plates she chooses “echo the embroidery on the place mats or tablecloth, so that no one aspect prevails over the other, which creates a welcoming visual impact. For example, if I’ve selected an embroidery design in shades of green, I use plates with green decorations. Or, if I’m using an embroidered tablecloth that has lots of different colors, I like to create balance by going for a white plate with gold edging.”

Florentine label Loretta Caponi delivers beautifully embroidered tablecloths and coordinating tableware for sophisticated dining
Lucia Caponi likes her plates to echo the design of the place mats to create a balanced, welcoming visual impact

Display sharing centerpieces

“I like to display beautiful objects down the center of the table that are filled with nuts and fruit for guests to pick from – this creates a nice informality, as well as a social connection,” says Elad Yifrach, creative director of L’Objet. “I like a Lazy Susan on the table, too, which encourages guests to interact with each other, as well as the food.”

Caponi favors decorative elements that add to “an elegance that’s welcoming and intimate, which creates something special without being intimidating for guests. When decorating, I am drawn to small objects rather than large centerpieces – and colored crystal candlesticks rather than silver ones, which can sometimes feel too formal. In my home, there is never a tablescape without a stand plate that has seasonal produce on top – I also like to mix antique-silver fruit with real fruit.

For Nour al Nimer, a tablescape should be pretty, playful and showcase fun, floral plates, while Elad Yifrach prefers to curate striking, sculptural centerpieces to create a talking point

Keep it simple

“I try to add elegant formalities to the table to make it celebratory but inviting,” shares Yifrach. “Candlelight is a must for me – there’s nothing warmer or more beautiful than a table filled with candles. When it comes to flowers, it’s important to have a nice balance that enhances but doesn’t overwhelm the table – I use bud vases a lot, and sometimes I like to just have foliage instead.”

Al Nimer also avoids overpowering the table. “The main idea of tablescaping is to keep it simple; there’s no need to clutter the table with things your guests won’t be using,” she says. “Use unscented candles to avoid a clash with the smell and flavor of the food, and choose flowers that don’t take up too much volume. Having said that, greenery on the table is a must for me. Instead of flowers standing straight up in a vase, blocking the person in front of you, try laying them flat in a beautiful dish or bowl. Floral arrangements do not need to be over the top.”

Add personal touches

“I like to leave small mementos and ‘takeaways’ for my guests that can be useful throughout the evening,” says al Nimer. “A place card for everyone’s name to personalize the experience and create a sense of intimacy is also important. And printed menus pique guests’ interest about the food that will be served.”

For Bernadette and Charlotte de Geyte of the Belgian label Bernadette, paying attention to “every little detail” creates the most magnificently curated tablescape. “We always like picking fresh flowers from the garden because they look beautiful and different. It’s that attention to the little details that catches the eyes of your guests.”

Flora-adorned tableware is a signature Bernadette design – and ideal for hosting a summer supper party