In a culture where dining out is considered an event, the home environment can often be rushed and overlooked. We're here to tell you it does not have to be, and that you can create the perfect ambience for everything from a solo meal to a dinner party for ten right at home. To celebrate this year's Valentine's Day, we've put together some quick tips to help you set the stage for a romantic homemade event for two in your own cozy environment.
1. Elevated Casual - First off, let's address the fact that things have been getting a little more casual these days, so you can relax a little and throw that butler stick a la Downton Abbey out the window (then go collect and recycle it because that's just bad for the environment). Informal doesn't have to mean lack of style, so feel free to get creative and still feel all-grown-up.
2. Forks on the left, knives on the right - Traditionally speaking, you will set your flatware starting from the outside in, salad forks and soup spoons on the outer most edges, moving onto dinner forks and knives with the blade facing towards your plate. Since we've tossed out the rule book, you have room to play around with this formality and try different placements with either all flatware to one side or sitting atop your plate. Most importantly, you want the flow to feel natural and effortless while dining.
3. Mix and match dinner pieces - While we still swoon over grandma's china for the nostalgic qualities, we've decided to put our own spin on things and give it a little character. Pick one color scheme and stick with it, but mix and match place settings to give your table more depth and accent while still providing a nice humble backdrop to your prepared dishes, letting them take center stage.
4. Skip the ironing and layer in the textures - Crumply linens lend and air of casual luxury that beckon to be touched. When we add visual and tactile textures to a table setting, the details draw you in to connect. We love mixing various solid linens as table cloth, bread wraps, and napkins in the same color family to let the textures stand out.
Photos By: Kate Zimmerman
5. Using food as centerpiece - This applies especially for a dinner for two when conversation is at the center of the meal. Keeping your decor scaled down allows for connection without cluttering the tablescape with oversized centerpieces. We love the multi-use of food and scented herbs as decor. Try sculptural artichokes and eucalyptus branches that fill the air with a lovely aroma.
6. Get moody - How romantic is a brightly lit cafeteria? Not so much. Skip the fill lights and opt for soft directional focussed light sources such as dimly lit sconces, pendants and of course unscented candles that won't compete with your meal.
Keep it simple with these tips: stick to one color palate, add texture, and scale down your tablescape with edible decor.
To make your day run smoothly, and because we love you, we've put together a sample menu sure to win your sweetheart over