Guest Post: Setting The Table

This is a guest post by our friend and author Leela Cyd who just released her first cookbook Food with Friends: The Art of Simple Gatherings. Below she shares her tips for creating a beautiful summer tablescape for your next get-together.



Setting the table can really set the mood for a fun fête — It’s something I look forward to just as much as the cooking and eating. With a few general guidelines, the task becomes another way to express your creativity and love for guests.

  1. Use a couple yards of linen from the fabric store in place of fancy, expensive tablecloths. This is an easy, inexpensive way to really change up the mood of you tablescape — and a few natural edges are actually quite beautiful, if you feel the need to hem, go for it! I like layering 2 pieces of cloth in the same color palate to add another dimension to the table — think of this as your background for a lively painting of food, flowers and a few other odds and ends.

  2. Decide on a color scheme. An easy way to present a chic table without breaking the bank is to go with 2 or so colors and riff on several tones of that color. I picked white for plates, and have included a variety of vintage/collected white plates then decided on these Windowpane natural linen napkins, including a new tea towel from Egg Press! For the flowers, there are variations of pinks and whites, just like the tablecloth and china.

  3. Create a menu guests can serve themselves. This keeps you out of the kitchen when guests arrive and everyone loves creating their own perfect taco, layered toast, salad or, in this case, mini pavlova with an assortment of toppings

  4. Use trays to create zones. I love the Schoolhouse trays and platters of all varieties, they act as little stations for toppings, condiments and as a great catch-all for the table. They make cleaning up easier as well, just load the tray and bring to the sink— anything to keep enjoying the action with the guests for as long as possible and speed the clean up for later.

  5. Yes way, Rosé. When in doubt about what to sip — I go for a chilled Rosé every time — suits everyone and color compliments my table and won’t stain when spilled.


Photography by Leela Cyd