Guest Blog
by Stylist Sara Bergqvist


Sara is a local Portland stylist with roots in Sweden. She’s done some amazing work for Vintage Meets Modern, you’ll see some of her talents displayed in several of our RENT THIS LOOK lounge groupings. Today she shares with us her process in setting a table.

When browsing though interior magazines, your instagram feed, or visiting your favorite restaurant, it’s easy to feel intimidated by the perfectly styled table. Setting your dinner table at home might be something you don’t even think about as expressing your inner stylist. Using the same tableware, the same napkins (if any…) and not refreshing your flowers, nor lighting the candles: It’s easy to become blind in your own home, or feel like you never can obtain that beautiful picture-perfect table setting.

Most people do however want their event to look stunning. It may be the launching of your new business, opening a store, wowing clients, your wedding, bat/bar mitzvah, or simply throwing a fabulous party. But how? Don’t worry, with these few simple tips, your event or dinner party will showcase your inner stylist.

1. The Table:
What does your table look like? Is it done in a beautiful wood, and do you want a rustic, industrial or minimal look: Don’t cover it!  However, if your table has seen better days, or if you want to play with textures and colors: find the perfect linen (I always recommend the real stuff; actual “linen”).

2. Plates:
What’s the theme of your setting? If it’s a particular color: match (or mis-match) your plates. For example, if you are going for a black & white look make sure your dinner plates are the opposite color of your linen (if any) or from your salad plate, or from your vases and candle holders. If your theme is dessert blush, or monochrome darks/whites match your dinner plates to your linen (if any), to your salad plates, and your vases and candle holders.

3. Flatware:
It’s surprisingly inexpensive to play around with flatware options: gold, copper, color-blocked, silver, black, etc.  However, if you have a good quality neutral silverware, it will match most styles!

4. Glassware:
What are your guests drinking? There should always be a water glass on the table! This can be a large colorful goblet, or a small modern tumbler. You can always play around with glassware. For example, the modern tumbler looks even more modern when used for red wine, a tall water glass works for beer/tall cocktails. In general, a clear glass is always a modern choice that highlights your beverage of choice, but if you are playing with a color theme (for example dessert blush) you can highlight your styling with a colored glass. And don’t forget to use beautiful ceramics for your hot drinks. For the super minimalist: a tumbler will work for all drinks: water, wine, coffee (and even dessert:)

5. Water carafes:
An easy way to make sure your guests feel special: Fill a beautiful carafe with water and infuse it with lemon, cucumber or water melon slices/frozen berries (instead of ice) or beautiful floral/ herbs, for example mint/basil, or local lavender. Match the carafe to you overall style. Here we use a modern minimal, but oh-so-on-trend glass carafe with cork top.

6. Napkins:
It’s never a bad choice to use a real linen napkin! Another trend is simple industrial-looking cotton napkins: the Bistro style (white with a colored stripe: green/blue/red/black/grey). You can see them in any trendy/hipster winery/restaurant (from Portland to LA), and they are easy to find online. For a vintage look: Use personal/individual pieces of fabric/hand-stitched napkins/scarves.
How to arrange your napkin? However you want! A few suggestions: If your setting is modern/ minimal/industrial: An easy fold under your plate/on top of you plate/under your flatware, or roll your napkin up. You can tie a string around it, and attach a greenery to the string. You can also just add a branch/greenery on top of the plate/napkin, keeping it modern effortless. If your styling is romantic/bohemian/luxe chic: A pocket fold (you can tuck a branch of floral in it), or tie your napkin, making a knot in the midst of it.

7. The vase/florals
You can of course work with your favorite florist, having them create the flower arrangement of your dreams! You can also make something yourself (yes you can!) For the asian inspired setting, the velvet luxe trend, or the vintage victorian aesthetic: A beautiful white luxurious flower (like the orchid) will elevate your table in an elegant way.
For the modern/industrial/monochrome table (be it minimal bleak or modern colorful) a simple branch/ a few stems of the same flower, will finish that edited “less-is-more” look. Pair it with the perfect vase (one larger, or a few smaller), and you have brought your table setting into life!

8. The candles:
You can choose in between a wide range of styles and never go wrong. My favorite is the taper candle in a sleek modern or gold vintage candle holder. For a monochrome look: Pair a white candle with a white holder, a grey candle with a grey holder, etc. For a moody/boho-chic look: Choose a dark colored candle in a brass vintage holder. It’s also stunning to use a beautiful
hurricane holder with a pillar candle (especially for an outdoor setting), or vintage styled votives. As long as there are candles, you are good to go!

9. The bonus tip:
Be true to your selected style: If you are going for a vintage victorian style, or a a luxe velvet style: add one more unexpected item to complete the abundance of your look, may it be a hand painted plate with macarons in your chosen colors, or place cards written on vintage black and white photos. If you are going for a modern industrial look, or a minimal monochrome look, dare to edit and take away one item from your setting!

Sara Bergqvist

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