As we mentioned in our recent summer tabletop trends post, one of our favorite table trends of the moment is tie-dyed – or Shibori – linens. We especially love hand-dyed Shibori napkins – each one comes out a little bit different, bringing a unique, homemade aesthetic to the table. And this is exactly the look we’re going for for our next dinner party. So, the other day we broke out our old white linens, bought some dye, and made our own – Shibori style.
For those of you who aren’t familiar with Shibori, this is the Japanese-originated technique of manipulating fabric by twisting, tying, binding, folding, etc. before dying it in order to make pretty patterns with the dye (or tie-dye, as we’ve named it in the west). The process simple and we encourage that you try it. Just note that hand-dying can get a bit messy, so make sure you wear gloves and have a safe place to work and dispose of the dye.
This time we were going for a more subdued pattern, so we did just a simple bind – but note that the more you fold, twist and constrain your fabric, the more interesting your pattern can become.
Though florals are not a tabletop “essential”, per say, they can be the difference between a good table and a great table. In The Art of Setting The Table, we discussed ways to maximize your table’s aesthetic appeal. Of course, flowers were on the list.
At The Table, the rule of thumb is to purchase flowers on the day of your dinner or event. While many elements of table setting can be prepped in advance, florals are best left untouched until shortly before your guests arrive. This guarantees that flowers are fresh – and at their peak liveliness while on the table. Of course the quality of your blooms will depend on where you purchase them. When it comes to sourcing florals, there are several options. Factors that will play into your selection will include location (if we lived near the Chelsea Flower District we wouldn’t shop anywhere else), budget, and willingness to DIY.
What might have once been seen as chore, has become a form of art for many – including us, at The Table. Like getting dressed, applying makeup, or furnishing your home, table setting – or commonly referred to today as “tablescaping” – has become a tried and true form of self expression. Not only does your tablescape set the mood and tone of your dinner, event, or gathering – in many cases, it is an extension of your personal style. After all, there is no rulebook for table setting. In fact, the “fewer rules the better” approach often yields the best results. For those who may not have that natural Martha Stewart knack, there are some basic techniques you can follow, should you find yourself stuck in that “how to set the table” conundrum. For maximum aesthetic appeal, try a few basic tricks . . .