Elegant, whimsical, inspired ‘tablescapes’.

I will admit that I am tired of my own cooking, and even the luxury of ‘take-out’ has grown old.  I expect this is true for many of you.  I am beginning to think about ‘if’, ‘when’ and ‘how’ we will be able to get together at home with people who are vaccinated.  I have gotten out of the ‘earrings and lipstick’ habit, and I am much more likely to put our dinner into a large flat pasta bowl than to lay the table, put flowers in a vase and light a candle.  I want to dream about eye-catching tablescapes.

I DO remember entertaining, and I envision a time when we will sit with a few friends and family who have been vaccinated.  Even a simple lunch will be a joyous event after a year of lock-down.  I know that we should wait a few more weeks – but it is fun to dream.

My girls have introduced me to new companies and several books which offer tablescapes, decorations, ideas and recipes for home entertainment.  Far from the disposable paper hats and tablecloths – these decorations and ideas will become part of your tabletop repertoire and maybe family heirlooms.

tablescapes Mrs. Alice's Easter bunnies

Mrs. Alice’s Bunnies and Bows is sold out in advance of Easter, but I wanted you to see how appealing tablescapes can be.

Mrs. Alice founder, Alice Naylor-Leyland, offers tablescapes in a box. Born in Switzerland, she lives in Cambridgeshire and London with her husband Tom and their three children.  Alice has an appealing blend of whimsy, elegance and sophistication.  She sells curated collections of tabletop decorations in themed ‘Tablescapes in a Box’.  Since I have collected some interesting decorations already, I find inspiration from her collections, but might opt to buy a few of the individual decorations and tableware from her and blend them with things I already own.

serena curated tablecape

Serena Curated Tablescape by Mrs. Alice ~$460 for four people.

Poppy Dahlia Tablecloth, plates and placemats from Mrs. Alice – all sold separately.  You can buy pieces of this look – or draw inspiration and use things you already own.

All current Mrs. Alice Tablescapes.

This is the introduction to India Hick’s new book, An Entertaining Story.   You’ve got to love a book which include a recipe for ‘panic dinner’ when guests suddenly decide to stay.

“Daughter of the late David Hicks and goddaughter to Prince Charles, India Hicks is known for her irreverent take on style. In her previous books, she invited readers into her homes on Harbour Island and in England. For her third book, India presents her own slightly madcap spin on entertaining. Organized by meal, the book begins marvelously with the most important meal of the day–cocktail hour–and ends with breakfast.”

An Entertaining Story, 2020.  $28.99

Architectural Digest review of India Hicks book.

India Hicks sells heavenly, casual linens and has some great tabletop inspiration on her website.


Aerin Lauder, lifestyle legend, offers her insights as a relaxed, memorable, welcoming hostess in Entertaining Beautifully.  Aerin organizes her advice in twenty seasonal events interspersed with her tips and perspective on entertaining.  Entertaining Beautifully, October 2020, $31.44

This tablescape from Terrain is called “You Blue Me Away”. Tablecloth, goblets, linen napkins and hyacinth 15” round placemats for eight, $228.  If you want the ginger jars and vase, the total for the tablescape is $489.

Check out these Instagram accounts for tablescape inspirations







Now that you have lots of sources of inspiration, you can create your own tablescapes.  Here are some suggested steps:

  • Find inspiration – from a season, a holiday, an event, a collection of objects, or even a color or flower.
  • Get out your plates, glasses vases – use the things you already have.
  • In this socially distanced time, you need to be extra imaginative about how to make guests feel gathered together without being too close. Small two-person tables with space in between is an ideal set-up.
  • It doesn’t have to be fancy. I have seen placemats made of Kraft paper elevated with quotes and poems – either handwritten or printed.
  • If you use flowers, candles or decorative objects; make sure that they are low or high enough that guests can see each other.
  • Texture? Think about shiny, natural, soft materials.  Branches in a glass vase?
  • Sparkle? I like votives, even battery powered votives to give the table a shimmer of light.
  • Remember to leave your guests room to eat.
  • Need to add a panache to your tried-and-true tableware? Go wild, you are just being an imaginative hostess!

I like to set a colorful table, especially in the Spring.  These Henri glasses come in eight bright colors.  3.5” diameter, 4.25” high.  They are a good example of sourcing your own tabletop elements to build a tablescape.  Dishwasher safe.  Henri glasses, $14.

These tear-off cotton cocktail napkins can be washed and re-used up to five times.  50 napkins in each roll.  $28 per roll.

When you begin to entertain, this ASE article has ideas for comfortable outdoor furniture to let guests sit apart at a ‘social distance’.