How to set the perfect table

Every single day, Rebecca puts together baby showers and weddings and family dinners that make Martha Stewart jealous. She crafts centerpieces and arranges tablescapes and plans menus, threading together details from the flowers to the favors to create an occasion for inspiration.

And the best part, you’re invited to every single shindig.

“I started my blog Tastefully Entertaining because I love entertaining,” said Rebecca. “Now I get to throw a virtual party every day, I get to throw parties I could never throw on my own because there are too many ideas and I’m not made of money, and I get to inspire other people to enjoy entertaining and think outside the box.”

Part of Rebecca’s quest to think outside the box comes from the fact that she has attention to details in her DNA. Her mom coached it out of her at an early age, showing her how to arrange food and pull together themes, and gave her an appreciation for the ambiance that artful entertaining can evoke.

“My birthday is just before Valentine’s Day, and every year my mom would figure out a way to make each party very unique,” said Rebecca. “She put an extraordinary amount of effort into planning games that went along with the theme and put a personal touch on every aspect.”

The concentration on details is something that can be overwhelming even for a pro like Rebecca. To help her get organized and hone in on her idea, she uses inspiration boards.

“The inspiration board is basically the beginning of an event for me,” she said. “Sometimes I start with colors, sometimes I start with a feeling like romance or whimsy, and sometimes I’ll start with a picture that strikes me. Then I turn it into an event.”

Inspiration boards help answer both the practical and the creative questions about an event. If an invitation inspires you, let that be the first piece on your inspiration board and then fill it in with these basics elements:

  • Invitation

It’s the first thing your guests see and should prime them for what to expect.

  • Table top

Think about the plates, the linens, the colors, the shapes. What could you use as a centerpiece that could bring in elements of your theme or your colors? How should you arrange each place setting? What should you offer as a favor? Are there any unexpected candles you could pull in instead of the typical tapers? The table top is basically the stage for your event, so concentrating on those details is key to creating a cohesive event.

  • Menu

What foods will evoke the ambiance of your event? Having a bon voyage party? Think about seafood. Plan a menu that echoes the design details you’ve decided on.

MORE TIPS & TOOLS

Practial Ideas and Inspiration
Visit Rebecca’s website for recommending recipes, cocktails and reasons to get together

Hostess with the mostess
More design driven entertaining ideas!

evite!
Evite guides party hosts through every step of the event planning process – from deciding on the party specifica and inviting guests to preparing the party to finalizing the menu and sending eCard thank-you notes after the event.

Making your own design rules

When she was seven years old, Andrea visited an uncle in Washington, D.C, and was overcome with interior design and architecture.

Granted, at the time, she didn’t know what either of those things were, but she was captivated by them all the same.

“There was a staircase I remember that had really long treads and a really shallow rise,” she remembers. “As I walked up through it, I felt it change the whole rhythm of how I walked, and I felt myself gliding up through the space that was moving all around me.

“The idea that you could change how people walk, their rhythm, movement and perception just gripped me. It was so clear.”

After that experience, she felt compelled to start working with her hands. Her mother taught her how to sew and her father showed her how to use tools. She appreciated the craftsmanship that went into making everything from clothing to the most elegant building in the world.

While pursuing her master’s in architecture at UCLA, one of her professors challenged her to expand her architectural notions into interior spaces. To  Andrea, that was an invitation to break all the rules.

“One of the most important things I’ve learned is that you can be irreverent, and it can have really successful results,” she says. “Nowadays, I encourage my clients to do their own thing in terms of design, even if it’s weird. It can be a challenge to truly express yourself without going overboard, but that’s where I come in. I help people figure out their personal style and what elements are important to them. I show them how to restrain themselves but give them a little outlet for expression.”

Andrea’s irreverence has inspired her clients to be true to themselves and create an enviroment that speaks to them. It also landed her a spot on Bravo TV’s inaugural season of Top Design, an interior design reality competition.

Just goes to show that breaking the rules will take you places way better than jail. To add an artful edge to your quarters, check out Etsy, an online shop featuring handmade crafts from people all over the world. Talk about a personal touch.

MORE TIPS & TOOLS

Andrea’s Magic Touch
Feeling inspired, but don’t know where to start? Contact Andrea’s design firm to help you tap into to your design personality.

Oh, So Cute
An eclectic collection of modern daily finds for your home or office, including kitchenware, home accents and the most interesting stationary around.

Just Do It Yourself
Earth-friendly and wallet-conscious, ReadyMade helps you claim your corner of the world and decorate it just the way you want it.

The Gift Closet
Looking for crafty gift ideas? The Gift Closet is a great place to find ideas for clever gifts you can make.