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, but they can be arranged the same way.
A series of candles marches 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?
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to the Centre Daily Times
What I love about this design is it doesn't shy away from the colors of the season, but highlights them in a way that 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, 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 or overeducated" 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!
Adapted from nellhills.com. Katie Laughridge is the owner of Kansas City interior design destination Nell Hill's. For more information, contact Katie at Katie@nellhills.com.