Life & Style: Set a pretty table


IM Blog Archive


By Leslie Linsley

Contributing Writer


(April 6, 2015)

Daffodil weekend is
coming but even more exciting, we are on our way to spring. While in
Key West this winter we entertained a lot and we were entertained.
It’s a social town and it’s fun to be able to eat outdoors. Even
in the summer on Nantucket it is hardly ever warm enough to have
dinner outside.

Entertaining begins
with a beautifully-set table. I love setting the table almost more
than anything else having to do with having guests for a meal. How
you set a table sets the mood. You might pick a color scheme, a
season, a holiday, or a special occasion. Or, you might just be in
the mood. Setting a table is a most satisfying creative endeavor. A
beautifully-set table, no matter how simple, makes guests feel


Everyone appreciates
it when the hostess makes an occasion out of an invitation. It
doesn’t have to be fancy, but when you arrive at someone’s home
it should immediately feel festive.

My friends have a knack for making even a casual meal, served in the
seem like a special event. Best of all we do it with ease
and creativity with
readily-available and affordable “props.”
This is the key to entertaining: setting a
pretty table without
pretension and without making the guests uncomfortable.

So, the other night
I had seven friends for dinner on the deck beside the pool. This is
Key West so I set the table with palm fronds. Here’s the
step-by-step: First cover a table with a tablecloth. Then spread
large leaves, I used the palm leaves, over the table. This is easy to
do in Nantucket with large leafy spinach or kale. Put one leaf under
each plate. I used yellow plates and sprinkled artificial flower
petals over the leaves. I alternated yellow, orange and green napkins
and floral napkin rings. I love napkin rings because they quickly,
easily and inexpensively dress up a table. Just like putting on

For the centerpiece
I used yellow and orange tulips. But on another occasion I used a
lush white orchid in a handmade pottery vase, a gift from a friend.
Into the centerpiece I stick twigs that are wired with tiny battery
operated LED lights. And lots of candles! Nothing camouflages
imperfections like candles. It’s like airbrushing everyone and
everything! As the sun goes down and dusk closes in, the glow from
the lighting changes the mood. On Nantucket it gets dark earlier than
in Key West so it is still light here late into the evening.


The first daffodils
are always the sweetest because they come after a very long winter. I
love a bunch of them in simple Mason jars. Yellow is a very popular
home-furnishing color this season. It makes a very strong statement
when you add a few bright yellow throw pillows to your living room.

A few years ago I
bought a worn yellow bench, much like a church pew, at Rafael Osona’s
auction. I put it in my shop for Daffodil Weekend and it became a
good prop for displaying our pillows. When I closed the shop the
bench had not sold. I put it in my living room, which prompted me to
add touches of yellow. I have a large yellow bowl I carried back from
a flea market in France one year. I fill it with artificial lemons
and limes. When I have company I put a real lemon and lime on top and
pierce them to release a citrus scent. It fools everyone!

I have some yellow
McCoy vases leftover from the shop as well and mix these with other
pottery I collect and display on a shelf. That pretty much does it
for the yellow touches. But here in Key West I helped a friend
redecorate with just a few tweaks and she added a bunch of bright
yellow pillows to black sofas. It’s smashing. And, she did a really
bold thing by painting her powder room black, then added yellow hand

towels. How great is


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