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How To Set a Table Like a Pro - Tips & Tricks

Blog co-written by guest blogger Gabrielle O'Reilly, Owner of All Set By Gabrielle

 As a child, I was enthralled by my mother's exquisite table settings that people still wistfully recall today. Those works of art drive my visions today, as I seek to create that feeling of wonder in everyone who sits at one of my tables.

Here are a few simple ways to create depth and interest, as you wow your guests.

First, consider layering: using varied colors and fabrics in tablecloths and runners creates texture and interest. Sometimes, I use two tablecloths in varied sizes, one longer than the other so you see both. Or consider placing two runners vertically rather than one horizontally; this is a simple trick for adding design and color variation to your table. 

Second, aim for height variations. Placing decor or candles on top of cake stands, bowls or glasses will interest the eye and draw it upward.

Third, always remember that pieces paired together look better in 3s! And it also creates a modern look. On the other hand, using pairs is beautiful and traditional because it creates symmetry; for some events, that may be the ticket, as well. In general, however, candles look better in odd numbers, and centerpieces should have a three piece variation.

Lastly, colored glass is on trend and it's such an easy way to pop your table! It’s refreshing, fun and elegant! 

Ideas To Try

A Magical 45th Wedding Anniversary 

My best client's husband asked me to create a surprise intimate anniversary dinner at their home. Since my client is a romantic, I decided on 45 blazing white candles, dazzlingly reflected in a circle on a bronze mirror base. The plates and napkins were kept classic black and white to sustain guests' gazes on the candles. I was later told that all of the guests commented on the warmth they felt during that dinner, and so this was a very happy birthday for all! 

Floridian Garden Cocktails 

While in Florida, a friend asked me to set up a casual cocktail party. With a limited budget and no supplies on hand, I shopped locally, and fortunately, my children spotted a freshly fallen piece of palm on the road. This served as a natural vessel for beautiful fruits and vegetables. My vision was that the table become an extension of the surrounding garden, therefore, the monochromatic palette. Cheers!

Table Fit for a Princess

Once upon a time in the city of Williamsburg, lived a four year-old princess named Valentina. She longed for an enchanted party with her 12 best friends, Now, I like to think that I connect well with my clients, but I am merely 'All set by Gabrielle,' and not Dr. Dolittle, so I was unable to speak to this black schnauzer. A successful collaboration with her mother, however, yielded centerpieces that contained all of Valentina's favorite things: milk bones, tennis balls and tiaras. These centerpiece contents later filled “doggy bags” that all guests happily departed with after the "pawty," along with hand-made glittered doggie water bowls. I enlisted the aid of a local baker, the famed Donut Diva, for customized desserts, and a local artist, who created table plaques depicting Princess Valentina's lovely likeness. Customized plates bore Valentina's silhouette and customized confetti bore her regal name. And everyone lived happily ever after.

These are a sampling of the tables I have created since launching All Set by Gabrielle. Please visit my Instagram to view other creations, as well as decorating inspirations and hilariously timed cameos of my children.  My goal is to inspire followers to create warm and wonderful settings that bring smiles to faces, love into hearts, and memories for years to come.  

Gabrielle O’Reilly Hoffman
Phone: 631-513-0425
Email: [email protected]
Instagram: @allset_bygabrielle

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