I recently received an Instagram message from a customer in need of tablescape inspiration for a Valentine’s Day dinner for her and 11 of her closest friends. She, like many of us, felt uninspired by the abundance of sparkly red hearts and chubby little cupids floating around this time of year. I totally get it! So of course, we did what we do best – we turned up some of our favorite tunes and got to work designing a solution!
When it comes to setting a Valentine’s table there are many options, audience dependent of course. You can lean into the romance, or you can subtly hint at the holiday with peeks of color and luxe finishes. This particular tablescape falls into the latter category. We approached this challenge with the opinion that for a table of mixed guests at a Valentine’s Day Dinner, your display should invite conversation and inspiration without oozing romance.
Beckon your guests to the table with a colorful floral display. A red gingham bucket with cheery blooms adorns the center in a perfectly-imperfect organic arrangement. This is a lovely time to try your hand at floral arranging (if you so wish)! Fresh flowers are easily accessible this time of year in your local grocery store or floral market and are a great way to add a light, fresh scent to the room. I love pairing soft pinks and whites with green filler and perhaps a few twiggy branches. Peonies, hydrangeas, lilies, spray roses, cherry blossoms, fuzzy lamb’s ear, and willow branches are all delightful options. We went with silk flowers for this display since we have such an abundant collection in the shop, but they can be arranged the same way.
A series of candles march down the table in descending height, giving balance and refinement to the space. The glass candlesticks sure add some sparkle! To ensure that conversations can easily flow between guests, we kept the centerpiece elements at just the right height. Can’t you just picture the conversations and laughter that would pour out of this dining room?
What I love about this design is that it doesn’t shy away from the colors of the season, but highlights them in a way that it doesn’t overpower the eye. There are so many ways to add texture and interest! Adding color using napkins is an inexpensive way to refresh your table for the season. White plates work as a perfect blank slate for your design (for this particular tablescape and beyond). Incorporate color through stacking napkins between the layers like you see here, bring in decorative appetizer plates to sit on top, or slip a charger underneath for formality.
The old Oscar Wilde saying “You can never be overdressed…” doubly applies to setting your table. Now, it’s true that genuine friends are those that would be happy to enjoy your company when your house is a mess and regardless of what your table looks like! But, setting a formal tablescape for a dinner party is a lovely way to honor those friendships. Mary Carol gave me a piece of advice recently, which rings true in this season of love and friendship – find low-maintenance friends and take good care of each other!
This design request was so much fun. I’m so glad our customer reached out with the challenge, and I welcome you to do the same if you feel stumped or in a pickle with your home design!
Dee saysFebruary 4, 2019 at 2:33 pm
I love your table setting, but I kept thinking it was missing something…..how about an apple green tablecloth?
Mary Carol Garrity saysFebruary 4, 2019 at 4:13 pm
Great idea Dee! My only concern was it feeling too “spring” but that would certainly be a lovely combination.
Rose Palchesko saysFebruary 4, 2019 at 2:43 pm
I just love the beautiful pink napkins featured in this month’s story. However, I don’t live near Kansas…Michigan is a little too far away, to go for a shopping outing. Will you consider posting an online catalog, so people like me can order from you? Thanks much!
Katie Laughridge saysFebruary 4, 2019 at 4:12 pm
Rose, we happily ship items across the US! If there is ever an item that you are interested in, you are welcome to call the shop and purchase that way!
M. Bigham saysFebruary 4, 2019 at 3:21 pm
This is just beautiful! I love the informal gingham container with the elegant floral arrangement! Such a beautiful combination. Beautiful place settings, too! Nell Hill’s always inspires me!
Stephanie Jones saysFebruary 4, 2019 at 4:38 pm
I love the box with floral display inside on top of the place setting! Do you sell them?
Janice Feaster saysFebruary 7, 2019 at 10:57 am
Delightful! Loved the gentle combination of pinks and whites.
Nanci Kryzak saysFebruary 26, 2019 at 8:37 am
Hi, I live in the Hudson Valley in New York, and I find that your vignettes and all your gorgeous photos bring me not only design inspiration but foster my desire to truly welcome friends and family into my home. If I lived closer, I’d see you every week, no question! Thank you for your work; it brings me joy.