The Magpie Anthology

Reasons to Make Tablescaping Your New Valentine’s Thing

We have a brand new contributor Lisa Henry who’ll be giving us regular updates about what’s hot to trot in the interiors world. First up she brings us tablescaping (who knew such a thing existed) which folk have turned into not just an artform but a successful business in some cases. Here’s her take on this phenomenon…

Along with the bathscaping trend on Insta (making your bathroom look like an inviting spa retreat) tablescaping (theatrically, themeing the laying of your table) is not only all the rage, but also becoming big business for some with place settings priced at upto £395 for 4 – yes really.  If you tragically like me don’t have this kind of budget for your Valentine’s setting or the staff to help clear it away, we thought we’d give you some top tips of how to make your Valentine’s supper at home look extra special.  The basis for the idea of tablescaping is to make the setting look beautiful and the more effort you have put into laying the table, the more memorable the occasion.

Photos: Serena Fresson

1) Get out all your ‘for best’ stuff.  If like me you got a dinner service as a wedding present that you barely use for fear of breaking any of it, get it out for Valentine’s Day. Polish cutlery (hot soapy water with a splash of vinegar). Ditto with the glassware.

2) Go full restaurant and lay a table cloth, if you haven’t got one get a throw away paper one.  You could even get children to write and draw on it for you (perhaps only give them a pink and red crayon or pen or match to whatever colour your flowers are).  Lay the table with all your favourite plates, glassware, napkins and napkin holders.  You can use ribbons instead of a napkin holder and add colour, a flower or piece of greenery tucked into the napkin look fab.  A piece of rosemary from the garden would be perfect.

3) Candle light is everything in a romantic meal, making us look our best and creating atmosphere. You can mix and match heights to bring life to the table.  Avoid scented candles that would detract from the food.

Photos: Alice Naylor-Leyland

4) Flowers and foliage bring colour and texture.  These too can be a mixture of heights, perhaps a larger bunch in the middle and a couple of smaller vases either side.  Make sure you can see each other though!  If you have roses then what could look prettier that some of the petals scattered over the table cloth (do this closer to the meal so they stay fresh).  A string of ivy can also look stunning across a table, perhaps mixed with some fairy lights.

5) A place name with a love note perhaps?  Anything that might bring lovely memories could also be put on the table. Pebbles, shells, small framed photo’s anything like that.  In Barcelona they celebrate Sant Jordi which is the Catalan version of our Valentine’s Day (April 23rd).  The boys give a rose to the girls and the girls gift the boys a book.  The main streets in Barcelona are packed with flower and book stalls.  This tradition isn’t only a romantic gesture it can also be for those you love so don’t let a lack of a beau stop you from celebrating.  Celebrate with whoever you’re living with!  Personally I would prefer the book and in these times what better present to gift each other, perhaps beautifully wrapped and left on the plate.

6) When designing a room I always take into account the five senses and with a beautiful meal on the table, some fine wine, a thoughtful playlist and stunningly tablescaped table – what more could anyone want  – even if you’ve done it yourself!  If you are doing the table – give your other half the playlist to do.

Photos: Fiona Leahy Design

7) Take a photo (for Insta) when it all looks perfect and then just enjoy – leave all washing up until the next day (if they really love you they’ll do it!)

Happy Valentines Day everyone!

Tablescapers to follow on Instagram

@mrsalice – Alice Naylor – Leyland – this lady has turned tablescaping into a lucrative business – check out her collaboration with friend Poppy Delevingne

@serena_fresson – Serena is mrsalice’s mum – upmarket establishment style

@fionaleahydesign – Fiona Leahy is an interior designer and my favourite, she did some brilliant meals for one place setting during the first lockdown – super stylish

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